Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another example

Monday, the City Council approved a plan to install roundabout near the intersection of Cornhusker Highway and N. 14th Street. That's a bad location, particularly for northbound traffic trying to merge onto Cornhusker. It definitely needs something, and I think a roundabout would work well. Lincoln was awfully chilly to the concept when the City installed the first two roundabouts that served busy intersections, but there is no arguing with the results--a topic I've written about before.

The concerns I've heard about a roundabout at 14th and Cornhusker usually revolve around the perception that since it's a larger street with a higher speed limit, it won't work. If you've ever been to, say, Cape Cod, and encountered the giant highway rotaries, you've seen that it really can work.

Another good example of a high-volume intersection re-engineering project that worked can be found at the dual intersections of S. 9th St., S. 10th St. and Van Dorn Street.

When the project was proposed, there were a lot of raised eyebrows--mine included. It was hard to visualize how this would work, but work it has. The northbound traffic (especially truck traffic) flows smoothly onto the West Bypass at Van Dorn Street, and the accidents have fallen precipitously since the segment opened last July. These intersections and the approaches have averaged about 28 traffic crashes per year since 2000. Although 2008 hit that average on the nose, 24 of these crashes happened prior to the opening of the redesigned segment in July, and only four occurred in the second half of the year after the redesign. Eight injury crashes in 2008 all occurred prior to the re-engineering of the intersection.

Traffic engineers know their business, and deserve a lot more respect than they receive for some of these projects that represent nice improvements in public safety.


Anonymous said...

I was initially skeptical about those first two roundabouts on Sheridan. Not because I felt the roundabout concept itself was faulty (it isn't, and there are some monster, high-speed multi-laners that are like a beautiful vehicle ballet), but because I wasn't sure that a city full of drivers (a large proportion of whom seemed to have trouble understanding a 4-way stop) would be able to wrap their heads around the flow of a roundabout.

My fears were proven to be misplaced, and there are rarely any collisions at those two intersections. I'll admit when I'm wrong, and I was about roundabouts and Lincoln drivers. Most of the remaining collisions that happen are very low-speed, and involve...that's right, someone not paying attention to their main job of driving, and rear-ending the vehicle ahead of them. They just looked away for a "few" seconds (probably texting or drilling down for songs on their ipod), and when they looked up CRUNCH. Keep your eyes on the road, and don't drive distracted, kids.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a roundabout will work wonders. It's just to bad that the people of Lincoln don't know how to properly use it. The roundabout at 33rd and Sheridan is a prime example. All 4 entrances to the roundabout have "Yield" signs, yet, when one driver goes, the ENTIRE row of cars behind them go. When my wife and I were in Europe, they knew how to properly "Yield" and all take turns.

Doublebanker said...

It was kinda tough there for a while with the construction at 9/10th & VD. But it's really smooth now!

Anonymous said...

What are we, in bloody England

Anonymous said...

It looks like they might be thinking ahead and planning a roundabout for 98th & Pine Lake Road. I wonder if a double-lane roundabout would be do-able here. They might need to ED a few buildings though.

Tom Casady said...


I just love it when someone figures out how to use that link feature in Google Maps. Good job. It would take a lot of acerage to build it, but it would indeed work wonders on the snarl, IMHO. I continue to wish we had a solution for the Bermuda Triangle.

Doublebanker said...

Is this part of Old Cheney going to be closed. It may help with the renovation of the triangle. How did we end up with this?

Tom Casady said...


Here's the S. 14th and Warlick project website. Looks like a good concept to me. We'll see how it turns out in the end, and hope that the design-by-committee phenomenon doesn't impact things negatively.

Anonymous said...

I decided I'd do that Google Maps link thing whilst waiting for the brown truck to drop off my netbook (arrived, RAM upgrade done, and currently charging up the battery).

On a related note, upon bootup, the WLAN card found 4 nearby wireless networks near this residence, but only 3 of them were secured! I didn't try to connect to the unsecured one, of course, but whoever set that up needs clued-in, which I'd do - except that I have no idea exactly where that nearby network is. I'd need to connect to find out a name or something, so that won't happen.

No matter how frequently people hear "security", a few folks just don't pay attention. The ID theft and fraud potential enabled by an unsecured network is truly massive. I mean, crooks actually drive around looking for open wireless nets, and not just for the free bandwidth.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on the Jetsons. And dag nabit, I want my flying machine that wisks me off to work while I can eject my kids and wife out a port hole to school and shop.

Anonymous said...

The first time I drove the giant Cape Cod rotary (which is what they call that roundabout on Cape Cod) I was a little nervous, but I soon learned it's a pretty cool system. You do have to be aware of what your are doing, as you should be when you are DRIVING.

They put in a similar rotary in Clearwater, Fla., to reach the beach, and it's been kind of a nightmare, in part because they put a huge fountain in the middle, and the spray tends to hit your windshield and obscure the view, and because a lot of drivers are unfamiliar with the system.

I love the rotaries on Sheridan, particularly on 40th where I think it does help move traffic more efficiently.

Topeka is putting a lot of these in on very busy streets and they have solved a lot problems, including excessive speed. And I was just noticing the other day how much better the 9th/10/VD intersection is.

And yes, if we could PLEASE fix the situation on Warlick, that would be wonderful. I drive it at 5:30 a.m. to the Y and it's terrifying even when there isn't much traffic.

Anonymous said...

It is frustrating when 'turns' are not taken in the roundabouts on minimum, it would be nice if people used their signals so you know you COULD go into the lane. But overall, I like them better than I thought I would.