Readers Write: Not all bad
July 22, 2008
In response to the letter of July 8 (“Nix those roundabouts” Sierra Sun), I realize there is a lot of misunderstanding of this very effective traffic-calming device used throughout the world and increasingly so in this country. If the writer’s sole experience is with the “traffic” roundabouts in Truckee, which are located where they service vehicular traffic, no wonder she is concerned about pedestrian safety. The “pedestrian-friendly” roundabouts proposed in the three-lane alternative in Kings Beach are smaller and include one lane -wide islands that occupy the end of the middle turn lanes as they approach the roundabout. They are curved on the tips to steer traffic to the right and into the curve . They allow you a safe harbor after crossing only one lane while you can wait to proceed. You don’t actually step onto the roundabout, and cross walks can certainly still be employed between both sides of the street.
Having observed the Coon Street crosswalk from my former store on any day crossing one lane at a time with a roundabout, than scurrying across four lanes in a crosswalk as the hand turns red halfway across the roadway. Every one of literally hundreds of studies shows a dramatic decrease in pedestrians being hit by traffic where roundabouts are involved. Some auto insurance companies are even offering lower rates if you live in an area where they are employed. Half the folks crossing Highway 28 will probably continue to jaywalk no matter what we end up with. At least the three-lane alternative provides a center turn lane to seek temporary refuge in.
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