More Roundabouts, Please

roundaboutWant to reduce traffic accidents, calm traffic in general, AND make your city more friendly to pedestrians and bicycle users? One word: roundabouts.

Study after study have all shown that roundabouts are exceptionally effective at reducing auto accidents and making crossing the street more safe for pedestrians. Here are some results:

  • Netherlands — accidents down 51%, injury accidents down 44%
  • Australia — fatality accidents down 74%, property damage accidents down 32%
  • Germany — serious accidents dropped from 18 to 2
  • France — fatalities down 88%, injuries down 78%
  • Even Mythbusters compared roundabouts to normal 4-way stops, and found roundabouts much more efficient.

So, if roundabouts are such a good idea, why don’t we have more of them in Louisville? And, can we get more?

Well, the answer to the first question is probably a combination of “change is hard and expensive” and “we’ve never done it that way before.” Taking out traffic lights, ripping up asphalt, building the new roundabout, and getting people used to using it is more cost, perhaps, then our officials are ready to take on. When it comes to adopting roundabouts, Cool Progressive Lou becomes Stodgy Old Lou.

But guess what? Slowly, slowly, people are catching on. The River City is getting some new roundabouts, right in the middle of St. Mathews, as part of the Neighborways program. (H/t to Brandon Klako at Broken Sidewalk for, uhm, “breaking” the story. <g>) Granted, the roundabouts aren’t in the middle of Browns Lane or somewhere with heavy traffic — but hey, it’s a start.

Roundabouts are a proven way to lower accidents and make the roads safer for all, including pedestrians. It’s time for Louisville to rally round the roundabout, and begin looking for more and  more places to put them.


Got a suggestion for a new roundabout? Add it in the comments!