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Author Topic: I embrace roundabouts  (Read 5011 times)

route56

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I embrace roundabouts
« on: November 12, 2013, 12:04:31 AM »

The grandaddy of Kansas roundabouts, the Chi Omega fountain on the University of Kansas campus, recently got a facelift as part of a systematic reconstruction of Jayhawk Boulevard:

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M86

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 01:40:33 AM »

It looks like a beautiful campus.

I'm starting to like roundabouts... to a point.  If it's a high-traffic area, then no.
AHTD put a roundabout in on the Fulbright Expressway at Northhills Blvd/Futrall Dr in Fayetteville, AR... It has to be the worst roundabout I have ever seen.  Signage/lighting is awful.
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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 01:51:10 AM »

I'm starting to like roundabouts... to a point.  If it's a high-traffic area, then no.

Absolutely.

When I first started hearing about modern roundabouts in North America (9, 10 years ago?), I remember reading that a roundabout is a replacement for a 4-way stop, not a traffic signal. When traffic counts warrant a signal, roundabouts begin to back up or need too many lanes and things get chaotic.

On the other hand, I've seen roundabouts that are useless because traffic is too low.

I do really like them when they're designed well and installed in the right place. Wish there was a better way to handle pedestrians, though.
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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 03:23:13 AM »

Arial road signs? Gross.
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vtk

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 06:35:51 AM »

On the other hand, I've seen roundabouts that are useless because traffic is too low.

That's hard for me to imagine.  What would you do in this situation? A 4-way yield? Or is traffic so light that it simply does not matter how the intersection is controlled?

Also, is this thread meant to be regional or national in scope?
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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 09:25:46 AM »

A 4-way yield?

is this something that actually exists?  with an auxiliary sign of "to traffic already within the intersection", it would work - but a mutual yield situation would just set up gridlock if everyone technically obeyed it.
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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2013, 09:35:04 AM »

Quote
is this something that actually exists?

Technically speaking, yes.  I do not know of any that are signed by such, but as a general rule 4-way uncontrolled intersections are de-facto "yield" intersections.  And such intersections are quite common both in cities and in rural areas, at least in the Midwest.
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getemngo

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 12:05:36 PM »

On the other hand, I've seen roundabouts that are useless because traffic is too low.

That's hard for me to imagine.  What would you do in this situation? A 4-way yield? Or is traffic so light that it simply does not matter how the intersection is controlled?

More the latter, like at the intersection of two residential side streets, or this one in an office park. A two-way stop/yield (or one way, at a T intersection) would be sufficient.
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route56

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 12:29:39 PM »

Also, is this thread meant to be regional or national in scope?

It's meant to be regional, and specific to one roundabout in Lawrence, Kansas in particular. The subject line is a little friendly ribbing at H.B.
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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2013, 03:35:56 PM »

A 4-way yield?

is this something that actually exists?  with an auxiliary sign of "to traffic already within the intersection", it would work - but a mutual yield situation would just set up gridlock if everyone technically obeyed it.

My mental picture is of the intersection of two dirt mile-roads, with not even a farm house in sight.  Two vehicles approaching the intersection at the same time would be a rarity.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 04:09:02 PM »

I don't really like roundabouts.

Roundabouts are terrible in any location with high traffic counts. Carefree Circle Shopping Center in Colorado Springs off Powers Blvd. has a fairly small roundabout. I hate driving through it. Cars coming in and out of the roundabout have to cross different lanes to enter and exit. The traffic movements are worse, and arguably more accident prone than the crossing movements in a cloverleaf interchange. On top of that, visibility is compromised because of all the freaking landscaping bushes, flowers, etc. decorating the intersection. Roundabouts might look pretty from a design standpoint, but functionally they stink if traffic is busy.

The roundabout at Downstream Casino (US-400 by the OK, KS & MO 3 state corner) is not so bad. The roundabout is in a fairly wide open space, takes up more room and has generous movements for right turns.

In low traffic environments, roundabouts can be argued as a pretty yet wasteful use of real estate. A simple four-way stop or properly timed signal light intersection will do just as good of a job.

Quote
Arial road signs? Gross.

+1. Arial is a terrible choice for traffic signs or any other way-finding type of sign. First of all, Arial is just an ugly typeface. It's a Frankenstein mash-up that tries to combine elements of Univers, Akzidenz Grotesk, Monotype Grotesque and others into something that has the same spacing metrics as Helvetica. Arial is meant as a substitute for Helvetica, but doesn't look nearly as clean as Helvetica. Arial is everywhere largely because of Microsoft's decision to license it in Windows to save money compared to the cost of paying Linotype to license Helvetica.

Lazy sign designers often choose Arial merely because it is near the top of an alphabetical font menu. Worse, they'll often stretch or squeeze Arial to fit any particular space rather than loading a typeface that was specifically designed in a condensed or extended manner. "Humanist" typefaces like Frutiger work a heck of a lot better in a way-finding sign system, such as one for a university. Frutiger at least has more weights and widths than Arial.

Lots of design customers will dictate Arial simply because they don't know of any typefaces outside of those that ship with Microsoft Windows or MS Office.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 04:37:55 PM by Bobby5280 »
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US71

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 10:14:33 PM »

It looks like a beautiful campus.

I'm starting to like roundabouts... to a point.  If it's a high-traffic area, then no.
AHTD put a roundabout in on the Fulbright Expressway at Northhills Blvd/Futrall Dr in Fayetteville, AR... It has to be the worst roundabout I have ever seen.  Signage/lighting is awful.

It's a mess. I've been confused every time I've been there. There's also that "side ramp" from 540 to Futrall, missing the roundabout.
http://goo.gl/maps/8eFgp
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M86

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Re: I embrace roundabouts
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 02:00:34 AM »

It's a mess. I've been confused every time I've been there. There's also that "side ramp" from 540 to Futrall, missing the roundabout.
http://goo.gl/maps/8eFgp
There's a lot that could be done with that area... With money, of course.
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