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Going in circles about roundabouts

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 11:07 am

By Ben Marshall

SCOTT’S CORNER—The general public seems to be going in circles about roundabouts.
However, people often have trouble with change, and the roundabout at Scott’s Corner represents a fairly substantial change for those used to four-way intersections.
The Vandalia Leader staff wanted to do a poll on what people thought of the new roundabout at Scott’s Corner and how they deal with navigating the circle in their every-day lives. We posted a question on the paper’s Facebook page, asking for your opinion or experiences with the roundabout.
There is also information in this article on how to simply navigate a roundabout, which should help almost everyone become more accustom to, as well as possibly appreciate roundabouts. The one at Scott’s Corner was designed to reduce high speed intersection fatalities.
Even with a reduction in fatalities and major injury accidents, some people are still not happy with the traffic circle.
Sue Borton wrote that, “Roundabouts are dangerous! A three- or four-way stop is much smarter and safer. We have one in The Dalles, Ore., where I live and most locals avoid it. To top it off, our city fathers hired someone to paint a mural on the roundabout center. While the mural itself is nice, drivers are too busy watching out for the other guy because nobody reads the yield signs, to actually see the mural. Waste of money!” She added that, “I’m on this page because I have cousins and an aunt and uncle in Vandalia, as well as my dad grew up there.”
Cory Nobis wrote, “Its a pain for trucks, but then again I don’t have to mash the brakes to get from 50 down to 25 for someone who is much more important and in a much bigger hurry.”
Elaine Herren Beedle simply states, “I hate roundabouts!!!!”
Kaitlin Atkinson wrote, “Ask me again after the first bad snow! If you travel 54-19 on a daily basis in bad weather, then you know how awful the roads are! I’m not looking forward to taking the roundabout in the snow.”
Monte Hanson asked, “Just wondering about the actual cost. In the early meetings, Modot said it was going to cost $1 million. The last public info I saw said the cost was $2.4 million. As a taxpayer, I would like to know what the true, actual cost was.”
Some say the roundabout is causing problems at other intersections because people are trying to avoid the roundabout.
Dorothy Tolar, says it is, “Causing Hwy B thru Rush Hill to get so much extra traffic. It’s a speedway thru there. Even had a truck pulling a camper hit the RR tracks so hard they unhooked the camper from the truck and wrecked.”
Jessica Riechers added to that comment: “People FLY on Rt. B. A lot of out of staters, but not all, and all are RIDICULOUS!!!”
Lynn Ann Flowers said, “I heard that it is slower to go that way, so more traffic going through Rush Hill now.”
And to that Kambrie Burton said, “It really is about the same time either way you go. I travel both ways all the time and realize it’s about the same.”
There were more negative comments on roundabouts, however, on the positive side Warren Nation adds, “Everyone should be schooled in some fashion on how to navigate a roundabout. All the new rules and regulations etc., should be gone over when you get your license renewed.”
Educating the public to the proper use of these roundabouts should help take the edges off the changes to what used to be our local intersections.
Modot has provided such information online at: modot.org/roundabouts?fbclid=IwAR2dux-7bUE9ypya0o6D9MjE2K7Cg78J6LvHblu9a4WbQq9I-77MHGpGIeo.
The MoDOT site says you simply slow down, look left, and proceed with caution to your right. It further states, “Driving in circles can be a good thing, if it means you get where you want to go quicker and safer. That’s why the Missouri Department of Transportation is using roundabouts as a way to manage traffic at some intersections.
“A roundabout is a one-way circular intersection that channels traffic around a central island without traffic signals. Roundabouts are a great alternative to a signalized intersection when a high volume of traffic needs to get through with the least amount of inconvenience.
“While signalized intersections have 20 conflict points, or spots where vehicles could collide, roundabouts reduce that number to eight. Fewer conflict points, combined with slower speeds and calmer traffic, can translate into as much as 75 percent fewer crashes. Because roundabouts tend to have fewer severe crashes than signalized intersections, they have fewer crash-related injuries as well.
A video at modot.org/roundabouts?fbclid=IwAR2dux-7bUE9ypya0o6D9MjE2K7Cg78J6LvHblu9a4WbQq9I-77MHGpGIeo will help drivers better understand how to navigate a roundabout, plus explain the many benefits they have compared to traditional traffic signals intersections.
There were also quite a few positive comments about the roundabout.
Carylle Folta wrote, “I use the roundabout at 19 and 54 (Scott’s Corner), eight times a day, four with the bus. I had my doubts at first, but it has made things run so much smoother! I’m all for it! Sure some have issues with it, but I’m betting they have issues with a lot of things!”
Freda Deimeke says, “I think it is wonderful, a great improvement.”
Cindy Snodgrass-Evans added a comment to explain the difference between a roundabout, and that which is actually referred to as a traffic circle. She wrote, “I was coming from Martinsburg going to Laddonia. As I was about to enter the roundabout the car to my left stopped. I just sat there and made them go, after all, they did have the right of way. Some roundabouts in England are huge. Six lanes of traffic. You’re supposed to merge to the center and merge back out to exit it. And, you go around it to the left. There are no four-way stops. Everything is a roundabout. The one at Scotts Corner is a piece of cake. It just looks a little odd.”
Leslie Meyer said, “I love it! I didn’t think I’d initially like it. I don’t get stuck in a 15-minute line, waiting to cross to get into the school anymore in the afternoons.”
Haley Nobis commented, “I work at R-VI. I have had absolutely zero issues using the roundabout everyday—at a busy time. The school is more quite now too, with so much less traffic noise because it’s further away from the school and there’s no semi brake sounds anymore. I love it.”
Dana Tucker Robnett responded to Haley Nobis with, “Agree! I like it!! Hopefully no more fatalities there!!”
Tara Gipson Calton stated, “I’ve seen death at that intersection. I had a friend get hit there with her two kids in the car. We had an ambulance with a neighbor get hit there. The roundabout makes the area seem safer to me, and the traffic has run smooth when I’ve been through there.”
Becky Teacutter added that, “Columbia has over 40 roundabouts now, and most people have learned to use them properly. I must admit they do, in most places, make traffic flow better and in one spot that I travel everyday there has been a huge reduction in major accidents.”
Jamie York said, “I like it! Except for the people who go around it backwards. I’m not even sure how they do that, but I’ve seen two so far.”
And Abby Kircher Graver added, “I don’t know, why roundabouts are so hard for people. I have seen several cars go around it backwards which obviously is a huge hazard, but in time I think it will be a good solution to what was a very dangerous intersection.”
Brook Poindexter commented saying, “I drive it almost every day and I feel much safer.”