Sketch referenced available on request.
521 Green Street Apartment 4
San Francisco, California 94133
February 28, 2007
Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon
and City Council
Barre City Hall
6 North Main Street
Barre, VT 05641
Dear Mayor Lauzon and Council:
This letter commends to the Barre City Council moving forward to
undertake a full feasibility assessment of installing a single lane
roundabout at the North Main Street intersection with Elm and
Washington Streets in a design similar to that provided to the Council in
1993 by “Mr. Roundabout” Michael Wallwork, P.E., of Jacksonville.
This recommendation builds on a recent evaluation of the City study by
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB Study, July 2005) and the June
2005 field visit at the intersection by national roundabout leader Howard
McCulloch, New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT), with
Mayor Peter Anthony, Councilor Kevin Moulton, and other local citizens.
The chief reasons for a feasibility assessment:
1. VHB Study properly concluded
little future change in traffic
expected, a reflection of the slow steady decline in entering traffic dating
from the late 1980s which continues today. From State data, cars
entering the intersection in 2004 were 26,150, down 5.1% from peak
numbers, 27,500, 1986-1990.
2. Lack of an evaluation in the
VHB Study of a roundabout at the
intersection even though through a careful shiftr of the City Park
monument approximately 60 feet to the east or southeast, the concept
originally sketched by Mr. Wallwork fort he Council in 1993.
3. Reviewed with McCulloch, VHB
Study data shows perfectly
balanced circulating traffic in each roundabout quadrant. Thus, a one-
lane roundabout with space to expand to two-lane in the future–similar in
approach at Montpelier’s one-lane roundabout in a 140-foot diameter
circle at US 2/302–can be assessed for Barre.
Barre City Council February
28, 2007 Page
of Traffic Growth Over
In 1993 the future of Barre traffic appeared onward and upward. In fact,
traffic in urban Vermont including Barre peaked in the late 1980s and
overall has been flat or declining ever since. The North
Main/Elm/Washingrton Streets intersection continues to decline.
The traffic entering the Barre intersection is almost the same as at US
2/302 (Walker Motors) ready for construction roundabout in Montpelier,
and at Montpelier’s Main/Memorial/Northfield/Berlin intersection (US 2/US
BR 2/VT 12) which is also gaining renewed interest by Montpelier for a
roundabout also likely to be examined for single lane configuration with
provision for future conversion for two-lane operation.
Both Montpelier intersections also have seen little change in traffic in the
past two decades.
When Wallwork field reviewed several City intersections in 1993, traffic
projections indicated a 30% traffic growth trend, increases which would
challenge a two-lane roundabout capacity–growth which turns out to be
non-existent. Statewide, this decade may show a decline in car traffic,
certainly no more than a percent or two increase with any increase
concentrated on some interstate and other isolated road segments. Fuel
pricing trends and lack of driving age population growth (ages 20 to 60)
over the next two decades in Vermont suggest continued flatness or
decline in traffic numbers.
When Mr. Wallwork first visited Barre in 1993 there were barely a dozen
U.S. installations of the new roundabout technology. His design for
Montpelier ushered in the revolution in the northeast in 1995. The end of
the roundabout revolution may well be marked by the policy decision by
the NYDOT two years ago now which essentially banned further
investments in signals thereby creating a “roundabouts only” policy.
There are over 1,000 roundabouts in the U.S. now, and better than a
roundabout opens now every day. Vermont’s four roundabout population
soon doubles with roundabouts at Montpelier (Walker Motors), the
dangerous Washingrton US 302/110 intersection, White River Jct. (2),
and Manchester Center’s two at “malfunction junction” (VT 11/30/7A) and
the adjacent village center (VT 30/7A).
Brattleboro, led by business interests, recently succeeded in getting
major Putney Road signal conversions to roundabouts intersections into
the State program. Thus, Brattleboro which boasts the first U.S.
“roundabout corridor” study (Wallwork, 1994) moves toward the first
Vermont “corridor of roundabouts.” (The first northeast “corridor of
roundabouts”, five, built by NYDOT opened at the Northway Malta
interchange last fall complete with a new multi-use paved pathway, a site
worth a visit at the interchange just below Saratoga Springs.) Finally,
Keene (NH) gets its second roundabout later this
Barre City Council February
28, 2007 Page
year (now under construction) on its busiest Bypass intersection built by
the State with
another (to be built with City funds) on tap later this year at its busiest
downtown intersection on Main Street at the Post Office and Keene State
A roundabout treatment of North Main/Elm/Washington Streets gains a
long term solution. This allows a separate evaluation of North
Main/Prospect/Church Streets. As in the case of Manchester Center, this
second intersection may best be converted to a mini-roundabout, a
configuration that accommodates all vehicles operating in any direction.
Barre City Center
The Barre City Hall Park Roundabout (BCHPR) produces a set of almost
unbelievable transportation benefits:
Barre City Hall Park
Roundabout–Substantial Economic and
Downtown Space Benefit
Because a single lane roundabout abolishes the need for expansive turn
lanes and signal structures, considerable pavement can be transformed
to public space for landscaping, street furniture and enhancements of the
Park Hall area. Plus there will be the roundabout center island providing
more green space and an opportunity for scenic treatment. Increased
access provided to pedestrians, reduced travel times into downtown, and
scenic enhancements mean increased economic activity in the
surrounding neighborhood ranging from the businesses to public
performances at the
Barre City Council February
28, 2007 Page
Opera House. Last but not least, some of the paved area harvested can
to the Park itself making even better the jewel of Barre’s downtown.
The forgoing outlines some of the immediate benefits of the City Center
Roundabout. In addition there are the longer term benefits which include
enabling denser development in adjacent areas along with the resulting
increased tax potential for the City coffers.
Attached please find the 1993 Wallwork sketch, a list of references to
related documents, and selected roundabout notes.
In sum, a single-lane roundabout with an outside diameter of 130-140
a real possibility and this letter urges a full scale feasibility study.
Vermont Congressional Delegation
cc Barre State Legislative Delegation
Steve Gladczuk, Central Vermont Regional
Vermont Bicycle Pedestrian Coalition
Vermont Federal Highway Administration
DOCUMENTS AND STUDIES RELATED TO BARRE CITY CENTER
Michael J. Wallwork, P.E., Florida Department of Transportation, 1993,
concept , North Main/Elm/Washington Streets, Barre. (Note: This
sketch is done on a “TOPICS” study map which also provides the
dimensions of the Park area including the statue dimensions, park
Michael J. Wallwork, P.E., Florida Department of Transportation, video
tape of presentation on roundabouts before the Barre City Council,
1993 (VHS tapes in the Vermont Agency of Transportation Library)
Times-Argus, November 25, 2005, “Barre seeks solution to City Park
traffic woes” (p. C1).
Tony Redington, letter to the Barre City Council, December 18, 2004
(includes reference to June 2005 roundabout training by New York
Department of Transportation (NYDOT) engineer Howard
McCulloch on June 24, 2005).
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) analyses documents, 2005:
Howard McCulloch of the NYDOT and Principal Engineer of NE
Roundabouts June 24, 2005 field visit to City Hall Park with local
officials including Mayor Peter Anthony, a meeting which identifies
need to shift the monument to afford the needed 150 foot diameter
space for a two-lane roundabout (further evaluation of traffic data
shows potential for single lane roundabout allowing a smaller
–April 26, 2005 “Barre City City Park Concept
–July 6, 2005 Memorandum “Barre City City Hall Park Alternatives”
[sic], Project 51670.00, Greg Bakos, P.E., Chris Obay, P.E.
–May 18, 2004 “Lanes, Volumes, Timings 6: US RTE 302 @Elm
Street 12/29/06" (four pages)
Tony Redington, September 30, 2005 workng paper “Barre–Dimensions
Related to Corner at Elm Street/North Main Street Toward Park
Gazebo” This document identifies a 151 diameter multilane
roundabout possible with a shift of the monument to the east or
southeast. Two pages.
Page one of two
BARRE AND ROUNDABOUTS–SOME COMMENTS
“The only good argument against the roundabout is
that there are no good arguments”
Crown, U.K. traffic engineer,
roundabout designer and software author--
chief roundabout advisor to the New York
Department of Transportation at a Keene,
New Hampshire presentation
The roundabout applied to Barre City
streets brings tremendous
benefits from this revolutionary technology that dates from its beginning
in 1966 in Britain.
1. TRUCK MOVEMENTS Trucks love roundabouts. Most turn moves
in a roundabout are easier for a truck than at a signal. First, roundabouts
cut vehicle stops by 60%. This explains how all vehicles save wear and
tear, and why trucks love roundabouts with the time and energy savings
of reduced stopping. At Montpelier’s roundabout (Keck Circle) 42 tractor
trailers daily negotiate the 107 foot diameter circular travelway --Barre
City Hall Park Roundabout (BCHPR) would have a minimum diameter of
130 feet. The new Walker Motors roundabout (140 feet diameter) serves
about 84 big trucks daily and the Brattleboro Keene Turn Roundabout
tractor trailer numbers 900 daily.
The VHB Study suggests the inability of trucks to make a left from Elm
Street to North Main Street westbound misses the fact that such a turn is
simple: just go around the circle and out the North Main Street west exit
(or, if desired, back up Elm Street!). The roundabout is a natural turn-
around mechanism, a move done quite often in Montpelier by tractor
trailer delivery vehicles (and tour buses!) because of the narrow and
constricted Montpelier city streets.
2. PEDESTRIANS While the 90% reduction in pedestrian injuries as well
as severity has been well known, the impact of increasing numbers of
roundabouts on safety performance of roundabouts in place is just
beginning to be understood. France increased its roundabout numbers
from 10,000 in 1993 to 27,000 in 2003 while the actual number of
fatalities (2) and injuries (about 1,500) remained unchanged. The more
roundabouts the better the performance of existing roundabouts!
3. TRAFFIC CALMING The roundabout calms traffic about a block in all
directions or about a football field distant (300 feet). A series of
roundabouts, research shows, reduces vehicle speeds in a corridor while
reducing through travel times. The reductions of speeds in a corridor
may explain why two roundabouts near each other may well re-enforce
the safety benefit of both to the good.
Page two of two pages
BARRE AND ROUNDABOUTS–SOME COMMENTS
4. VERMONT ROUNDABOUT TRAININGS FROM THE TOP
PRACTITIONERS OPERATING IN NORTH AMERICA--THEY ARE ALL
AT VERMONT’S BECK AND CALL “Mr. Roundabout” Michael J.
Wallwork, P.E., of Jacksonville brought the roundabout revolution to
Vermont in 1992 and a year later to Barre. He designed the first
roundabout to replace a signal (Gainsville, FL) and the first roundabout in
the northeast, Montpelier’s Keck Circle (1995). Wallwork formerly an
Australian engineer, and three other roundabout leaders carried out
about a dozen trainings over the past fourteen years. The other
roundabout leaders who trained Vermont engineers, public works and
and policy people are:
Barry Crown, P.E., of the U.K. Author of roundabout design and
capacity analysis software. Consultant to Keene (NH), New
Hampshire and New York Departments of Transportation
- Mark Lenters, P.E., of Toronto. Designed
the first Ontario
roundabout in Hamilton. One of the first native North America
- Another North American native, Howard McCulloch,
Engineer of NE Roundabouts, Cohoes, NY, and head of the
roundabout unit in the NY Department of Transportation--Mr.
McCulloch from the beginning of the roundabouts only policy now
two years old along with his staff review all state investments in
intersections. Literally hundreds of roundabouts are at various
stages of development in New York State.
Finally Wallwork and one other engineer, Leif Ourston of Santa Barbara
lead the early years of the roundabout revolution in North America.
Ourston designed the first North American roundabout built in Las Vegas
in 1990, had input to the first northeastern interstate interchange and two-
two lane roundabout (Brattleboro, 1999), and consulted with the Keene
group that successfully forced cancellation of a bypass expansion by
installing three roundabouts (the busiest intersection roundabout under
construction will be operating before year end).
It is fair to suggest that one or more of these individuals or their firms
could be involved in roundabout development anywhere in Vermont,
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