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Practicing Safety In Circles

Roundabouts Keep Traffic Moving

Posted: December 13, 2012 at 5 a.m.

Drivers travel through a roundabout in Rogers on May 25 on Whitaker Parkway, west of Exit 82 on Intertate 540.

Plans for additional roundabouts in Rogers prompted police to review traffic safety of Rogers’ existing roundabout on Pauline Whittaker Parkway. Traffic is flowing, said Keith Foster, public information officer for Rogers police, but the roundabout has logged eight accidents so far this year.

At A Glance

Roundabouts

One roundabout has opened in Rogers and five others are possible in the near future.

Complete:

• Pauline Whittaker Parkway and Pinnacle Hills Parkway roundabout

Under construction:

• West entrance to Regional Sports Park

Under design:

• Intersection of Dixieland Road and Laurel Avenue

• An intersection of First Street, Monte Ne Road, and Arkansas and Oak streets

Planned:

• Monte Ne Road and Amis Road

• Veteran's Park entrance

Source: Staff Report

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I grew up in Tulsa which has a "traffic circle" (aka roundabout in the Queen's English) at a very busy intersection on East Admiral Drive. That one is much larger providing enough distance and time for a vehicle to change from the inside - thru lane - to the outside - turning lane. You enter the outside lane and if you need to go more than 90-degrees around the circle you change lanes. The roundabout installed at Whittaker and Pinnacle is a terrible design. Vehicles can enter and exit from both the inside and outside lanes according to the signage.
The low accident count must be a raw metric rather than weighted per 1000 vehicles, because the traffic is very light through this circle most of the time. If Traffic Engineering is going to measure safety and efficiency of the design, why not include the traffic count so the accident count can be compared to the volume?
The United Kingdom - which has numerous roundabouts - doesn't design their circles like this or scale them this small for 4-lane parkways. The Whittaker / Pinnacle roundabout is an accident magnet once traffic ramps up to full load on these 4-lane (plus a center turning lane) parkways.
Compared to all of the other outstanding highway and street designs we have here in Northwest Arkansas, this roundabout has to be the absolute worst decision / design.

Posted by: ZeroGee

December 13, 2012 at 5:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Round and round we go, where we stop nobody knows. Lookout here and lookout there. Its a demolition derby come to town and we are entered.

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 13, 2012 at 8:10 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Very familiar with "roundabouts" in England, Africa, and South America. They are best referred to as SUICIDE CIRCLES! One of largest in World in Benin City, Nigeria. 400 killed in an incident on one day! London now has stoplights in theirs! They bare nice when there is little traffic, horrendous in heavy traffic intersections! Just wait!

Posted by: drjrobh

December 13, 2012 at 9:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

My experience with the roundabout in Rogers and one in Bentonville is terrible. Drivers do not know what they are doing and either slow down tremendously or come to a complete stop instead of merging and then exiting at a normal rate of speed. During high traffic times they feel slower and more dangerous than a 4-way stop or traffic light. I hope these ridiculous roundabouts do not become the norm as I believe they will ultimately cause more accidents or at the very least cause more traffic snarls.

Posted by: relao

December 13, 2012 at 9:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )