Reader's view: Better get accustomed to roundabouts
The News Tribune's recent coverage of proposals for the construction of new roundabouts -- including the front-page April 28 story, "Roundabouts popping up across the Northland" -- has been quite good but has missed a couple of very important points.
The News Tribune's recent coverage of proposals for the construction of new roundabouts - including the front-page April 28 story, "Roundabouts popping up across the Northland" - has been quite good but has missed a couple of very important points.
Roundabouts have a long record of safety improvements through collision reduction and improved traffic flow, and those are the top-line benefits. Other important considerations are reduced operating and maintenance costs and improved performance in all weather conditions.
The fact this type of intersection operates more efficiently without a traffic signal means it offers the same performance even when the power is out. It doesn't require power to operate every day all day long. And it doesn't require a staff of traffic-maintenance personnel to monitor its operation, adjust the timing plans, and repair those pesky in-pavement loop detectors that routinely fail as a result of our freeze-thaw cycles. There also is no need for emergency police presence to direct traffic when the power is out.
For small cities, especially, like Rice Lake, these ongoing operating and maintenance considerations can be the most critical.
We motorists had better get used to driving in roundabouts because the number of installations is growing everywhere we drive.