Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roundabouts in Newton III

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This one was already on my list of roundabout candidates, but Beacon St. and Grant Ave. moves up with the report that a cyclist and a car collided in the intersection on Friday. I'm hardly surprised. The intersection is my least favorite to bike through in all of Newton, with the possible exception of Newton Corner. Left-turning traffic -- eastbound Beacon onto Grant and southbound Grant onto Beacon -- is so intent on turning that they just don't look out for bicyclists. I cannot count the number of near misses.

It's probably not a particularly safe intersection for cars, either. I'm going to try and find out, but I suspect that the Beacon and Grant intersection has more than its share of car-on-car violence.

A roundabout at this intersection would address the major problem, creating stress-free gaps for left-turning traffic. It would be a much safer and more pleasant intersection to negotiate in a car. It would also make a lovely gateway into and out of Newton Centre.

As discussed earlier, simply having a roundabout would not make life safer for bicyclists (though Beacon and Grant is so bad now, it may be an exception to that general rule). But, there are more or less bicycle-friendly ways to design a roundabout. It can be clearly marked so that cars don't pass bicycles in the roundabout. Or, the design can put bicycles on shared sidewalks around the roundabout, with bikes crossing the entrances/exits like pedestrians.

It's a big intersection that could easily accommodate a nice modern roundabout.

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