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Letter: Why not try roundabout at Halstead-Tanglewood?

By Andrew San Juan

4 Comments | Leave a Comment

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
Elizabeth City

Comments

Well first, let's get our

Well first, let's get our terminology correct; we are speaking here about traffic circles; I have never heard the word 'round-about' before today. Traffic Circles have been in use throughout the world for years; I have successfully used them both here and abroad. They were specifically designed to move large volumes of traffic through a busy intersection. And, when properly designed and used, they do just that; safely I might add. Is a traffic circle the answer to the problems occurring at the exits from a four-lane highway into a four-lane road leading to the Walmart shopping complex? No. First, we do not have 'large volumes of traffic' on that highway, nor anywhere near it. We do not have 'large volumes of traffic' anywhere near this area. Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Durham; they have 'large volumes of traffic'. Elizabeth City has a number of drivers that either do not understand how to properly obey traffic regulations; or they just choose not too. A good example of that is the 4-Way stop at the intersection of Pear tree/Four Forks Road. I watch drivers every day that absolutely do not understand what they are supposed to do at that intersection; especially if there are other vehicles approaching or already there. The answer to the Walmart turn-off problem, in my opinion, is in issuing tickets for the traffic violations that occur there. Punish the drivers that are not obeying the traffic regulations. They are the ones causing the problem!

Modern Roundabout, if you please

Many people confuse older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triomphe), and neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to http://tinyurl.com/kstate-RAB to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout: http://tinyurl.com/bzf7qmg The FHWA (http://tinyurl.com/fhwaRAB) has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).

While I searched through all

While I searched through all of your referenced websites for photos of a roundabout, my computer was unable to bring up any photos; so I have never seen one. Having never seen a roundabout I honestly should not comment on them. However, I stand by my comments about a traffic circle at the Wal-Mart intersection; not enough traffic flow to warrant the expense of installing one. If drivers will simply obey the traffic instructions, if they can understand them, there would be no traffic accidents; if drivers cannot understand the traffic instructions, they should not be driving!

I certainly want to add that I think

a roundabout leading into Walmart is totally wrong. There are just too many bad drivers to put a roundabout in that very busy location.

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