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August 17, 2008 Poll Results

Do you prefer traffic lights or roundabouts for busy intersections?

Traffic light 61% 608 votes
Roundabout 35% 348 votes
No preference/Don't know 2% 26 votes
Total: 982 Votes

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

comments

sbdknitter
August 17, 2008
5:37 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I have had the task of maneuvering a full size school bus through the roundabout(s) in Malta. I have no idea how someone takes an 18 wheeler through there. Those things are dangerous and the directional signs might as well depict a plate of spaghetti they are so confusing.

schdygirl
August 18, 2008
10:38 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Has anyone been on Erie between the hours of 3 and 5:30 pm lately? It is difficult to get onto Erie from a side street, even when you have a green light. You may sit through several lights with only a few cars in front of you. State Street (which crosses Erie) is also the same way during rush hour traffic. A round about in this area is the most amazingly stupid idea that anyone in this town has come up with yet. The cross streets of Erie are going to be so backed up from the constant stream of commuters coming off of 890 that it is going to cause unimaginable problems. Not only will the business downtown suffer from this madness along with the hundreds of pedestrian’s downtown all day every day trying to cross the street. I’m all for making things pretty, but not at the cost of being practical!

lu
August 18, 2008
12:11 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I see many disadvantages of rotaries but none of the advantages.
1. Navigation issues.
"you are already in the roundabout before you know where you need to be" - that's absolutely true! Many many big signs may solve a problem but a driver has to be able to read them at a speed and maneuver at the same time,

2. Control over situation.
When I drive and all of a sudden a roundabout appears in my way the level it creates huge stress for me.

I feel they are terribly dangerous. When I'm at an intersection a car which could possibly collide with mine is approaching under 90 degrees. We have traffic lights which show people whether they can go or not. And even someone passes a red light I can turn my head slightly to see whether there any danger. I even can register it with my side vision and brake or turn to avoid incident.
But at the roundabout the oncoming car which can cross my path is almost at the back, under 150 degrees or so. I cannot see a danger and I'm losing control over the situation. I cannot avoid the crash if a driver coming to roundabout suddenly forgets who have a right of way.
I feel terribly insecure putting my life and my money in the hands of some random person.

3. Communication issues.
When I approaching two-lane rotary, and I see a car coming at the opposite side I cannot even see which lane it goes: whether it's a center lane (and I have to wait) or it's side lane and it will turn in the next exit and I can go now. Neither position, not speed, nor acceleration/decceleration of that car gives me a clue about that driver's intentions. The turn signals are frequently misused and pointless in this case.
I cannot see, I cannot make a decision and this adds up as unnecessary wait.
And that's just 2 cars: mine and someone else's! That if there is more? The regular all-way-STOP-sign would work much better.

4. Confusion
One more navigation thing: when I drive I keep track of my car position relatively to north-south, cities and other landmarks. But when I turn at random angle at roundabout I am completely lost and terribly confused. Where am I? Which way do I go? Am I heading the wrong direction?
This adds up to the stress making my days miserable.

I'm trying to avoid roundabout as plague choosing alternative routes even if they are longer.
Maybe this is the main contributing factor to "decreased congestion" and "lower accident
rate" at roundabouts.

Roundabout are probably not a bad decision for the intersections of more than two roads, like Place L'Etoile in Paris (known as Star Plaza, 5 ends). But for regular 4-end intersections they are pointless and way way too expensive.

Roundabouts are also great to deal with foreign army's invasion: just change the signs and foreign troops will never reach the point they need.

rstellrecht
August 18, 2008
1:33 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Roundabouts work, but only if they are wide enough. The ones on Route 67 by Northway exit 12, for example, have too narrow a circumferance, so trucks and buses have to straddle both lanes or run their rear duals up on the brick curbing. The old Latham Circle, too, is not wide enough, whereas the Carrier Circle in Syracuse and the one off the Truway exit in Kingston can easily be navigated.

The other problem is uneducated drivers, who are confused about when and where to yield. When I make that swing from 67 onto the Northway, I always hold my breath hoping to eastbound traffic yields. The general rule is, yield to any traffic already in the circle.

schdygirl
August 18, 2008
1:40 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Most people can't figure out whose turn it is at a 4 way stop should we really trust them to figure out the right of way while driving in a circle while other drivers are attempting to enter and exit the circle?

acostanzo
August 18, 2008
6:23 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Maybe if everyone slowed down a little when they drive, rotaries wouldn't be so intimidating.

martymefurst
August 18, 2008
10:08 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Roundabouts are dead common in the UK and no one seems to have issues with them. Looking for an advantage? Traffic MOVES. In an era when gas is four dollars a gallon, waiting at red lights (particularly if you're turning left and there's no green arrow) costs money. Multiply that wait over the thousands of cars that might wait at a given spot over the course of a day and collectively that's a ton of money.

schdygirl
August 19, 2008
8:30 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

In some area's they are practical and easily navigated, but in others, such as a traffic filled downtown with an inlet and outlet to a major interstate system and businesses on either side of the road, does not count as one of those times. When GE gets let out of work and all of the commuter traffic starts coming off of 890, traffic is going to be stalled. Without a light to break up that traffic, commuters trying to turn onto Erie will be sitting their waiting for an opportunity to cut into that traffic. How exactly is that different than waiting at a light? At least with a light, you know you will eventually get a turn in a decent amount of time.

Dr_Chim_Richolds
August 19, 2008
9:49 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Good point, schdygirl. I have a hard enough time waiting behind incompetent (usually elderly) drivers on a straight road with no traffic. I can only imagine how frustrating it will be when I'm stuck behind someone too timid to enter a roundabout. I'd rather wait for a light, because as you say, eventually it will turn.

Ree
August 19, 2008
3:48 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Want a fun ride? Try going east from exit 12 on the N'way Like a carnival trip

philipwriter
August 19, 2008
4:08 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

After driving for the first time in Ireland several years ago, I was sold on the round about right away. I realized that instead of waiting at lights, I was whisked through intersections quickly and with ease. Whenever I encounter a round about stateside, I gush with joy—that's how much I enjoy the experience. I utterly hate how much time is wasted waiting at lights.

b0ssladii
August 19, 2008
4:09 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Just to be sure.. Is a roundabout the type of thing like by Latham Circle Mall? Sorry, I just dont wanna comment on it like I really know what it is if I dont.

Teacher4Life
August 19, 2008
8 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Lu (see above) is right on in stating "I'm trying to avoid roundabout as plague choosing alternative routes even if they are longer." There you have it! Roundabouts work because people who are uncomfortable using them will find alternative routes. This creates less traffic through the roundabout. For older drivers or others with reduced neck mobility, a roundabout may require you to enter the roundabout at a sharper angle (which is possible with compact vehicles) that will provide for less turning to safely observe oncoming traffic. Overall, the traffic flow and safety statistics of roundabouts are generally an improvement over traditional intersections with moderate (not extreme) congestion.

schdygirl
August 20, 2008
8:36 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

yes b0ssladii, a roundabout is the "type of thing by Latham Circle Mall."

sydney66
August 20, 2008
12:08 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I live on Krumkill Road in Slingerlands and have to go through five - yes 5 - roundabouts to get to the grocery store. At first, I found them a little confusing, but now I love them. The only downside is that they still confuse some people who pose hazards to the rest of us. But the rules are very simple - cars INSIDE the roundabouts have right of way over those entering the roundabout. The only accidents I've seen are when drivers ignore this rule and dash in front of a car already going around the circle - you wouldn't do that in a straightaway, so why is it OK in a circle? Use your common sense and you'll be fine.

pastorsteve
August 20, 2008
3:48 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

There is a circle by the Latham Circle Mall which has been modified to be more like a roundabout, however it is still a traffic circle. Roundabouts are not the same thing as rotaries or traffic circles. You cannot use these terms interchangeably. To learn more about the differences, and why roundabouts are safer than traffic circles and traditional intersections, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

mhowie
August 20, 2008
4:24 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Roundabouts are a nightmare, especially when you have to go through more than one in a row (I'm looking at you, Malta, with your absurd string of five and counting) -- they'll make you downright queasy. And that's not to mention that if you don't drive through them all every single day, they tend to be confusing.

LAV
August 21, 2008
7:07 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Roundabouts are not for the faint of heart. Besides it requires one to pay attention, something many drivers are not doing on a regular bases. Cell phones, coffee drinking, talking, rubber necking etc. all take away from what you are supposed to be doing, driving the vehicle. Maybe it's time for some people to take public transportation or give up driving altogether. I like roundabouts, they are fun.

martymefurst
August 23, 2008
10:56 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Everyone saying that roundabouts are a nightmare, headache, terrifying, or for the young and courageous are missing something - if they were an everyday encounter they'd barely be noticed. Think of the one at Van Antwerp and River Road. At the same time they would have to be well planned and well placed, Schdygirl is right, Erie Blvd is a terrible place for one. As much as I used to dread taking a left on Erie from Union or Liberty during rush hours (and the three or four lights I might wait through) there isn't enough room and the drivers are too selfish and aggressive here. My blood used to boil as I'd watch, five, six, seven, eight cars run the red on their way to for from 890 and GE. What downtown needs is a complete scientific redesign of traffic flow.

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