Thursday, July 22, 2010 - By Andrew - 2 comments

To round or not to round—

Few questions seem to generate heated debate on SeeClickFix as consistently as whether or not to change a busy intersection into a roundabout. In places as diverse as Ann Arbor, MI, Chattanooga,TN, and Santa Fe, NM fixers have signed on to express their approval or disapproval of turning an old-fashioned, cornered intersection into a new-fangled no-angles roundabout.

One place where arguments for / against a roundabout are circulating particularly quickly is in Ballston Spa, NY. A post on the local blog at is continuing the debate from SeeClickFix on the local newspaper's forum. Any guesses as to the what the first two commenters had to say? I'll give you a hint: their conclusions were polar opposites.


  1. We have a wonderful roundabout in the Delano Neighborhood, with a clock tower that's instantly become an icon of the historic area.

    The one major drawback we're running into is that because of the street's nature (dating to the 1870's with lot-line construction) the roundabout is the bare minimum size Kansas DOT recommends... and it's just a leetle too small for our transit buses to pass through regularly. (I've been on the sidewalk when one of the hook-and-ladder trucks practices going through it, and it's... impressive.) This makes us sad, because we'd really like that area to be a transit mecca.

  2. Roundabouts do work. I haven't seen the newer versions however look the one pictured here. I know of no traffic engineer who would endorse that one. New designs are decreasing crashes by up to 90 percent compared to traditional four-way stops or signals. Maryland, Wisconsin, Washington DOT was one of first states to do this statewides, and Louisiana and Delaware are also installing many like it. THe new designs accomodate tractor trailers, farm equipment and buses. Old designs, maybe not so much. One point folks often get confused about is the "apron" on the new roundabouts, which is a lip of cement in the middle, and it is designed to have large vehicle wheels ride over it. New designed roundabouts work. Period. Plenty of statistics to show this. THe debates do arise, but after a short time the opponents go away because they do work. Check out fact sheet here or one of many good resource sites from DelDOT here

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