Previous   Next

Should the city put in a roundabout at 19th and Louisiana streets?

Asked at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. on January 4, 2005

Browse the archives

Photo of Katie George

“I’m going to say no, because roundabouts only slow people down. People leaving the high school don’t need to be slowed down.”


Jacob Kaplan-Moss 13 years, 5 months ago


What do they think this is, France?

spym00se 13 years, 5 months ago

I say if we're gonna ban smoking, we should also ban roundabouts!

Seriously though, that is a horrible place for one. People can barely navigate a simple one as it is, that's a pretty busy interection.

mcoan 13 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and, properly designed, there is no issue with pedestrians crossing the street at a roundabout. Don't you think they have pedestrians in Europe? Yes, many more than in the US. Remember, a person in or at the edge of a crosswalk has the right of way over everyone in a car, period, whether at a roundabout or wherever. So, assuming the crosswalk is well-marked, with a big "yield to peds sign," there should be no problem. If there is a problem, it's only one of poor signage.

Jeez, can't we leave this to the EXPERTS? What, do we have to have the KSU engineering dept. come lecture our city commission and school board on how roundabouts work and why they are better than traffic signals?

Accept them: They reduce accidents, save lives, improve traffic flow. It's been proved in this country and in Europe over and over again. Deal with it and grow up.

--Dr. Roundabout

Yes, it is a fine intersection for a roundabout, but if it's not on a city list of intersections needing improvement, now may not be the time.

madcow 13 years, 5 months ago

i meant that it is like merging onto a highway in the sense that if there is someone to the left of you (already in the roundabout), you wait until they pass to go. that would be the only reason to stop. not that you should enter it at 55 mph and hope you come out ok.

and also, when i say i like roundabouts, i mean i like them more than stop signs. not that i want them everywhere.

as far as your questions, i didnt answer them because you write too much, its mostly irrelevant, and i dont really care that much. not to mention im at work and replying to your questions will take up too much of my break time.

pookey 13 years, 5 months ago

haha, that makes me laugh--"people leaving the high school don't need to be slowed down"

I went to that high school, I remember how we used to drive.

Not sure that's a good spot for a roundabout though--awfully heavy traffic there....I'm trying to picture long lines of cars coming from all 4 directions around 3 PM trying to navigate a roundabout....I can't see it working out.....

mcoan 13 years, 5 months ago

Roundabouts are SPECIFICALLY CREATED TO SLOW PEOPLE DOWN! That's almost the entire must slow to 15-20 to navigate the roundabout, vs. whatever speed you like with a traffic light (if the light is green).

No, it's NOT too busy of an intersection for one....the busier the intersection, the better they work. They have been used at busy intersections in Europe for about 40 years with a huge reduction in accidents and fatalities (compared to traffic signals) wherever they are tried.

In addition, they PREVENT long backups during busy periods because you don't have to wait for the light to change. 19th St. gets very backed up at times while people wait for the light. The roundabout will fix that.

The key is design: There are only about two big roundabout design firms in the US. A poorly designed roundabout would be worse than a traffic light, but Lawrence has shown they know how hire people who can design them. (Except that the one at 19th and Barker needs a "Yield To Car In Circle" sign because folks on 19th aren't yielding like they're supposed to.)

The engineering dept. at K-State is one of the leading authorities on roundabouts for the US. See for more information.

--Dr. Roundabout

badger 13 years, 5 months ago

I don't think the intersection can handle a roundabout. It's not a very sensible location for one, with all the pedestrian traffic.

Because they don't ever provide a 'traffic stops and people go' opportunity for pedestrians, roundabouts are really bad places if there's a lot of foot traffic.

I'm curious about how it ended up that most of the commissioners initially seemed to think that this particular roundabout was recommended by the Traffic Safety Commission when it never was. Were they misinformed, did they read the report wrong, what?

John Davies 13 years, 5 months ago

I think that we should go ahead and close the entirety of Lawrence to automotive traffic. We could put everyone to work with rickshaws ferrying people to their homes, offices, and schools. This seems to be the ultimate purpose of the roundabouts and the other efforts of the city commission to control traffic. Maybe we could build a roundabout that goes around the entire city of Lawrence; well I guess somebody already thought of that!

remember_username 13 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, mcoan you're comments make sense up to the point of the pedestrian issue. I walk to and from the university past two roundabouts and they are NOT SAFE at all for pedestrians. They MIGHT be safe if the city did a proper job putting them in but the sidewalks in both cases enter the intersection too close to the automobile path and I had several near misses before I learned to cut way wide - actually off the sidewalk.

Another consideration is that most Europeans do not drive the way Americans do, with little or no regard for pedestrians. That statement is perhaps too harsh, lets just say then that most Europeans are more used to sharing the road with pedestrians.

If the city were to encroach upon the homeowners lawns with the sidewalk and form the pedestrian crossing away from traffic then they would be safer for pedestrians. But will the city do that? This is near a high school where students are not nearly as observant about traffic. I would be very worried if I were the city council that a student will get hit and the city sued.

donsalsbury 13 years, 5 months ago

The EXPERTS at the KSU engineering dept. and elsewhere won't have to use these roundabouts every day--the people of Lawrence will. No one needs to speak to grown-up, civically involved citizens as if they're children who don't know what's good for them. (Funny, I catch myself saying the same thing anti-smoking ban folks say; guess I better cut them some slack.) Anyway, why are we trying to be more like Europe? Aren't they rabid smokers? Okay, just kidding...

Why the city thinks they were a good idea to begin with is beside the point. The studies were convincing enough to have us try a few, but why don't we see specific studies on individual intersections where we've already built them in Lawrence? If I'm ignorant to a study that's out there, please enlighten me.

Roundabouts are a big enough deal to enough people that we should just have a city-wide vote up or down on each proposed roundabout. I know that'll never happen for various reasons, but anymore I'm afraid to report what I believe to be a dangerous intersection near my home because I'd hate for them to put a roundabout in where a light is appropriate.

The only good place I've seen for a roundabout that was mentioned in the relevant story is between Checkers and the Malls. Something needs to be done there, but a light or full stop would be too much pressure on 23rd & Louisiana. What's next, a roundabout at 31st & Louisiana?? Phooey.

The high school needs to keep the light; there's nothing wrong with that intersection whatsoever. I think city commissioners should have to pay for roundabouts out of their own pockets, or not put them up at all.

badger 13 years, 5 months ago


I'm sorry your idea of rational discourse is, "well i think your just a big sack of stupid so shut up."

I've posed two situations that a Roundabout Expert(tm) such as yourself should be able to answer handily. You've ignored them. I think it's because you don't have the answers so you would rather call names.

That's neither very nice nor an effective means of convincing others you have any idea what you're talking about. Please, put up or shut up. If it's so reasonable, and so simple, do please answer the questions, because I think that the roundabouts are unlikely to vanish, and those of you so highly advanced as to have a deep understanding of the intricacies of navigating them would be doing a great service to the humble members of the populace not so enlightened by sharing that expertise so that we may not annoy you when we attempt to use them.

Or are you just going to call names some more? "Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?"

I apologise to others if this post seems rude. I am very frustrated with the mindset here, the "everybody's stupid but me" mentality that a lot of people get when they don't really have any meat to back up an argument. Basically, if your argument is based in the fact that you're smart and everyone else is stupid, then you'd be able to prove it by backing up your own 'smarts' demonstrably, instead of just insulting people.

Madcow, I'm calling your bluff. Back it up if you've got anything, sweetheart, or back it down.

badger 13 years, 5 months ago

mcoan, have you driven in Europe much at all?

These wonderful safe drivers you talk about don't exist in the numbers you think they do. On a recent trip to London, it was observed that several cars, losing patience with the roundabout system, simply navigated on the sidewalks. Pedestrians opted to jaywalk. Crossing a street in Paris, even for a native, is like navigating an arcane obstacle course. My sister, who lived in Europe for three years and drove there daily, still shudders at the thought of the drivers in Brussels, whom she describes as, "Either brilliantly creative at nontraditional road use, utterly insane with a total disregard for spatial math, or both."

Roundabouts may be safer if people already know how to drive on them, but what you're doing is throwing a new technology to a populace that is utterly untrained, and the learning curve is high to read the sign as you're approaching something, try to figure out how to apply the information to the situation ("OK, I yield to pedestrians. Does that mean that if someone's standing on the corner I stop in the curve to let them go, or just that if they're already in the crosswalk I'm supposed to stop?") without any source of on-the-fly information.

In Europe, most of the drivers approaching one are familiar with them already, so it's not a valid comparison. Right now, if you took a cross-section of the people on the road today in Lawrence, I imagine you'd find that fewer than 15 per cent ever had any sort of education about them, and I challenge you to learn a new skill while operating a large vehicle, when everyone around you is learning it, just from signs designed to be read at 15 miles an hour and the conflicting information available about how to navigate them (because there's a lot of misinformation out there).

SO answer me this question, mcoan, because I honestly wouldn't know how to handle the situation: I'm on Barker, approaching 19th street. I enter the roundabout uneventfully, but when I wish to exit having circumnavigated my essential left turn onto 19th street, I find a pedestrian crossing 19th. Now, at a four-way stop, I'd have looked around to see that the pedestrian wanted to cross before I began my turn, but that opportunity has passed. Do I stop in the circle, blocking the traffic behind me, to wait for him to cross? Do I go round again? Remember that I'm moving at 15-20 miles an hour, so I can stop, but not on a dime, and as I'm approaching from an unexpected direction, he may not have seen me when he began his crossing.

More importantly, if this is the first time I've ever navigated a roundabout, the first time the pedestrian has ever crossed at one, and the first time the guy behind me has ever navigated one, how exactly are we all supposed to know what to do?

donsalsbury 13 years, 5 months ago

It's obvious! There needs to be traffic-calming experts at each roundabout showing us with hand signals what each person needs to do. He/she can put a hand up to the person who needs to yield, and then he/she can wave the pedestrian across the crosswalk.

Or better yet, why not have a computerized system, say with different colored lights, doing the same thing! I'm going to patent this idea before anyone steals it!!!

donsalsbury 13 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, though, any system for public consumption (even when some training is required up to enter the system) needs to cater to the lowest common denominator. There is a minimum level of competence to get a driver's license, but that competency is seldom checked a second time in the next 50+ years of driving. Obviously drivers can adapt, but forcing them to adapt isn't necessarily good planning.

Then you have pedestrians, who do not need to pass a minimum competency test to be out on the public right-of-way. Often pedestrians can be laden with groceries or other items, engaged in conversation, or even (quite regularly) under the influence. Many are children who are not accompanied by an adult.

I guess my core argument is not that we shouldn't have roundabouts anywhere in Lawrence (although that would be nice!). I just think that whatever the current rate of installation is, it's too fast. Maybe one intersection every two or three years. Maybe less frequently than that. It feels like the intersections of Lawrence have been vomiting up gardens of retaining walls, tall grass and ornamental foliage at an alarming rate. I'm afraid it's now chronic. Maybe the city commissioners are catching it.

Adam 13 years, 5 months ago

The only thing I would trust anyone from KSU to design is a cattle chute!

Jay_Z 13 years, 5 months ago

Good point badger, people just don't know how to use the damn things. I also agree that Lawrence is putting to many of these things up too quickly.

The city commission has had so many great ideas to relieve traffic in Lawrence: the T, roundabouts, and NO south lawrence trafficway. When is the next election to get rid of these morons?

madcow 13 years, 5 months ago

I like roundabouts. They keep me from having to stop all the time (I live on Harvard, and I used to live near the new one on 19th st). The only problem with them is when you come up to them at the same time as someone who is too stupid to figure out who has the right of way. Then you have to wait on them to get moving, its as bad as someone who doesnt know what to do at a 4 way stop... bah

But, I think that intersection is a terrible place for a roundabout.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 13 years, 5 months ago

Man, I hope they don't continue with this crazy effort to put roundabouts all over the city...

'mcoan', I "grew up" a long time ago, but I still think you're nuts if you think that driver's here are going to know what to do. In theory, it's a simple idea. In practice, the driver's in this city can't figure out what to do with a regular yield sign, let alone one that involves a zillion teenagers walking around, large structures in front of them, and the TRUST you have to place in the other driver's entering from other areas to actually yield to those already in the roundabout. I think I'll take my chances with the current system of streetlights. Regardless of what the redneck KSU people have to say...

badger 13 years, 5 months ago

Hey, madcow?

If the knowledge that a red light means 'stop' and a green one means 'go' and an amber one means 'proceed with caution because the light's about to turn red' wasn't taught to drivers or made common knowledge, and all of a sudden traffic lights were installed in a town of 80,000 people who had never had any experience with them and received no instruction other than a few vague notes about them in the newspaper, such as, "Pedestrians have the right of way" or "stop for red, go on green, use caution on amber," would those people also be 'too stupid' by your standards because they didn't automatically know what to do, say, about turning right on a red light, or making a left turn with a green one when the person in the oncoming lane is doing the same?

Now take into account that they couldn't really learn by watching other drivers because those drivers wouldn't know what to do either, so it would be simply learning by trial-and-error based on frequency of encounter and application of logic--and that there's a good chance that each and every time you encountered a traffic light for the first year or so, that it would be someone at the intersection's first experience with one. There's actually a reasonable likelihood that an entirely different set of traffic behaviors would emerge, based on the existing driving profile of the town itself.

It's not stupidity to say, "Hey, you know, this is foreign and unfamiliar to me, so I'm not going to just bull through it." You want to call people names and insult their intelligence, I suggest you do something concrete to educate them instead of just complaining that they are too stupid to know what to do.

I refer you to my question above regarding how to deal with an unexpected pedestrian at a roundabout, with the note that concern over encountering just that situation and having to decide whether to go around, stop, or initiate some other procedure of which I am unaware is what actually causes me to plan my driving routes to avoid the roundabouts. I note that you didn't offer any advice to address my 'stupidity' there. Got any?

madcow 13 years, 5 months ago

its not that hard of a concept... you know... to yield to oncoming traffic. its just like merging onto a highway, but in circle form. I dont see how people need to be educated on how to do something they should have learned in drivers ed.

badger 13 years, 5 months ago

Yield to oncoming traffic.


That means that when I'm driving in the roundabout, then, I yield to the people oncoming as they enter it?

That would be yielding to oncoming traffic, wouldn't it? What? You mean that 'oncoming traffic' might not simply mean a vehicle heading in your direction on a course that takes it through a space you will eventually occupy if you proceed on your own path, as I was taught in drivers' ed?

I don't remember the last time I had to deal with a pedestrian while merging onto the highway. Is this a regular occurrence for you? Did your drivers' ed class cover merging around pedestrians? For the record, mine included traffic circles, but that's because there was one within ten miles of my high school that we could practice on--though as it was a convergence of two rural two-lane roads, we didn't cover pedestrians, as there were none. I find that I'm in the minority. I can't even imagine the process complicated with the combination of high traffic and dozens of distracted pedestrians (unless, of course, the intuitive ease of roundabouts automatically means that teenagers will begin paying meticulous attention to their surroundings).

All I see you saying is, "Duh, it's not that hard, everyone is just stupider than me," but not really offering anything concrete. I note you didn't answer my question, still. Ya gonna?

How about this one: Can I, as a pedestrian, cut from the northwest corner of Barker and 19th to the southeast one by crossing the circle lanes and the roundabout itself? Why or why not? Given that whether or not one should, people probably will, how should a driver who is proceeding around the roundabout (which has a nice piece of art to break up the view of short pedestrians) respond when he comes around the curve to find that I am doing so?

It's not simple, it's not intuitive, any more than the state-to-state differences regarding a right turn on red are intuitive, or the question of who goes when at a four-way stop when everyone gets there at the same time is intuitive. It's arrogant and counterproductive to just say, "Well, duh, stupid, yield to oncoming traffic" without appreciating that there's a great deal more nuance and a lot more detail in the process than just that.

donsalsbury 13 years, 5 months ago

OK, I was going to limit myself to 3 posts today, but this got me back on. 'Merging onto a highway in circle form' may help you navigate roundabouts, but it is not a good example to use as education. Not only does the comparison terrify me, it also confuses me because it doesn't compare.

Highways have a second lane that right-of-way traffic can potentially slide into to let people in. How do you let people into a roundabout? You're likely going to say that it's not your problem, that they should yield. They should, but there are plenty of people who see a yield sign and do not stop until they must to finally avoid a wreck with the car in the circle (me). They'll stop 3 feet away from the circle. That kind of reckless driving happens all the time to me, and I have to fight the urge not to stop momentum in the circle because I have the right-of-way. Harvard and Monterey has no visibility of oncoming traffic from the north or south because of the vegetation.

What's the speed limit for roundabouts? The maximum ability of the car and driver? 30mph? 15mph? 10? When people come careening through from the opposite side you can't tell how fast they'll take the circle, and they often don't signal for a left turn. How are you supposed to tell whether to yield or not? The car behind me doesn't want to stop, so I have to maintain some forward momentum while tapping my brakes to let him know that according to madcow I'm stupid.

Highways also tend to have decent available visibility at on-ramps, and there's a minimum of 50 yards or so of buffer room on the on-ramp. There's no room in roundabouts for error.

I'm done addressing this issue for now; I'm weary of getting riled up about it.

missmagoo 13 years, 5 months ago

Is that intersection even big enough for a full roundabout? That's a silly idea for right there. Roundabouts can be very useful but also cause more problems. That is such a heavy traffic area anyways, I think that it would just slow it down.

ms_canada 13 years, 5 months ago

A number of years ago we had a city planner in the traffic dept. of my city who was from England where there are many round abouts or as we call them traffic circles. Well, suddenly we had a number of them and I'll tell you they were a disaster. We dumb canucks had no idea how to use them. There were a multitude of accidents. So they put a BIG add in the paper with instructions on the use of traffic circles. Most of our busy streets have 2 or even 3 lanes. So, as you approached the circle, if you wanted to make a right turn you were supposed to get into the right lane. Fine, no problem there. If you wanted to go straight ahead,that is, go 1/2 way around the circle you had to get into the left hand lane and enter the inner lane of the circle, put your right turn signal on and exit the circle into the left lane of the street. Same thing with going 3/4 of the way around the circle to make a left turn. Sounds alright, heh? Well it was not alright. We must be pretty dumb way up north here because the accidents did not cease and people were complaining continually. Guess what? After great expenditure and a firing of the city planner, we have no more traffic circles. Well, not strictly true. There is one left and can you imagine, it is a circle with 5, not 4 entrances. It is a scary thing to navigate that circle with cars coming at you from all directions. The only good thing about it is that it is a very large circle. Lawrence people, say no to traffic circles. And speaking of England, how would you like to navigate one of them from the left hand. We nearly were creamed in a circle in Ireland. Whew!! too scary.

madcow 13 years, 5 months ago

badger: im sorry the idea of driving in a circle and not hitting anyone else at the same time is too difficult for you to grasp.

Jay_Z 13 years, 5 months ago

Professor Roundabout (madcow)~

Going into a roundabout is like merging onto a highway? How enlightening. I don't remember the last time I merged onto a highway at 5 mph or from a complete stop going into a circle.

kansas 13 years, 5 months ago

madcow, I think as a practical matter, roundabouts are a pain in the rear. I have yet to travel through one and not almost get hit by some other motorist who fails to yield. The concept/idea of a roundabout is simple enough for anyone one with a triple digit IQ to grasp, this is true. However, people roll through stop signs, fail to yield while merging onto highways and gun the yellow light at intersections instead slowing down like they are supposed to all the time!--And all of these examples of traffic safety/etiquette are simple enough to understand as well, but you and I see people do these things everyday when we are on the road. Right? I know I see it everyday! So, I think that while roundabouts are theoretically a good way to "calm" traffic, in reality/the long run roundabouts solve nothing. Too many people (whether they inderstand roundabouts or not) can and will continue to drive in an agressive/me first mannner--and that, coupled with crazy cyclists and inattentive pedestrians, just makes roundabouts a unnecessary hassle.

BTW....This goes out to everyone here...I realize that cyclists and motorists must share the road. That's fine with me. But way too often I see cyclists weaving in and out of cars stuck in traffic cutting in and out of line (which to me is both inconsiderate and dangerous) and just the other day I was approaching a four way stop sign and a cyclist was approaching the four way from my right. As I slowed to a stop on my side, this guy on his bike JUST BLEW THROUGH HIS STOP SIGN LIKE IT WASN'T EVEN THERE!!!---And that's just not right! He, and other cyclists, need to realize that just because a bike isn't a car that doesn't mean he and other cyclists are free to break the rules as they please!!!

I just wanted to get that one off my chest!

Drive carefully everyone!! It's icy and slick out there today!!

Anne Bracker 13 years, 5 months ago

I'm not all that fond of the roundabouts in Lawrence. I've had problems with near miss collisions and gotten stuck trying to be patient like many people have. However, I also think that as the driving community gets more familiar, those incidents will hopefully diminish.

But, MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT about the roundabouts in Lawrence is the overall design. Several of the roundabouts are designed with a tall middle circle due to landscaping. The newest Lawrence roundabout on O'Connell Road (east side of Lawrence, going South from K-10, in the Prairie Park area) has been built up in the center using landscaping blocks (typically used for retaining walls). It is so tall in the middle that I can't see traffic coming toward me until the vehicle is almost fully on the left side of the roundabout (my left as I approach). I think this could be very dangerous because too many people fly around the roundabouts too fast. The tall middle section will also hide running kids, dogs, cats, etc. until it's almost too late. I understand the desire to make the inner circle attractive, but please keep the landscaping low so it doesn't obstruct views all the way across.

On a lesser scale of complaint about the roundabout design, I think there should be a larger minimum diameter. I can't remember the exact cross streets, but at about 8th and Maine, there's a "baby roundabout" that is more like a 4-way intersection with a pimple in the center. If it's gonna be a roundabout, at least make me go around something a little more significant.

Stepping off my soapbox now...

Jillster 13 years, 5 months ago

I am not completely wild about the new roundabouts. I live near the one on 19th St., and while most times I can just sail through, I've also had to sit at that intersection for several minutes while a stream of oncoming traffic on 19th St. entered the roundabout, not leaving any room for traffic on Barker to safely enter. And I hope they don't put any more landscaping stuff on the berm in the middle, since that makes it more difficult to see the traffic entering the circle from the opposite direction (I'd love to know which genius thought that it was better for that raised area to look pretty rather than give a clear view of the intersection).

Chris Bohling 13 years, 5 months ago

I like the roundabouts on east 19th street mostly because they slow cars down that would otherwise barrel down 19th at 50 miles an hour. To bikers like me, they are a godsend. However, I have enough trouble getting into/ out of the LHS parking lot as it is, and roundabout there would probably slow things down even more. Half the poeple who go to LHS would take forever to figure out how to use it anyway and it would be a major hindrance.

I would also like to point out the most of roundabouts, at least in England, are built along major highways and function in the same way as interchanges do here. It's a much more efficient system than bulding a bunch of overpasses and onramps, and consequentially the whole British highway system works a lot better. We need more roundabouts at bigger intersections (Clinton Parkway and Inverness, etc .) and out on the highways.

Griblit 13 years, 5 months ago

Clearly there is a need for better signage and better education of how to use roundabouts, BUT- I live practically on the one in 19th, and I love it!

I think that if the concept of, "If you can enter safely, then it's your turn; if there's a pedestrian, STOP; if the car in front of you is stopped for a pedestrian, don't hit it." is too hard for one to grasp, then he/she should avoid the intersection. Honestly!

Complaining and getting all riled up CAN'T be easier than simply learning to use the silly things. Give yourself more credit. One doesn't have to see the other side's traffic- if they aren't in your way, GO! Good grief...

Grundoon Luna 13 years, 5 months ago

You think they don't have traffic lights anywhere in Europe? Sheee-ya. There have been roundabouts all over the East Coast for freakin' ever, too, in Boston, WDC, etc. I've driven all over the Boston area - where they have REAL roundabouts, big, hairy, 3 lane ones. The concept isn't hard to understand: Yeild to the car on the left. If the car from your left hasn't entered the circle yet, or if another is that far or farther away, you're good to go. For a roundabout at 19th and La. to be a successful endeavor, a good portion of the corner of that park's gotta go, part of the high school's property, the laundry mat, the house on the corner and the houses on either side of it's gotta go, too. It would be uttery foolish to make one at that intersection any smaller. Yup, it will have to be one of those big, hairy, monstrous SOBs. While I have a good amount of experience driving in them, I don't really like them. The one lane jobies are cake, but those 3 lane, ugly, gargantuan . . . I shudder to think . . .

mcoan 13 years, 5 months ago

I love all the comments from the folks who've had a "near miss" in the roundabouts, but never had an accident in one. The fact is, most near misses don't become accidents in roundabouts. Properly designed, properly signed, a little driver education or self-education (and drivers being open to new things), some enforcement/education, and you'll find that they are safer because speeds are lower. Leave out one or more of those elements, and there could be a problem.

You just can't argue with the stats on safety, which clearly show massive drops in accidents at intersections after roundabouts are installed. You also can't argue with the faster overall traffic flow, when measured in cars-per-hour.

It's all so funny because every community in Kansas (and the US) that has added roundabouts (Manhattan, Hutchinson, Topeka) has had huge numbers of complaints from people who aren't used to them. It's the same pattern here. You'll get used to them, and, assuming proper design and signing, grow to like them. Just because it's new and recommend by engineers and scientists and such, doesn't mean it might not be better for you!

In answer to the question about 20 above: Yes, pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way. So, if you're in the roundabout and you see a pedestrian crossing in front of you, you must yield.

When approaching the roundabout, slow to 5-10 mph. Stop if there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Otherwise, continue to move slowly and stop or slow further if there is another car in the circle approaching from your left. The maximum speed in a roundabout depends on its diameter, but in general, 15 mph is the max. speed for these small versions.

Two other benefits of roundabouts: Better gas mileage for drivers, and lower emissions.

So, let's see:

Pros: Fewer accidents, faster traffic flow, better fuel mileage, lower emissions.

Cons: "Uh, they require people to be smarter than a rock." And, "No one's used to them so they don't know what to do."

-- Doc Roundabout

PS: I agree with those who said that there shouldn't be much height to the roundabouts (unless the diameter is larger). It's disconcerting not to be able to see what oncoming traffic is doing (but it is not more dangerous since, the oncoming traffic, if not visible due to the roundabout, isn't yet in the circle far enough to prevent you from entering the circle.)

mdecoste 13 years, 5 months ago

I think it is a bad idea with the students, the design, and overall pedestrian traffic at 19th and Louiisana. Maybe if the roundabouts were put a block away on each end and not right at the intersection, traffic would be slowed, the the stoplights there could also still be used for that heavy traffic area. I am concerned about the buses that use that intersection and and how it will effect the landscaping around that area, especially how much wider the streets will need to be, how they will effect the sidewalks and curbing, and most importantly, that teenagers don't take them too fast and cause accidents. How do the salt trucks and street cleaners handle the existing roundabouts and how this effects traffic is also an issue to be concerned about.

Dixie Jones 10 years, 4 months ago

when i learned to drive stop lights were used to slow traffic ....have times changed so much that stop lights no longer work??? lawrence needs to worry about more important things.or maybe they have too many ppl on the payroll and they need to find them things to worry about to look busy .

justsomewench 10 years, 4 months ago

any chance the city would invest in actually fixing the potholes on louisiana north of that intersection first? the last time i drove that stretch at night, i could swear i caught daylight from the other side of the planet through them.

those puppies can calm traffic like nobody's business.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.