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Crazy roundabout design

JNL

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#1
Looks like these UK traffic engineers got a little carried away...

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Another view:
 
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#2
reminds me of one of those old amusment park rides from the 20's where there are rotating disks on a slippery floor where everyone just spins and slides along...
 

Dan

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#3
The Magic Roundabout. Famous, even on these shores. When I first saw it, I spent a good ten minutes running my mouse through, seeing how it worked. I wonder what sort of traffic counts the roundabout gets, and what the safety record is like compared to a plain old signalized intersection.

Roundabouts are gaining ground in the United States, but folks have a love/hate relationship with them. We Yanks are used to driving straight and fast, and the folks who despise roundabouts would rather come to a full stop rather than slow down and turn the streering wheel right for a few seconds. We're a lazy bunch.

Growing up in Buffalo, we were blessed with the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parkway system, with majestic traffic circles that would make even Boston natives cringe. Any Buffalonian worth their snow removal salt loves the circles. Driving south on Delaware Avenue -- you bounce under the stone arch bridge that carries the Scajaquada Expressway over the Avenue, play Formula One driver through the infamous Delaware Park S-curves, bank a hard left at the end of the park to stay on Delaware, and then screech around the Gates Circle fountain. Better than any of the roller coasters at Darien Lake.

By the way, here's something to put the Poms in their place. :)

http://www.texasfreeway.com/houston/images/bw8_290_looking_s_A_preferred_reduced.jpg

http://www.texasfreeway.com/dallas/construction/fw_mixmaster/images/fw_mixmaster_4.jpg

Makes me want to go out and topple a dictatorship! God Bless America!
 
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Tranplanner

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#4
I had the "pleasure" of driving the Magic Roundabout a couple of times a few years ago. While I absolutely love traffic circles/roundabouts, the Magic Roundabout is NUTS!!!!!!

You really have to pay attention in order to get through it unscathed...

It's located in Swindon, UK. I talked to a couple of the planners there during my visit, and while it can be confusing to out-of-towners, the damn thing actually does work - and quite well. I believe I asked about safety, and seem to remember being told that it was no more dangerous than a standard roundabout.
 

Chet

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#5
Like Dan, I ran my mouse over the pic for quite a while. Makes sense to me.

Milwaukee just opened another new roundabout, but one of its western suburbs rejected one recently too. No consensus regionally, thats for sure.
 

El Feo

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#7
Part of the problem in the good ol' US of A is a certain inconsistency in roundabout (that's "rotary" here in my new digs) traffic laws.

We just don't have them where I grew up in KY, unless you count circumnavigating little town squares and our own lightly-traveled Olmstead rotaries. The first "real" ones I encountered were in Northern VA, where traffic already in the rotary yields to incoming.

It only took me one near-death experience on a New England rotary (replete with what seemed like hundreds of middle fingers flying and horns honking) to realize that you don't do that up here.
 

Tranplanner

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#8
Wow - I've never heard of a roundabout where you yield to incoming traffic. That's bizarre!

Some of the early "new" roundabouts built in Ontario were complete farces - the traffic engineers didn't know how to treat them so they ended up putting up stop signs at the approaches to them. Kinda defeats the purpose of a roundabout...
 

donk

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#9
Halifax has a few traffic circles. Each one seems to have its own set of rules with respect to who yields and who has the right of way. These rules only seem to be known to locals. I neglected to yield travelling through one and was repeatedly honked at and given the evil eye. There are no signs either, the rules seem to be by local agreement.
 

JNL

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#10
We have quite a lot of roundabouts, and they all work the same way: you give way to traffic coming through the roundabout, to your right (we drive on the left). They seem to work pretty well, but can be very dangerous for cyclists, especially when they are multi-lane.
 
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#11
There has been one (well, a traffic circle) on Hwy 58 in northwest suburban Chicago for decades. It works, but the people who are not used to it get really confused. It does not help that it has two lanes.
 
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#12
JNL said:
We have quite a lot of roundabouts, and they all work the same way: you give way to traffic coming through the roundabout, to your right (we drive on the left). They seem to work pretty well, but can be very dangerous for cyclists, especially when they are multi-lane.
Which is pretty much how they work in the UK and France (although in France the drive on the right).
 

Downtown

     
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#13
We have a roundabout here in Colonie - the infamous Latham Circle - scourge of little old ladies trying to get to the Latham Circle Mall. Nobody really understands how to use it, which actually prevents lots of accidents because everyone is slowed down to 3 mph out of confusion.
 

El Feo

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#14
There has been one (well, a traffic circle) on Hwy 58 in northwest suburban Chicago for decades. It works, but the people who are not used to it get really confused. It does not help that it has two lanes.
Only two lanes - defined, at that? That would be a blessing. The rotaries I use most often - Concord, MA on Route 2 and the Bourne and Sagamore rotaries entering and leaving Cape Cod - seem to involve a concept I call "make-a-lane." Depending on volume, the rotary can contain anywhere between two and five "unofficial" lanes at any given time. The lanes are wherever you decide they need to be for your purposes.

On more than one occasion I've seen folks go 'round two or three times prior to leaving a la Chevy Chase in European Vacation.
 

Jen

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#17
Hollywood Florida has three large traffic circles along Hollywood Blvd between Dixie Hwy and US 1. THey are Military Circle, or Presidential Circle. There used to be a military Boarding School in a Moorish type building in the middle of the circle. It was torn down for a large glass walled office building. Then there is City Hall circle and on US 1 and the Blvd is Young Circle named after Joseph W. Young the founder and visionary of Hollywood by the Sea. Young Circle is home to a park and performing arts amphitheater. Over the years some gadfly would try to drum up support for removing the circles, citing confusion and dangers for drivers.

I loved driving the circles, they provided extrerme driving excitement in an otherwise flat straight and dull road grid.
 

Dan

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#18
Another lovely picture. Ahhh ... British eccentricity at work.

 

GISgal

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#19
Multi-mini roundabouts Swindon, UK

This is just an FYI post about a roundabout on crack in England. Take a look at the accompanying link.

http://deputy-dog.com/2007/08/15/how-to-navigate-a-multi-mini-roundabout/

Moderator note:
Title edited. Please, no teaser titles outside the FAC. Thanks and carry on. ~Gedunker


Moderator note:
Merged into previous thread on the Magic Roundabout. - NHP
 
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