Round and Roundabout

Roundabout | Arizona Department of Transportation

The proposed-rejected-approved “roundabout” intersection at Hayden and Northsight isn’t “my” issue. I have refrained from commenting on it partly because I haven’t studied that intersection in great detail. Before I was fired from the Airport Advisory Commission we had several presentations from from the Transportation Department about the then-called “Ring Road” around the Airport and the roundabout was just one component of that much larger project.

These presentations were mostly informational as their was no direct impact to airport safety or operations. However, the Airport Advisory Commission did make some specific recommendations about other intersections, and I suggested that transportation planners consider looking at the land north of the canal for westbound traffic lanes. I’ll post more on that at another time.

I have always been critical of the design and implementation of roundabouts here. I think they are confusing because of their small size (as opposed to larger “traffic circles”), limited visibility, limited time for drivers to establish who needs to yield to whom, etc. At the City Council meeting this week where Suzanne Klapp reversed her earlier opposition in order to lead to approval, several residents (including presumed city council candidate Copper Phillips) raised other objections including challenges posed to large trucks and emergency vehicles.

You can read more in the AZCentral article on that item. You may also want to read the comments I posted on the article about safety implications for bicycles and motorcyclists. This is a serious issue that the Transportation planners have never seriously considered.

I note advice to cyclists posted on the ADOT website:

  • Enter into a traffic lane before bike lane ends.
  • Ride close to the lane’s middle to prevent vehicles from passing and cutting the bicyclist off.
  • Enter the roundabout after yielding to vehicles already circulating.
  • Circulate being careful to watch for vehicles waiting to enter.
  • Exit the roundabout as a car does.
  • Of course, if a bicyclist just wants to cross to the other side, they can “walk” their bike and use the crossroads as a pedestrian.

To me, this translates into:

  • Ride aggressively.
  • Block other traffic.
  • Enter at your own risk.
  • Expect to be hit.
  • Otherwise, don’t use the roundabout.

By the way, did you know we are officially a “Bicycle Friendly City?”

Do you frequent this intersection? What do you think of the proposal?

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