Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stop signs are costly, roundabouts rock

Five minutes explaining why stop signs are cheap to install, but impose a heavy cost, and why roundabouts are good for everybody. Not sure about that weird sign proposal, though.

12 comments:

Dan Halbert said...

Not sure about his assumption of 2 ounces of gas to accelerate away from a stop sign. So 64 stop signs = one gallon? Seems high to me.

Anonymous said...

The notion of adding up the time of each person going through the stop sign to show total time wasted seems to be just playing with numbers. It would have been more interesting to see the types of roads that he thought this would apply to. Reducing fatailities...what roads was he looking at? Trying to put a roundabout in newton center is a lot different than putting a roundabout out on route 2 or down at the Cape access roads. And there didn't seem to be any consideration for pedestrians or bicyclists trying to cross while a driver is looking to the left so he can hit the gas when he sees an opening. They rock?? Gimme a break.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous I would strongly suggest you do your homework and study what a modern or mini roundabout is and how it works before you start to make comments as if you had. These devices are not the type of large rotaries that we currently have in Massachusetts where you can accelerate while in them in order to gain access on your departure. Because of the reduced lane width and the larger middle island, the vehicle deflection needed to proceed around it actually slows vehicles down. These elements do not have the pedestrian crossing at the entrance location, but instead are located 20' behind it and often include pedestrian refuge isalnds, to increase safety--not reduce it. In fact every study, completed in the US/Europe/Australia show that these elements are far superior and safer with regards to motor vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists when they replaced 4-way Stops or Traffic Signals. One study showed injury causing accidents was reduced by 80% and all other acidents were reduced by 40% versus the 4-way stop or traffic signal which was previously in place. Another study showed a 75% reduction in pedestrian related accidents. To make a long story short, contrary to your opinion, they are safer, they work, and yes a good engineer could easily fit them in Newton Centre to improve both traffic congestion and public safety.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right, it is important to know the difference between a roundabout, rotary and traffic circle.

I dislike all of them because theyre not great for pedestrians and bikes. While roundabouts have crosswalks with refuge islands, theyre set back, meaning crossing diagonally takes much longer.

And as a cyclist, I am comfortable with 1 lane roundabouts, but not so much with the two lane types.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a junior traffic engineer doing some reading rather than actually looking at what they are trying to change. The numbers mean nothing if you're looking at intersections that didn't have injuries in the first place. And if the video wasn't talking about relatively large intersections, how did he get all the statistics on fatalities and injuries. And to say the crosswalk is 20' BEHIND it, certainly doesn't take into account all the cars coming out of it. And you certainly have to be on one side of it or the other. I may not know what I'm talking about, but the ability to copy and paste hasn't proved you know better, which makes pushing a solution just plain arrogant. Time to quit the copy and paste from your traffic books and think about the intersection, where people are going, how they will have to cross, and what it might mean to not have a stop light.

Anonymous said...

Although he sounds like an interesting guy, has his own VC firm, and probably lots of money and time (I'm jealous) there is nothing in Gary Lauder's background that indicates he has any expertise regarding traffic flow. Interesting musings from a smart cable kind of guy, but was his endorsement of roundabouts supposed to carry any weight?

Gary Lauder said...

It is correct to say that I have no credentials to cause you to trust what I am saying, but nor does that mean that what I am saying is false. To imply that is what's known as "argumentum ad hominem." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

I did not make up the stats and I cited my sources in the presentation, but they are missing from the video (which should not be a surprise). See: http://www.lauderpartners.com/sign for backup materials.

-GML

Anonymous said...

Touche. But it also doesn't mean that the statistics indicate that roundabouts should be used everywhere. Sean is known in the neighborhood for citing statistics, leaving out facts, and/or applying them in inappropriate ways to achieve his goal du jour. The point being, roundabouts don't "rock" until you've examined the area, thought about it, and achieved some consensus on how it can be done.

Anonymous said...

Is this just an entertainment break, or does the blogger have a proposal as to where in Newton/Brookline/Boston stop signs ought to be replaced by roundabouts? If so, is this driven by a theoretical imperative or is it being urged by actual people who actually walk, bike, and drive through the affected area? Always a little nerve-wracking when you hear about traffic-calming ideologues calling for new traffic features in an ideological vacuum, as has, tragically, been so often the case here.
Sully from Waban

Anonymous said...

Sean publishes his ideas, participates in public meetings, and cites public policies and studies by engineers. For those who don't agree with him, he has welcomed thoughtful discussion. How sad it is that some must resort to anonymous character assassinations and be so disrespectful of others.

Anonymous said...

What about a respectful fact-based public discussion and debate around some Newton-area locations where stop signs should be replaced by roundabouts, and how the roundabouts should be designed ... rather than just "roundabouts rock" platitudes? There does always seem to be some anxiety around what new plans are secretly being hatched in the name of "slowing down traffic" or "protecting pedestrians" or redeveloping Riverside or rebuilding the Wellesley Lower Falls bridge ... and who really wants those changes made and why.

Sean Roche said...

Search "roundabout" and you'll find several instances where I recommended roundabouts to resolve issues in particular intersections. And, I plan to post about others in the near future. But, a single blog post can't do everything. This was a fun little video about the virtues of a particular traffic management solution. Enjoy.