The stop sign placed at the intersection of Mt. Shasta Blvd and Alma St. for the last few weeks shows that a roundabout can work there. Roundabouts have many advantages over traffic signals.
A roundabout at this intersection would have been cheaper than signals, moreso if one considers the nearly $100,000 being spent there now.
Roundabouts have been proven to be 7 to 10 times safer than traffic signals. They eliminate the worst crash types and reduce speeds at intersections where most crashes occur.
Because they don’t require cars to stop, roundabouts get us to our destination sooner than signals (on average).
Roundabouts eliminate the turn lanes and multiple lanes which traffic signals require. Fewer lanes are easier for pedestrians to cross and provide room for other modes.
Roundabouts keep working when the power goes out, they don’t break down, they don’t need to be upgraded, and they have no power or maintenance costs.
The common objection is that they need more space than signalized intersections. This is often incorrect; small roundabouts on busier streets are easy to find.
There are more than 5,000 roundabouts in the US. The Federal Highway Administration considers them a Top Ten measure to improve road safety. AARP promotes them for community livability and safety benefits.
Roundabouts are more than alternatives to traffic signals. They can be used as “Gateway Treatments,” which slow drivers transitioning from a higher speed road. This could be useful on North and South Mount Shasta Boulevard to slow drivers coming off the highway as well as on Everitt Memorial Highway to slow drivers coming off the mountain.
They can also improve problematic intersections. A roundabout would make the crossing from Pine St. to eastbound Lake St. safer and less stressful.
My Civil Engineering research focused on roundabouts, I was asked by Portland State University to create instructional material on roundabouts that professors could use in class, and my private work since then has continued in this arena. I know a little about this topic.
When faced with decisions about our streets in the future, I hope the Council will consider solutions that reduce our travel time, improve safety, and save taxpayer dollars.