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VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L  February 2005

VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L February 2005

Subject:

Re: Roundabouts in the News

From:

Tony Redington <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 16 Feb 2005 06:21:47 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (369 lines)

First, a fully designed roundabout was not installed and there is no
case in this country where a roundabout has been installed and then
removed to date.  Will be replying to this editorial later this week.
When installed all US surveys show about 85% positive/neutral
support for the roundabout over what was there before.

Incidentally, this is the breakout year--two roundabouts in Keene (one
on Main Street at the Post Office/College and the other at the busiest
intersection on they bypass), the downtown Winooski roundie, and the
five pack at the Malta exit on the Northway.  Montpelier's second goes
to contract this year and construction in Spring 2006.  Both Keene
major roundabouts taking about 12 months from public hearing to full
construction and operation.

Remember, these roundabouts erase congestion, cut delay, reduce
driver stress, cut air pollution and gasoline use, improve the scenic
quality, cost less, cut disabling injuries by 90 percent for ped and car
occupants, and receive public approval by a large margin.




On 10 Feb 2005 at 13:18, William E. Flender wrote:

> Sadly, not everyone likes roundabouts.
>
>  From Channel 5:
>
> Williston Roundabout
> Wednesday, February 9, 2005
> Round and round and round again.
>
> There used to be a roundabout here.... gone now, because it was too
> small, the street's too narrow, and people hated it. Now, the people who
> hate the Circ highway think roundabouts are the answer for Williston.
> They're wrong.
>
> The Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative wants roundabouts all the way
> from Exit 12 to the five Corners in Essex. They say we won't need the
> Circ if we do that. Never mind that the intersections are narrow, that
> this is just another brainstorm from folks who want to stop the Circ at
> any cost. This idea reeks of consultants and so-called traffic planners
> who won't ever have to use a roundabout to get from here to there.
>
> That doesn't matter: The folks who hate the Circ highway probably don't
> want you to drive anyway. They'd rather see us all in Conestoga wagons,
> meandering through the verdant fields, without those horseless carriages
> making noise and causing trouble. That way, when we circle the wagons,
> the roundabouts will be there to help.
>
> That's our opinion. What's yours?
>
> Aired by President/General Manager Paul A. Sands
>
> Copyright 2005 by TheChamplainChannel.com. All rights reserved. This
> material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
>
>
>
>
>
> Peter K Duval wrote:
> > For more than a decade, Tony Redington has been persistently promoting
> > roundabouts in Vermont.  Because of Tony's efforts, the Bike/Ped Coalition
> > has co-sponsored many workshops on roundabouts and their role in improving
> > the conditions for biking and walking.  So it was a real treat to see a big
> > picture of Tony above the fold on the front page of Monday's Burlington Free
> > Press (7 Feb 2005), and this after some positive reporting by Peter Freyne
> > in Seven Days.  Two articles by Candy Page and one by Peter Freyne are
> > pasted below.
> >
> >
> > Peter K. Duval           +1 (802) 899-1132
> > 25 Pine Ridge Road           fax: 899-1132
> > Underhill, Vermont 05489
> > USA                    www.uvm.edu/~pduval
> >
> >
> >
> > A ROUNDABOUT DEBATE
> > 7 February 2005
> >  By Candace Page
> > Free Press Staff Writer
> >
> > Opponents of the Circumferential Highway last week tapped into a trend as
> > hot as hybrid cars when they proposed installing a series of roundabouts on
> > Vermont 2A instead of building the Circ.
> >
> > Highway departments from New York to Alaska have begun to replace
> > conventional traffic-light controls with the circular intersections as a way
> > to handle more traffic, more smoothly and safely.
> >
> > Roundabout advocates speak with the passion of cult members. On dozens of
> > Web sites, they recount the dramatic reduction in serious accidents and
> > acceleration of traffic flow in places such as Vail, Colo., Lisbon, Md., and
> > Brattleboro, Vt.
> >
> > "I'm glad to talk to anybody about roundabouts!" traffic engineering
> > professor Gene Russell of Kansas State University enthused. "Roundabouts are
> > the safest, most efficient intersection traffic control we have today."
> >
> > In Vermont, the Smart Growth Collaborative believes a roundabout solution
> > can untangle the seemingly endless battle over completing the Circ Highway
> > ring road through Chittenden County.
> >
> > First, they will have to overcome public and official skepticism about
> > roundabouts in general.
> >
> > "Roundabouts aren't the cure-all," warned Senate Transportation Chairman
> > Dick Mazza, D-Chittenden-Grand Isle.
> >
> > A roundabout replaces traffic lights with a counter-clockwise circulation of
> > traffic around a center island. Approaching cars must yield to vehicles
> > already in the roundabout, then drive around the circle until they reach
> > their exit.
> >
> > A roundabout moves more cars per hour through an intersection than
> > conventional intersections because vehicles never have to stop. Fewer
> > accidents occur because traffic is moving slowly and there are fewer
> > possible points of contact between two cars.
> >
> > Roundabouts are common in Europe but were rare in the United States until
> > the 1990s. No one is sure how many have been built here -- more than 800,
> > Russell estimates -- and hundreds more are planned.
> >
> > "A roundabout is the first thing you do to deal with traffic congestion,"
> > said transportation planner Tony Redington of Montpelier. "It takes the glue
> > out of all these mucked up intersections. It's the jack of all trades -- and
> > master of all."
> >
> > The proposed Chittenden County roundabouts would be installed in a series of
> > six along a widened Vermont 2A between Interstate 89 and the Five Corners in
> > Essex Junction. The cost would be about $20 million, less than half the cost
> > of the $52 million Circ through Williston.
> >
> > 'A wonderful thing'
> >
> > Mark Rountree, general manager of Rountree Ford, a Brattleboro auto
> > dealership, has a beef about the roundabout installed in 1999 at the busy
> > U.S. 5/Vermont 9 intersection outside his business.
> >
> > "When we had a traffic light there, people had to stop and they looked at my
> > cars while they waited. Now they don't have to stop. You can't pay attention
> > to my business when you are driving through a roundabout," he said.
> >
> > He has put his finger on the magic of a roundabout, experts said: Cars never
> > have to stop at well-designed roundabout. Long lines and waiting times
> > evaporate.
> >
> > Rountree has seen it happen.
> >
> > "It's a wonderful thing once it's built -- it moves traffic incredibly," he
> > said. Before the roundabout was installed, cars leaving Interstate 91 would
> > back up onto the interstate while they waited to get through the U.S. 5
> > intersection.
> >
> > "Traffic on U.S. 5 was at a saturation point," Redington said.
> >
> > Fewer injuries
> >
> > Brattleboro traffic no longer backs up onto I-91. Cars on U.S. 5 seldom must
> > wait to get through the intersection.
> >
> > The intersection had averaged 11 accidents with injuries in each of the five
> > years before the roundabout was built, Redington said, but there were no
> > accidents with injuries in the first 27 months it operated.
> >
> > Brattleboro Police Chief John Martin did not have figures available, but
> > agreed there have been no serious accidents at the roundabout, where fatal
> > accidents had previously occurred. He said he believes fender-bender
> > accidents may have increased.
> >
> > "It is incredibly efficient at handling cars -- it moves large volumes of
> > traffic," he said.
> >
> > Americans have greeted roundabouts with skepticism, in part, proponents say,
> > because people confuse modern roundabouts with old-fashioned, ineffective
> > traffic circles that aren't engineered for safety and smooth flow.
> >
> > The Vermont Agency of Transportation used to share that skepticism. Windham
> > Regional Commission Director Jim Matteau said the agency first resisted the
> > community's interest in a roundabout in the mid-1990s.
> >
> > Today, state law requires the agency to consider roundabouts as a solution
> > to some traffic problems.
> >
> > Bruce Nyquist, traffic design project manager at the agency, said
> > roundabouts are planned for a difficult intersection in Waterbury and at the
> > I-89 northbound off-ramp in Richmond. They are being considered for a U.S. 5
> > intersection in Hartford and at the junction of U.S. 302 and Vermont 110 in
> > East Barre, a high-accident intersection.
> >
> > A roundabout is part of the design for Winooski's downtown renewal project.
> >
> > Russell said it's been rare in the United States thus far to install a
> > series of roundabouts to control traffic on a long stretch of road, as
> > proposed for Williston and Essex.
> >
> > "But there's no reason it shouldn't work," he said.
> >
> > Contact Candace Page at 660-1865 or e-mail [log in to unmask]
> > Free Press
> >
> >
> > LOCALS SKEPTICAL ABOUT ROUNDABOUT SOLUTION
> >
> >  By Candace Page
> > Free Press Staff Writer
> >
> > A number of opinion leaders in Chittenden County met last week's proposed
> > alternatives to the Circumferential Highway with deep skepticism.
> >
> > Their doubts were compounded of wariness of roundabouts as a
> > traffic-handling device and concerns about whether the proposed alternatives
> > would meet their private or local government goals.
> >
> > At IBM in Essex Junction, the region's largest private employer, spokesman
> > Jeff Couture said at first look it appears the proposal would not solve the
> > traffic congestion that is a "potential roadblock to any future IBM growth."
> >
> > In particular, he said, the Smart Growth Collaborative's chief proposal --
> > widening Vermont 2A between Essex Junction and Williston -- focuses only on
> > traffic coming to Essex from the south.
> >
> > That would not help the majority of IBM employees, who live north of the
> > plant and must use congested roads north of the village, he said.
> >
> > The Circ Highway, on the other hand, would be a limited-access ring road
> > through central Chittenden County, so those employees could get on -- north
> > or south -- and use an exit dedicated to IBM, he said.
> >
> > "We have to look at it more deeply, but it appears to meet some of our
> > needs, not all of them," Couture said.
> >
> > Essex Junction leaders are dubious about a roundabout, they told the state
> > Transportation Agency last year.
> >
> > "The village of Essex Junction has resisted the idea of a roundabout at the
> > Five Corners intersection because of concerns over the aesthetic impact it
> > would have on our village center and public safety (i.e., pedestrians,
> > bicyclists, etc.) We also have concerns about passing trains gridlocking
> > motorists at the Five Corners," wrote Village Manager Charles Safford in a
> > letter.
> >
> > In Williston, Selectboard Chairman Virginia Lyons said the town likes the
> > Circ in part because it would take through-traffic off Vermont 2A, which the
> > alternative proposal would not do.
> >
> > "There is a lot of residential development there -- we want to keep 2A more
> > a local access road," she said.
> >
> > Sen. Richard Mazza, D-Chittenden-Grand Isle, who chairs the Senate
> > Transportation Committee, said he is unsure that roundabouts can handle
> > heavy truck traffic; roundabout experts disagree.
> >
> > Mazza also said Chittenden County cannot afford the delays that would be
> > inevitable in the Vermont 2A alternative, to design the widened road and to
> > acquire rights-of-way.
> >
> > "You'd probably take 10 to 15 years to get it permitted and built. Look how
> > many years it is taking on Shelburne Road," he said.
> >
> > Lyons said there is another, more subtle, obstacle to seriously considering
> > the proposals for roundabouts to solve the traffic problem in Williston.
> >
> > "We've been looking at the Circ as a problem solver for so long, giving an
> > alternative an objective look is difficult," she said.
> >
> > Contact Candace Page at 660-1865 or e-mail [log in to unmask]
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Peter Freyne had this to say in a recent column in Seven Days:
> > BUSTER MEETS DOUGLAS
> > (published 02.02.05)
> >
> > ...
> >
> > Lessons Learned? -- Nobody's perfect, folks. Everybody makes mistakes. In
> > politics, learning from those mistakes is a priceless skill that appears to
> > be sorely lacking in the current administration.
> >
> > When it comes to transportation, no bigger mistake stands out on the Vermont
> > stage than the one Gov. Jim Douglas made last year. Douglas refused to give
> > opponents of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway the courtesy of a
> > meeting. They even agreed to let Segments A and B get built without legal
> > challenge if only Gov. Scissorhands would discuss alternatives to the final
> > Colchester leg.
> >
> > Not a chance. Instead, Douglas signed construction contracts and moved full
> > speed ahead last winter. It was as if the federal lawsuit did not exist!
> >
> > As everyone knows, the Douglas administration took it both on the chin and
> > between the legs courtesy of the court. Our governor's team was found to be
> > breaking long-standing federal environmental law. How embarrassing that it
> > took private citizens and organizations to get the governor of Vermont to
> > respect the law.
> >
> > This week, the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative went public with a
> > professional traffic-engineering study showing two alternatives to the
> > current Circ plan that could save taxpayers $10 to $30 million off the
> > bottom line while making traffic flow much faster in the Rte. 2A corridor.
> >
> > God forbid, right?
> >
> > In fact, check it out for yourself at www.vtsmartgrowth.org. Roundabouts are
> > the key. Very interesting, cutting-edge stuff.
> >
> > So was the reaction from local and state highway officials.
> >
> > The Freeps reported Vermont's new Transportation Secretary Dawn Terrill
> > immediately accused the collaborative of trying to "circumvent" the highway
> > planning process by going public with its ideas.
> >
> > The new Dawn at AOT told yours truly she would have liked to have had a
> > conversation with the Circ opponents before they went to the press.
> >
> > But Seven Days has learned that the critics have been trying to meet with
> > the Douglas administration since December. Attorney Brian Dunkiel, a member
> > of the brilliant legal team that won last May, said they contacted
> > Administration Secretary Mike Smith's office in December in hopes of a
> > meeting. Dunkiel said they expected their finding -- that more efficient
> > alternatives could save tens of millions in project costs -- would be of
> > interest during state budget preparations.
> >
> > They expected wrong.
> >
> > The chairmen of House and Senate Transportation committees, however, have
> > met with the collaborative, said Dunkiel. So have IBM officials in Essex
> > Junction. But both the Douglas administration and the pro- Circ Metropolitan
> > Planning Organization have rebuffed their advances.
> >
> > Yes, indeed, nothing like learning from one's mistakes, eh?
> >
> >
> > By the Way -- The City of Burlington wasn't the only Chittenden County
> > community to vote "no" on the pro-Circ 2025 Metropolitan Transportation Plan
> > last week. According to Bill Knight, executive director of the CCMPO,
> > Hinesburg did, too.
> >
> > Four other communities did not vote either way.
> >
> > Interesting.
> >
> > BUSTER MEETS DOUGLAS
> > Inside Track By Peter Freyne
> > Seven Days
> > (published 02.02.05)
> > ...
> >
> > ==========
> > VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion List
> > Subscription control: http://list.uvm.edu/archives/vtbikepedpolicy-l.html.
> > For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message body.
> >
>
> ==========
> VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion List
> Subscription control: http://list.uvm.edu/archives/vtbikepedpolicy-l.html.
> For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message body.
>

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