Monday, September 8, 2014

San Francisco and Seattle Trail Walkable Manchester Center, VT?

Yes, up to the last few years the current three-roundabout corridor in Manchester dwarfed major cities like San Francisco and Seattle when in came to walk-mode safe single lane modern roundabouts.  Actually just about any downtown with one of the roughly 4,000 roundabouts nationwide tops New York City which has a zero tolerance of the roundabout which aided several European nations including France pass the United State in highway safety performance over the last two decades (the U.S. once first in 1970 now ranks about 14th and seems to continue falling).

Transportation Alternatives, a pro-walk/bike and safe streets organization in New York City told Vermont's walk/bike summit earlier this year one cannot find a single roundabout in that City while the rest of New York state whose roads are a state responsibility operate on the first U.S. state policy of "roundabouts first" in place since 2005.  If  New York Mayor Diblasio truly pursues a "0 fatality rate" on his City streets he must abandon the City's "0 roundabouts" policy as the U.S. roundabouts cut serious injuries and fatalities by about 90%--single laners with proper design cut walk/bike mode fatalities by about 90%.

Yes, Seattle is the home of traffic calming circles on local streets dozens of them--but hardly a roundabout to be found on a major busy street intersection.  Ditto for San Francisco home of an aggressive bike organizations.  San Francisco?  Well it is one of 22 U.S. cities with special federal programming for major cities with extraordinarily high walk mode injury rates. Again in spite of roundabout training (one in 2007 by the New York State  roundabout leader Howard McCulloch at a Firsherman's Wharf hotel) had nary a roundie at that time.

So, if you want to see roundabouts in a community place there as the result of a 1995 plan for the self-proclaimed "5th Avenue in the Mountains" take a trip to Manchester Center, VT--its Main Street truly walkable.  The other half of their plan for Depot Street removes the only remaining traffic signals and will likely include cycle track (protected bike lanes) thereby creating an ideal shopping experience in a walkable/bikable environment--New York City, San Francisco and Seattle take note!

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