To the Editor:
A properly designed, single-lane roundabout is leaps and bounds better than a traffic signal for safety and flow, for all. Before our first roundabouts went in here in Missoula, there were fears similar to what I read about on the Vineyard. The results after three years? Not a single injury crash and barely a fender-bender.
Almost all traffic signals average around three to six injury crashes a year for comparison. Pedestrians and cyclists greatly benefit in safety and in time savings. Four thousand dollars a year is saved in not needing the electricity to run the signals day and night. Community is enhanced as eyes are on each other, people slow down and cooperation — not competition — abounds.
The main concern I see is the design speed. If the drawing in the April 5 MV Times is accurate, the turns are too tangential, thus allowing too high a speed for vehicles taking a right at the roundabout. This is akin to the outdated rotaries where higher speeds were the goal (and the bane, regarding crashes).
For the best for the Vineyard, concerning road safety, change that design speed to slow cars taking a right turn at the roundabout. If this is not done, there is almost certain to be a tragedy where the exiting lane for cars crosses the bike and pedestrian path. If this is changed, one can expect a really well-done intersection that will likely enhance the elusive character of the Island.
By the way, I visit my sister on the Island every couple years.
Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation