Roundabout Before and After

By City of Lawrence · September 29, 2008 · Comment on this

This "before-and-after" video looks west down 19th Street, toward the street's intersection with Barker Avenue. Employees from the city's traffic division used a bucket truck -- one they normally use to change light bulbs in traffic signals -- to help them record this video of the intersection during the beginning of evening rush hour (just after 5 p.m.) on two different days: one, in June 2003, when the intersection had four stop signs controlling traffic; and a second, in the fall of 2004, after a roundabout had been installed at the intersection instead. We sped up the time on the city's video for each view, condensing several minutes into just over 30 seconds. David Woosley, the city's traffic engineer, says that that same number of vehicles are going through the intersection in each instance. The only difference? Before the roundabout, vehicles would get backed up on 19th, at times almost all the way to Massachusetts Street at the top of the screen. After the roundabout? Only a handful of vehicles came to a stop, yielding to traffic already in the circle. Woosley concedes that the roundabout isn't perfect - "it's a compact roundabout," he said, given the constraints of other properties nearby - but notes that traffic flow has improved and the number of accidents has fallen, especially collisions that involve injuries.

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n8n2010 9 years, 9 months ago

Back in my day, we didn't have fancy smanshy roundabouts. We had four way stops signs! And we stopped at them even if there wasn't even anyone else at the intersection. Why? Cause we like it! It was fun wasting gas........back in my day.Curmudgeon SMe

beballeto 9 years, 9 months ago

Love roundabouts. Much more preferred over the 14 lights on 6th.

SMe 9 years, 9 months ago

Baldertrash!"Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" (Disraeli)One in June, one in fall.What day of week?What time of day?The only thing comparable here is the view.

SMe 9 years, 9 months ago

What's this, n8n2010 a personal attack on me?I don't understand why you've chosen to attack me. I've driven roundabouts before they became the "hot item." Kansas City, Mo. had them even before I started driving. Funny how every generation has to have a "hot item" whether it's an improvement or not. But it must be an improvement because it's "new."Why do you imply I consider it "fun wasting gas?" That's inaccurate - I've commented often on how much gasoline is wasted sitting at poorly timed signals - and yes we did (and I still do) stop at stop signs because it was safe. Unlike today when (based upon your comment) you choose situational morality or ethics and decide when and if you'll stop.And then for no apparent reason I can discern you call me a "Curmudgeon" which is not acceptable!SMe

George_Braziller 9 years, 9 months ago

I used to drive through that intersection twice a day, five days a week. The roundabout was a HUGE improvement. There used to be certain times of the day that the westbound traffic on 19th Street would be backed up to the railroad tracks.

akuna 9 years, 8 months ago

I have always loved roundabouts. They, unlike other types of intersections, allow the driver to make the decision of when to go and when to stop. There is no come to a complete stop when you arrive at a roundabout unless there is another car in the intersection. Roundabouts are awesome, and this video proves it.BTW - the things on the south side of campus on 17th street are not roundabouts. They are some bastard child of the roundabout and they should be removed.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 9 months ago

SME, Try counting cars in the video if you don't believe it. I had some trouble doing it, but I counted with the stop signs 68 westbound, 44 n-s bound, and 68 eastbound coming into the intersection, for a total of around 180. With the roundabout I got 79 westbound, 73 eastbound and 36 n-s bound, for around 198. So it was actually busier with the roundabout than the recorded stop sign day. The flow of traffic is undeniably better with the roundabout, and I see nothing in the picture to think that either one was anything other than a typical day, something that matches up with my own personal experience at that intersection.As far as the steady stream of traffic argument goes, that has more to do with the traffic signals at Massachusetts and Haskell than the roundabout. A stop light is what creates a gap in the traffic to pull onto 19th, not a stop sign. I wish they would release the stats on number and severity of accidents for that intersection before and after. I'm sure it would bolster the argument. The only serious problem I ever have had with a roundabout is for pedestrians, which they've tried to clearly mark, but it still makes me nervous on a busy day.

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