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Roundabouts safer than standard intersections

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From: Kent Anderson


Received: Jan. 3

The roundabout in downtown Columbus deserves a C-minus for the effectiveness of its design. Before it received minor tweaks, I would have given it a D-minus or perhaps an F. It is important, however, that we not let the first roundabout in the county serve as our only basis for judgment of roundabouts.

The Earth is round, not flat. Research shows that roundabouts are safer than standard intersections. There are many well-designed roundabouts in Indiana that demonstrate that roundabouts are both safer, time-saving and even slightly fun. I would suggest that anyone who has never driven a well-designed roundabout take a field trip to Carmel, where there are many well-designed, functioning roundabouts.

Here are some more facts to think about as you form your opinion of placing a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 31 and the Southern Crossing.

The funds the Indiana Department of Transportation wants to spend on the proposed roundabout are federal funds for safety-related projects. INDOT will not and cannot pave your pothole-filled road with safety funds. Those funds must be spent on a safety-

related project.

INDOT has crash data for the entire state of Indiana. The U.S. 31/Southern Crossing intersection was identified as dangerous via a data-driven process. It was not just a random thought of someone playing the good idea fairy.

The state officials present at the public meeting are people. They are professionals in their jobs, who just like you and me also have emotional reactions based upon how they are treated. Based upon the article in The Republic, it does not sound as if they were treated respectfully by some citizens during the meeting.

To question our INDOT officials as to whether a roundabout really is safer than a signaled intersection is the equivalent of one of those state officials driving down to the Cummins Tech Center and arguing with the engineers about their choice of exhaust gas treatments.

Is the intersection at U.S. 31 and Southern Crossing dangerous? I suggest we ask the professional transportation officials who spend their working days analyzing the data. If we do have a problem with safety at the intersection, is a roundabout the best solution? Once again, I would suggest we seek qualified advice and leave it to professionals.

To our friends at INDOT. You have apparently identified a safety problem at an intersection. You are proposing an intersection improvement. Please do your job and stop trying to run a popularity contest.

If you are intent on abdicating your professional responsibilities, please note that fewer than 50 people in a county of 79,129 showed up for your meeting. We could hold a public meeting on the need for oxygen in the atmosphere, and we will still have 50 people show up in opposition. Let’s save public meetings for issues that really matter.

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