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Old 06-03-2011, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 10,804,961 times
Reputation: 6670

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Thought I'd bring up the subject of traffic circles, now being called 'roundabouts'. The way I look at it, if you want to make a left turn and it requires driving 270 degrees around an obstruction that appears to be circular, it's a traffic circle.
It seems that Sarasota County Commissioners were somehow convinced by the county traffic engineer dept that even though roundabouts have failed everywhere they have been tried, this engineer made the case that he can make them fail better and that residents and visitors need them.
So, a functioning intersection with a heavily used road that goes to/from an interstate hwy, had no problems, no complaints from residents or businesses was chosen [who knows the reason] as the experiment for conversion to a roundabout. That intersection being Jacaranda Bl/Venice Av. Cost of the conversion to tax payers- $3.2 million.
Upon completion of the project, a spokes person for the traffic dept stated that trucks may have difficulty driving around the roundabout and the truck tires may ride over the curbs. Now I'm not a traffic engineer but it would indicate to me that the roundabout is too small. Why did that happen? With that intersection and every other intersection being built or converted, the Commissioners did not want to spend any additional money to purchase 'right of way' for the ability to construct a normal size roundabout, sort of like the one pictured on the county web site.
We are told that if we enter at 15 mph, everything will work fine. Vehicles will yield and meld together. Of course in the real world this suggestion doesn't take into account the 16 hours of the day that you can't enter at 15 mph or even 5 mph. You are stopped, waiting your turn, you know like waiting for a traffic light or stop sign.
But wait, there's more. If you want to see a series of roundabout failures in action, drive through Honore Av, south of Fruitville Rd. They are also being installed on the new section of Honore Av north of Bee Ridge Rd. There is a new one being completed at Webber St-Honore Av. The traffic dept is taking regular size single lane intersections, just like in any sub-division, no right of way increase, installing a circle on it and calling it a roundabout. They are postage stamp size intersections just waiting for vehicle crashes. This intersection could have been controlled by a stop sign on Webber St. Honore Av is being contructed as a major north/south thoroughfare going from Manatee County to state road 681. With all the roundabouts, I don't think many people will be using it. And btw- it's only a single lane road.
I'm wondering how many people who live east of Jacaranda Bl now use River Rd to avoid going through the roundabout?
Millions of tax payer dollars are being spent by someone to satisfy an obsession. Isn't it great when you can spend OPM with no strings attached? Seems that government bureaucrats are really good at that.
And a btw- On Fri 6/3, Hills borough Co. Commissioners approved a petition by Carrollwood residents to remove speed bumps and speed tables stating they were over kill to fix a problem that didn't exist. Cost to remove the speed bumps/tables? $168,000
How much will it cost to convert the Sarasota/Venice roundabouts back to stop sign/traffic signal controlled intersections when a politician/bureaucrat can or will admit [how many years?]- we made a mistake.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Paradise
275 posts, read 672,675 times
Reputation: 106
btdt
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 9,591,158 times
Reputation: 1914
I hate that roundabout at Jacaranda and Venice. Why would they do such a thing? To me it makes the traffic worse.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:19 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
5,352 posts, read 7,288,291 times
Reputation: 10223
Traffic circles were big in Jersey and are all now being removed....finally! I cannot tell you how stressed I get when entering a traffic circle -- trying to merge into oncoming traffic, trying to move over to the lane I need, all quickly. As far as Sarasota circles go, I haven't seen the ones you're talking about, but I have been in the one at St. Armand's Circle. I've ended up being on the wrong road and wrong direction because I became disoriented on which "spoke" I was supposed to take, to continue being on the same road. I hate them!
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Paradise
275 posts, read 672,675 times
Reputation: 106
Given the general consensus of these useless obstructions, maybe The City Planners are trying to thin the herd, so to speak?

It's plausible, that with people living longer, it messes up their grand plan and The Planners feel the need to help us along to our demise...
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:52 AM
 
Location: englewood
1,580 posts, read 2,919,547 times
Reputation: 769
i would have thought a project of this waste and stupidity could only be a result of obama bucks. but in checking i dont believe so. must not have met the POS POTUS's definition of shovel ready.

Jacaranda Boulevard and Venice Avenue Roundabout

says this horror only cost us a little over 3 million.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 10,804,961 times
Reputation: 6670
The $3.2 million Jacaranda/Venice roundabout and all other roundabouts are being funded with our 1% added sales tax. Your tax dollars at work.

Yesterday, a former Longboat Key manager made a statement to someone from a publication I can't remember that he 'thinks roundabouts are great' and the intersection traffic light on Gulf of Mexico Dr at Bay Isles should be converted to a 'roundabout'.
He should first drive thru the roundabouts on Honore Av and/or Jacaranda/Venice first. He would probably change his mind.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Sun City Center, FL
177 posts, read 650,408 times
Reputation: 142
Hmm, there was a big fuss about roundabouts in my original hometown in Wisconsin. Seems that the locals didn't like the idea of roundabouts. The Wisconsin DOT says that roundabouts allow more traffic to flow through an intersection with less wait time than traditional traffic lights.

In the 80's, when we vacationed in the UK and later in New Zealand, I drove all over those countries and they had lots of roundabouts. They took some getting used to but once I did, I thought they worked very well (a bigger challenge was remembering to drive on the left side of the road).

So, if I believe the Wis DOT and my experience, I would say roundabouts would work just fine IF drivers would learn to use them. However, most drivers aren't too great at changes --- a simple example: several years ago in South Carolina the law regarding stopping for school buses was changed. Now on a 4 lane or more highway, drivers no longer need to stop if they are traveling in the opposite direction as the school bus. Before I retired, I needed to drive to work on a 4 lane road in the morning and just about every driver stopped for the school buses unnecessarily.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 10,804,961 times
Reputation: 6670
Roundabouts will work if-
Properly designed AND they are large. The problem with the Sarasota/Venice roundabouts is that the county contructed them on the cheap. They didn't want to spend the money to purchase a right of way from land owners to make them the size they should be. [double what they are now] The traffic engineer squeezed a circle in an existing single lane right of way intersection. That's why there is and will be problems. No amount of driver training will make them work.
And they will work with the above on lightly used roads. If you have to crawl along for 2-3 minutes waiting to get to the circle, you may as well be waiting for a traffic light and save us tax payers $3.2 million.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:53 PM
 
3,409 posts, read 4,353,501 times
Reputation: 4231
DL, I'd be interested to hear what your Wisconsin hometown is. I live in Wisconsin, just outside Madison, and have had it as well with the state's obsession with these stupid roundabouts! How can they possibly be better than simple stop and go lights!? You sit forever waiting to enter the thing, and of course they're confusing, and the reason nobody gets good at using them, is because we avoid them whenever possible so never get used to it!! I've heard the reasoning too, that they're popular, well used and well like in England, well, so is the metric system, and we never got used to that either did we??? I hope roundabouts go the way converting to the metric system did!
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