Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Even Single Round-About Causes Drivers Problems

A lot has been made about the difficulties of navigating the triple-round-about in Green Oak Township.

I got news for you. The single round-about, located at Main and Third Street in Brighton, has its dangers, too. The main problem is drivers on Main Street ignore the round about. They act as if they have no need to yield and automatically have the right-of-way.

I've noticed this frequently, but a recent trip through the traffic feature was worse than usual.

As I approached from Third Street, I looked to my left and saw that an approaching car on Main Street was not slowing down even though I was nearly into the roundabout. I stopped to avoid getting hit. Once into the round-about, I saw another car approaching the round-about on Main Street, coming from downtown. The driver never slowed down, never looked to the left to see if anyone was in the round-about, and never even turned her head when I honked. The car sped through the round-about and would have plowed in to me had I not stopped in the round-about itself.

That's not the way the system is supposed to work. Main Street drivers do not have the right-of-way automatically. They just think they do. And that's as dangerous as running a stop sign.


kevins said...

We find ourselves in rare agreement. I've seen numerous examples of the types you describe. This is a poorly conceived round-about.

I believe there are at least 2 reasons why it was a bad idea.

First, there just isn't enough space for an adequate round-about. Even traffic folks who like round-abouts have told me that. The distance between entry points is too litte...people entering the rounadbout can't tell if the car on their left is continuing or going to turn...many guess because, as you say, they think everyone's destination is Main Street.

Second, I think the situation is compounded because the values of the roads are so unequal. Main Street is by far the primary artery and, again as you say, many drivers treat it as though they have the right of way.

And they should. Third Street should have stop signs. Even with heavy Main Street traffic, it was relatively easy to make a right hand turn off of Main Street. Left hand turns were sometimes more difficult...but experienced drivers could and should find alternate routes...such as Washington to 7th Street to Main.

Although round-abouts can be good ideas, they aren't right for every situation. This is a place where they never should have been tried. But at the time the city had money to burn and, hey, a consultant and a salesman said it was a good idea...so they did it. It was a bad idea. Just because you can spend money, that doesn't mean you should.

Judy said...

There isn't enough room for a round about. Watch the trucks trying to maneuver through it. Even a regular car has to come almost to a complete stop to make a right turn off Main Street onto Third Street because it's so tight.

The round-about replaced a stop sign at Third Street, but traffic could really back up because Third Street to Brighton Road is a pretty popular detour around downtown.

As for the money, an alternative would have been a stop light. I'm not sure that would have been cheaper than the round-about. It might have backed up traffic onto the railroad tracks at times and that may be why they didn't go with that.

But the way people on Main Street blow through that round-about, it is not doing much to create a break in Main Street traffic so people living on Main can back out of their driveways. I don't live there, but know people who do.

Republican Michigander said...

I can't disagree with this one either. Navigating that area off and on for 15 years, that's a bad spot for a roundabout. I think the Howell proposals are even worse.

I ought to be a city planning consultant. The old saying of baffle them with you-know-what comes to mind.

I've taken kevins advice and took Washington to 7th street many times for that Left Turn if I was coming from North Street. Sometimes I cut through Pine Creek.