There was plenty of conversation about roundabouts in Grand Junction while I was there. The city was installing several around town. Most of the “conversation” was drivers cussing the orange cones and the congestion the construction projects were causing. The reason for their popularity is safety.
According to the US Department of Transportation, “roundabouts REDUCE the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections, per the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual.” It’s the left hand turn into oncoming traffic that is the cause of most intersection crashes and at-times resulting in serious injuries and deaths.
With a few days of arriving in town, I noticed that roundabouts are a “thing” in Mankato. You might say the city has “a lot” or perhaps the “most” in the US? It’s not even close. The distinction of the city with the most roundabouts goes to Carmel, Indiana. Since the late 90’s the city has been installing the circular traffic intersections. They now have over 125! That’s the most of any city in the US.
So Mankato drivers, start loving the roundabout. Insurance companies and local municipalities are pushing to install more. So the next time you’re trying to work your way through one remember, it’s a safer option than the traditional stop light or sign variety and keeps traffic moving. It’s true, roundabout are cool.