• 63°

Edlitorial: Roundabouts and safety

While a forum on a proposed traffic roundabout may have drawn sparse attendance, it raised the right issues regarding the intersection of Sherrills Ford and Briggs roads.
Highway safety is obviously foremost, but cost effectiveness and the impact on the surrounding community also must be taken into account.
Currently, the state proposes converting the intersection to a roundabout. Residents have suggested less costly changes such as a conventional traffic signal or some combination of the existing warning light, roadway rumble strips and improved sight lines.
If residents oppose the roundabout because they believe it’s an overpriced solution or they’re worried about its impact on nearby homes or businesses, those are legitimate concerns that need to be incorporated into the discussion, which was the purpose of the Monday forum organized by Rep. Harry Warren. But roundabouts often suffer from a misperception that can contribute to the negative perception. Roundabouts do not increase the likelihood of accidents at an intersection, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and other safety watchdogs. The institute cites studies showing that roundabouts reduce accident rates and fatalities.
You can understand why if you compare the traffic flow at traditional four-way intersections to a roundabout. At four-way intersections, crashes typically occur because someone runs a stop sign or traffic signal, or turns in front of an oncoming car. Often, those crashes involve vehicles moving at high speeds in different directions. “With roundabouts,” the institute says, “these types of potentially serious crashes essentially are eliminated because vehicles travel in the same direction.” When accidents do occur, they generally involve merging vehicles traveling in the same direction, at lower speeds.
In a 2001 study of 23 intersections that converted from traffic signals to stop signs, the institute said that injury crashes were reduced by 80 percent and all crashes (including non-injury collisions) dropped by 40 percent. The institute also cites a 2004 study of 17 rural intersections in New York state where roundabouts reduced the injury crash rate by 84 percent, while eliminating fatal crashes during the study period. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center also has done studies on roundabouts and notes that “when properly designed, roundabouts offer a safer alternative to the traditional intersection, resulting in fewer serious vehicle crashes.”
While the state DOT thinks this intersection is a good roundabout candidate, many residents aren’t convinced. They’ve voiced some valid points for not rushing to install a roundabout, which may not be the most cost-effective solution here. But the safety findings are clear. Roundabouts reduce the frequency and severity of accidents.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Local student surprised with horse-drawn ride home from school

Local

Pedestrian hospitalized after being struck by police car

Local

Torch Run returns to Rowan streets, raises money for Special Olympics

Crime

Fish arcade company drops suit against Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration