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5 Augusta intersections could be replaced by roundabouts

Sunday, June 2, 2013 6:09 PM
Last updated Monday, June 3, 2013 1:02 AM
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Five intersections in Augusta could be getting circuitous rerouting called roundabouts.

A roundabout for the intersection of Laney-Walker Boulevard and Druid Park Avenue could be completed by the end of 2014.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
A roundabout for the intersection of Laney-Walker Boulevard and Druid Park Avenue could be completed by the end of 2014.

City traffic engineer Steve Cassell said roundabouts are being considered for the intersections at Laney-Walker Boulevard and Druid Park Avenue; Wheeler and Aumond roads; Boy Scout and Skinner Mill roads; North Leg at Milledgeville Road; and Monte Sano at Central avenues.

The city’s only roundabout is at the intersection of Pleasant Home Road, Scott Nixon Memorial Drive and Mason McKnight Jr. Parkway. It was completed about five years ago, Cassell said.

A roundabout is a circulatory roadway around a central island where all traffic flows counterclockwise. Traffic entering a roundabout yields the right-of-way to traffic already in the roundabout.

A roundabout at Laney-Walker Boulevard and Druid Park Avenue near Paine College could be completed by the end of 2014, Cassell said. Reconstructing the intersection would add aesthetic appeal and improve pedestrian safety at the wide intersection with heavy foot traffic, he said.

“We envision a single lane roundabout,” he said.

Improvements costing $3.5 million for Druid Park between Walton Way and Wrightsboro Road will be funded from the special 1 percent transportation tax. According to the project description, the road will be resurfaced and the curb, gutter, sidewalks and storm sewer system will be reconstructed.

Cassell said bike lanes could also be added to the road, which is bordered by Paine College facilities on both sides.

Roundabouts help improve traffic flow at four-way stops and are alternatives to traffic signals, Cassell said. They also reduce the risk of right-angle car collisions. Cassell said the possible roundabouts would be 120 feet in diameter.

“Once you drive through it once or twice, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly,” he said.

Public meetings on potential roundabouts will be scheduled soon, possibly for July and August, Cassell said.

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Old_Chevy
9
Points
Old_Chevy 06/02/13 - 05:42 pm
7
0
Roundabouts

Look kids, Big Ben...Parliament....

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 06/02/13 - 06:48 pm
4
1
Traffic Circle
Unpublished

Traffic circles are the best way to have roads meet. So good the Romans had them 2000 years ago. We decided to turn them inside out for interstate high ways (clover leafs) Now, South Carolina had one just out of Saluda, but the bone heads there decided to put up stop signs all over the thing and still have a circle and have ruined the reason it was there to start with.

dichotomy
36046
Points
dichotomy 06/02/13 - 07:09 pm
7
2
I've seen GA drivers. Most

I've seen GA drivers. Most of them cannot handle a merge lane. At the exit ramp from 520 East to Peach Orchard there is a whole, dedicated lane for the "right turn on red" and people still slam on their brakes and sit there like idiots. I've not sure local drivers can handle roundabouts. Prepare for rear end collisions and side swipes.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 06/02/13 - 07:28 pm
5
1
I use Pleasant Home

... as a shortcut and have seen every sort of behaviour at the roundabout; one individual, more baffled than most, actually turned left to get on the other road. Scare-y!

Little Lamb
47853
Points
Little Lamb 06/02/13 - 08:48 pm
5
3
I believe in roundabouts, but

You know, there are a lot of potholes in Richmond County. There is a lot of uneven pavement (including the shoddy situation on Scott Nixon Drive from Davis all the way past Bobby Jones). There are a lot of sewer manholes sunken below the roadway and elevated over the roadway that are murder on your tires and your suspensions.

Why don't they work on those before they build roundabouts on existing intersections?

triscuit
3210
Points
triscuit 06/02/13 - 08:56 pm
5
0
Nothing wrong with

Nothing wrong with Wheeler/Aumond Rd.

itsanotherday1
46695
Points
itsanotherday1 06/02/13 - 10:44 pm
3
1
Yup Triscuit, when I've been

Yup Triscuit, when I've been through that intersection the traffic has been a non issue. It may be that it gets worse during commutes though.

That said, IT IS ABOUT TIME! that the U.S. catch up with Europe in traffic management.

As far as dummies who don't understand the drill, they will soon enough or will just avoid roads with roundabouts.

When we landed in Ireland a few years ago, I had to figure out driving on the wrong side of the road AND roundabouts FAST!.

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 06/03/13 - 03:32 am
5
1
Not a big fan

I do not care for roundabouts but it seems that MOST drivers in Augusta do not know how to use a 4-way stop. I get so frustrated when people don't know who has the right of way. So maybe a roundabout will help traffic flow. That being said, not sure if they can't figure out a simple 4-way are they going to understand a roundabout?

I do agree with Little Lamb that we have many other concerns that need to be addressed long before we start changing intersections.

Dixieman
16479
Points
Dixieman 06/03/13 - 05:23 am
4
2
DIXIEMAN LOVES ROUNDABOUTS

They are efficient gas-savers -- and fun! People will get used to them rapidly. There are a couple on St. Simons Island which operate very smoothly. And in England they appear about once every half mile (and you have to go clockwise around them - startling and confusing at first).

curly123053
5122
Points
curly123053 06/03/13 - 05:28 am
4
1
Roundabouts

I have visited the Nashville area many times and have noted that they utilize 4 way stop interesections and roundabouts in many of their intersections. I have rarely seen problems with those as long as everybody does what they are supposed to do........Same goes for Houston, America's 4th largest city. I spent 8 months there with my brother when he had terminal cancer. They use a lot of roundabouts too. One of the biggest roundabouts I have seen is in the area of the Texas Medical Center and Rice University. That roundabout is around a huge fountain and has about 4 lanes moving in every direction. I hardly never saw an accident there as, as long as everybody did what they were supposed to do. Traffic moved pretty steady through there. If those big metro areas can handle the big roundabouts I am sure Augusta could handle their little roundabouts as long as everybody does what they are supposed to do.

Adam Bomb
359
Points
Adam Bomb 06/03/13 - 05:42 am
7
3
These things have their good points and their bad.

People don't pay attention to the lanes and cause accidents. Some cities have torn them out after a drastic increase in accidents.
It is my opinion that Richmond County's "traffic engineer" is lacking in common sense. Here we are, almost to the point of raising taxes because of declining tax revenues, and he proposes to spend millions on these purely optional round abouts. I know we could save millions by cutting the Traffic Engineer's budget to the point he could only maintain what is already in place. That would cut his dreaming and wasteful spending and save the citizens of Richmond County a lot of grief.

gaptomom
143
Points
gaptomom 06/03/13 - 06:43 am
3
1
Unfinished business

Why not finish the projects which have been started before taking on anything else?? Bobby Jones has been uneven lanes for months with no end in sight. That is probably a state project though. Instead of roundabouts how about donate that money to the school system which is in dire need of funds.

SGT49
2173
Points
SGT49 06/03/13 - 07:39 am
4
0
I was in Bluffton, SC a few

I was in Bluffton, SC a few months ago where they have a few roundies, talking to an older engineer who retired there from NJ. He said when he left NJ, they were removing them and was surprised to see them installing them down here.

john
1143
Points
john 06/03/13 - 08:02 am
3
1
wheeler/aumond

good grief, people cant handle a 4 way stop, how are they going to handle a roundabout. We already have people who refuse to wait their turn and people who get paralized when it is their turn. A light might be better so no one has to make any independent decisions.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 06/03/13 - 08:34 am
4
0
five roundabouts?

this will increase DUI arrests by 1000 percent

Cameron Poe
1029
Points
Cameron Poe 06/03/13 - 08:55 am
3
1
LL I agree

There are way too many pot holes, too narrow roads, intersections requiring lines painted (Im looking at you intersection of Alexander and Riverwatch) and other degrading road work in this city that needs immediate attention before we start getting "cute" with round a bouts.

Dixieman
16479
Points
Dixieman 06/03/13 - 10:11 am
5
1
Solves another problem too

Here's a good use for roundabouts: Place the entire Augusta-Richmond County Commission in a van and have it driven into a roundabout and go around in circles endlessly. Commissioners are already used to behaving in this way and they will do less harm than they would if they were allowed to meet and vote.

Sweet son
11069
Points
Sweet son 06/03/13 - 11:28 am
2
1
Sea Pines and Coligny Circles on Hilton Head Island........

messed this old country boy up the first few times but I eventually got the hang of it. Early on I would end up in the left lane and have to go around several times before I could figure out how to execute a right turn. LOL!

countyman
21242
Points
countyman 06/03/13 - 11:54 am
3
1
Roundabout

Why do people some people continue to portray Augusta as so different from any other city?

The roundabout in West Augusta near Carmax has been open for several years already. The drivers in the metro/CSRA using the roundabout on Mason Mcknight Parkway have easily gotten used to the area... The roundabout has been open for a few years,, and I haven't seen any major accidents yet..

I think people need to remember that many roads will look totally different due to T-Splost...

Adam Bomb.. I believe the roundabouts are being funded through T-Splost and not the general fund.

Gaptamom.. The construction on I-520 is not related to the city of Augusta, and you can't just 'give' the school system money.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/03/13 - 12:42 pm
2
1
No! No! Nooooooooo!

This is a totally stupid idea for Augusta, especially at those busy intersections. STUPID!

Don't do it! They are being taken out all over the place by people who have dealt with them since the 60s and 70s. They were a bad idea then, so what makes anyone think they are a better idea now?

Where do these morons come from anyway? Haven't they ever been to Savannah or to Hilton Head. Traffic circles (or squares) are frustrating, dangerous, hard to enter when traffic is heavy, and an invitation to more accidents. Not everyone is good at sequencing as it is, so how to you expect the timid to keep up with the flow? You're making a huge mistake that will create messes where there are none.

And what the heck is wrong with those intersections as they are? You're certainly not going to improve anything by putting in roundabouts.

If you persist in this incredible waste of money, you will only be forcing even more wasteful spending down the road when people finally get sick to death of them and we're forced to pay for having them removed.

Ya thicks.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/03/13 - 01:48 pm
2
1
We need a new city engineer.

Dead serious about that.

Right now people pretty much can handle taking turns at 4-way stops and at traffic lights. I can just imagine a traffic circle at North Leg and Milledgeville. What a CF that would be.

And think about the traffic backed up on Druid Park and Laney-Walker as people try to enter the small circle when it's pack with traffic trying to go home. And what is going to get taken out to make room for it?

And, BTW, there is NOT heavy foot traffic at that particular intersection. There is some, sporadic foot traffic. I can only imagine the mess that little circle will cause when there is an event at Paine's new gym/etc or Lambuth Chapel. Day to day, it will just be a big headache for people driving to work and home. I can hear the cursing now.

And why mess around with something that works just fine? These are not high accident intersections. Why the heck are you not working on places that are genuinely dangerous. Putting a crosswalk over Washington Road on both sides of I-20 would be a far better investment in public safety.

Do you have some surplus taxpayer money burning a hole in your pocket, Steve. How about spreading some of it around to do some street repairs, like all over the county.

ScottRAB
12
Points
ScottRAB 06/03/13 - 01:52 pm
0
1
Do what you're supposed to works everywhere

The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 3,000 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.
Slow and go modern roundabout intersections means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/03/13 - 02:09 pm
0
0
Yeah, Scott,

but have you driven on Augusta roads with Augusta drivers? Significant numbers will be totally clueless, so you can bump that 5 sec delay up to about 25 seconds for the ones who will sit there and scratch their heads thinking about what to do next.

paperguy2
55
Points
paperguy2 06/03/13 - 02:20 pm
0
0
Works Fine

There are two roundabouts on Rifle Range Road in Mt. Pleasant, SC, that are more heavily traveled than those mentioned here and they work fine.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/03/13 - 03:21 pm
0
1
If tsplost is to pay for

If tsplost is to pay for these, then the idea of traffic-circles was already conceived, just not announced no? I didn't support the tax and now I'm just trying to see how jacked-up things are. I remember reading how much work would be done for riverwatch, etc. but no mention of 5 roundies in ARC. Now that tsplost is just a tax-revenue, they are making new announcements about new road projects? Mebbe i'm just one of the simpler drivers/tax-payers, but sounds like tsplost was a request for carte blanche, voted-in under ambiguous terms/promises.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 06/03/13 - 04:46 pm
0
1
"...sounds like tsplost

...was a request for carte blanche, voted-in under ambiguous terms/promises."

Precisely why so many of the informed people were against it; Augusta is the state capitol of bait and switch. Not only have the projects morphed, but in a very low key it was announced the priorities of work had been "reworked". Oddly, many of the most desired projects have almost fallen off the list. Maybe the next tax hike?

ScottRAB
12
Points
ScottRAB 06/04/13 - 01:14 pm
0
0
All the same

I've driven on modern roundabouts in WA, OR, CA, UT, CO, KS, IN, and MO. The complaints about drivers and concerns expressed these posts, as well as the myths and fears, are the same sentiments expressed every time a modern roundabout is proposed someplace where motorists are unfamiliar with them.

Adam Bomb
359
Points
Adam Bomb 07/02/13 - 07:41 am
0
0
So TSPLOST is partly to blame.

Never could figure out why working class people would vote to add an additional tax. When we pass a Tsplost tax or any other tax increase that gives the politicians an opportunity to waste money who gets hurt? The politicians? The taxpayer? Hmmmmm........ What say we vote the next Tsplost and any new taxes down to stop the madness.

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