Unnecessary Traffic Jams

I live in very nice area of Colorado with minimal numbers of people driving. Yet the city manages to create traffic jams through poor traffic management policies. When I do have to get in a car, I find myself stopping for 30-120 seconds at almost every single traffic light. Trips across town typically take twice as long as there is any need for. A simple solution is roundabouts.


The city has built a few roundabouts recently, and it has made a huge difference. I have two possible routes to work of equal distance (on those unpleasant occasions when I have to drive a car.) One has roundabouts and literally takes half as long.

The downside of roundabouts is that drivers have to pay attention and can’t text while they are driving. The upside is that people have to pay attention and can’t text while they drive. They also greatly reduce serious accidents, because there is only one direction of traffic flow through a roundabout, compared with eight directions at a typical traffic light.

How many times have you seen people speeding up when they see a yellow light? That is a recipe for disaster.

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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9 Responses to Unnecessary Traffic Jams

  1. Bcreekski says:

    We have low traffic volume most of the time, but the roundabouts in Vail Valley function very well.

  2. Leon Brozyna says:

    I always found roundabouts so much easier to handle. All it requires is conscious awareness and a bit of courtesy and consideration. Of course, in this age of texting, tweeting, and the narcissism of facebook, that may be quite a challenge to those who are consciousness challenged…

  3. Layne Blanchard says:

    We have new roundabouts in my city. I like them now, and they’re efficient. But they do not solve the problem of terminal stupidity among some drivers, who enter on the outside lane, but attempt to veer across the inner lane to turn left, of course with no awareness of the consequence.

  4. Eyes Wide Open says:

    Of course roundabouts are the intersection of choice in England, both out of necessity (former cow paths turned into roads don’t lend themselves well to a cross-shaped intersection) and because they work best in lower speed urban environments where they keep traffic moving generally with little or no waiting and are generally safer (fender benders vs. T-Bones!!). They not as good for high-speed major highways intersecting smaller roads as those on the major highway have to slow down to negotiate the roundabout. The challenge of course is the training of drivers! Can you imagine these things in the Bronx??

  5. dp says:

    In the 1980’s I spent several months in Toulouse, France, and did quite a bit of driving while there. They have roundabouts on the highways, and grand rounds in the town centers, and it is as you say, the traffic flows smoothly. Here in the Seattle area they’re getting mixed reviews as people seem not to understand them, and that it is essential to be predictable when in the round. They are a cooperative and when that fails, the concept fails briefly. The results are bent fenders, motorcycles on their sides, and unhappy exchanges just beyond the round.

    It will take time to use them correctly, but we need more of them. When they work, they work very well.

    I don’t know about the Broomfield area, though – every roundabout entrance and exit would be called “Interlocken”.

  6. Scott says:

    I think the idea is good for many intersections, but I don’t like the (relatively) new one at Ziegler and Horsetooth. When I’m approaching that intersection at 45 mph from the north and have to slow down to half that to navigate it even when no one is at the intersection can be frustrating.

    The other issue is getting behind someone who doesn’t know how they work and waiting for who knows how long until they finally enter it when absolutely no one else is coming from the other 3 directions….grrr.


  7. Amino says:

    So the key to these working well is everyone using their directional?

  8. John Slayton says:

    Ay, Steven, you hit a sore spot. My response is much too long for a comment, so I put it up on my personal site at this link:
    As you will see, we talk about the science…. : > )

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