Just how do you feel about roundabouts?

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Your basic, American roundabout | Wikipedia

Your basic, American roundabout | Wikipedia

Some people just plain hate roundabouts, those circular intersections. To them, they’re confusing, uncomfortable, unsafe. But traffic engineers and the feds love roundabouts, and they keep popping up. Now, the Washtenaw County Road Commission wants your input.

“We receive a good amount of feedback, both positive and negative, about the county’s roundabouts,” said Sheryl Soderholm Siddall, director of engineering at the Road Commission. “We developed a questionnaire because we thought it would be the best tool to gather the community’s suggestions and learn more about their experiences.”

On April 4, the Road Commission set up a questionnaire to collect opinion and experiences driving the county’s roundabouts, a WCRC press release said. The questionnaire remains open till until May 2. Results will be shared with the Federal Highway Administration.

Hard-copy versions of the questionnaire are available at the Road Commission’s office, 555 N. Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor, and you can download it, print it out and return it by mailInsights gathered from the questionnaire may be used by WCRC and FHWA to enhance roundabout designs, the press release said. And WCRC may use the information to develop education materials to help drivers understand how to travel safely through roundabouts.

The Road Commission maintains 15 roundabouts throughout the county, according to the release; three more are planned over the next two years. Many of the county’s roundabouts have been funded by federal grants. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts are one of the safest intersections available — providing a 39 percent reduction in total crashes and a 90 percent reduction in serious injuries and fatal accidents.

Roundabouts can reduce traffic delays, provide better fuel consumption for drivers and reduce air pollution, the release said.

Sorry, haters, but the questionnaire isn’t a referendum on whether or not the agency will keep building roundabouts: “We will still select and apply for federal grants at intersections where roundabouts make sense and will improve safety and/or congestion,” Siddall said.

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.

1 Comment

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    July 20, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Roundabouts are great, when people use them correctly (ie. not stopping but yielding instead); and if they aren’t confusing like at Lee Rd. in Brighton and/or only have no more than two lanes; and lastly putting a cross walk right at them in my opinion is very dangerous for all. Drivers can’t pay attention to traffic, pedestrians, learning how to use it and going around all at the same time! Seriously. That said, I’d rather not wait at a light for 2 min.