Sunday, November 17, 2013



Search for "roundabouts" at the Vermont Agency of Transportation  (VAOT) website and you get the message, "your search yielded no results."

But, go to the NY State Department of Transportation website (it has a "roundabouts first" policy in place almost a decade) and not only will you find an extensive website on roundabouts but also animations on how to walk, bike and drive through multi-lane roundabouts, links, and photos, history, etc.  Ditto for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) which spent the beginning of the century fighting Keene citizens from replacing a $60 million Bypass Expansion with three roundabouts, now listing in detail the 28 roundabouts on the State system and the 15 in planning or design phases.  

What is noteworthy is that until about 2005, Vermont led the roundabout emergence in New England as an injury reducing, congestion relieving, sprawl constraining, sole walkable-bikable intersection design, pollution cutting, energy conserving treatment. Vermont now has 11 roundabouts in place--including he first northeastern roundabout (1995) and first northeastern interstate interchange (1999).

        Cycle track (protected bike lanes)

At the same time all three state websites start out even when it comes to the new infrastructure "rave" found in numerous cities and towns now from Boston, to Chicago to Seattle--protected bike lanes termed "cycle track."  Cycle track provides a high level of safety to all bicyclists regardless of age and skill and paired with roundabouts which include a pathway for cyclists (shared or separate) creates for the first time a bikable busy urban street for use by everyone.  It also erases a great deal of the conflicts between cars and bicyclists.   Chicago Mayor Rham Emmanuel through his own initiative builds 100 miles of cycle track in his first term, Boston Mayor Tom Menino commits his City this fall to 30 miles by 2018, and new cycle track project completions now occur monthly somewhere in the U.S.
        U.S. modern roundabout history

While the modern roundabout got its start in the U.K. in 1966, it was already gaining ground in several British-related and European nations by the time the first roundabout came to the U.S. in 1990 in Las Vegas.  While the U.S. roundabout numbers approach 4,000, the French during the 1993-2003 period built at a U.S. equivalent rate of 7,000 a year--today France boasts about 35,000 roundabouts, the U.K. 10,000, and the City of Melbourne 4,000.  Thanks to the leadership of Carmel, IN Mayor James Brainard, that City of 70,000 with several freeway interchanges is about two thirds of the way to the goal of being a city of 100 roundabouts and one traffic signal 


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