VISION: The newly designed North Avenue is an “all modes” transportation corridor that runs the entire length of Burlington's North End. As the North End’s “main street,” North Avenue meets the transportation needs for all within and outside the neighborhood through the freedom of choice to move through and within the corridor safely by foot, bicycle, public transit or private vehicle, thereby providing multi-modal access to homes, businesses, schools and other destinations.
Friday, July 4, 2014
WINOOSKI TRAFFIC CIRCULATOR IS NOT A ROUNDABOUT
WHEN IS A ROUNDABOUT NOT A ROUNDABOUT? WHEN IT IS THE WINOOSKI TRAFFIC OVAL!
WCAX-TV ran a story about the Winooski traffic oval, erroneously titling the piece “roundabout.” Roundabouts are engineered to very different specifications, and they are not like the oval in Winooski. Imagine someone putting oversized oval wheels on their wagon, then grumbling that wheels don't work! Roundabouts are engineered for efficiency and safety, and they move more traffic smoothly through a corridor than any other intersection option.
The WCAX reporter described the Winooski traffic oval well, but someone in the newsroom titled the accompanying photo "ROUNDABOUT" in big block letters. But the Winooski traffic oval is what some regional planners accurately call a "traffic circulator." Roundabouts, like those in downtown Middlebury, Montpelier and soon to be on Burlington's Shelburne Street, all one lane rounds about 120 feet (or less) in diameter. The huge 500ft by 200ft Winooski oval could easily contain three to four normal size roundabouts, with space for other ammenities.
The likelihood of serious and probably fatal injuries at the poorly planned Winooski oval will continue to place drivers, cyclists, strollers and walkers at risk. The only way to make it safe is to reconfigure the entire area and install two normal size roundabouts. The remaining space can be used for more businesses, wider walkways, and attractive green space around the perimeter.