What American cities are in serious lack of are roundabouts, the undisputed answer to our traffic woes. Endemic to most cities throughout both the industrialized and even the Third World, roundabouts are highly efficient, allowing for unimpeded flow of traffic with minimal delays as would occur at a stoplight-equipped intersection.
With traffic moving continuously around the circle, drivers are free to enter and exit at their own pace. While some drivers may be slower than others, the fact remains that at least traffic is kept moving at a steady pace, without the wait and hassle as would be endured at a conventional intersection.
As I recall, roundabouts were once considered for at least one intersection in Elizabeth City: the junction at Water Street, Southern Avenue, Riverside Avenue and Shepard Street. However, that plan was shelved possibly not due to cost, but more to the unfamiliarity of navigating the circle itself.
It is my understanding that when retrofitting other intersections into traffic circles, even in areas of the country more familiar with them such as the Northeast or West Coast, often instructional signage is included, something as simple as “Keep right” and “Exit right.” Roundabouts are effective for all levels of traffic, especially high-volume intersections such as the one at Halstead Boulevard and Tanglewood Parkway.
Even the Federal Highway Administration has begun to agree with their international peers that roundabouts are more efficient; eliminate long delays motorists endure while idling at stoplights; cost less in the long-run (by eliminating the cost of operating and maintaining stoplights and saving drivers fuel with the elimination of such idling); and are safer for the motoring public.
Give roundabouts a try. There’s no harm in making the Halstead-Tanglewood intersection a prototype for retrofitting other intersections in the area.
For more information about roundabouts, visit online: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/roundabouts/fhwasa10023/transcri....
ANDREW SAN JUAN