THUNDER BAY – CIVIC – Traffic congestion, the expanding use of traffic lights and traffic light timing are regular Thunder Bay complaints. My campaign platform’s Traffic Light section, at paulsloan.nationbuilder.com, contains the building of roundabouts to replace some traffic lights. Why roundabouts?
They are fun. I ran into my first roundabout in Edmonton 19 years ago. At first I didn’t understand what had happened to the road. When I realized I was at one of those circle traffic things from National Lampoon’s European Vacation it took only a few seconds and one attempt to adjust to this new road obstruction. Coming through it the second time was a snap and a I thought Thunder Bay has to get some of these.
Roundabouts save money. The estimate in Germany is that a third to half of traffic lights can be replaced with roundabouts. In Cologne, Germany nearly 300 traffic lights have been replaced with roundabouts. Traffic is consistently unimpeded, safer and €4 million (approx $20,000 CAN per replaced traffic light; the period of time was not given) is expected to be saved on electricity, maintenance and infrastructure.
Roundabouts keep traffic safely moving at all times with sort of a slow rolling four-way stop, which many Thunder Bay drivers will be quite used to. Think of all the intersections where red lights bring a long line of traffic to a complete stop for a continuous length of time to allow a few cars access. Now think what happens when there is a slow rolling with slight breaks between cars that would allow intersecting traffic room to enter. The traffic keeps moving at a much faster average speed than with the use of traffic lights.
Roundabouts reduce major and life altering accidents at intersections. The combination of slower speed, circular direction of travel, and the greater attention drivers give traffic so they can avoid the impediment means that accidents are usually slow to medium speed fender benders and glancing blows rather than high speed t-boning or cutting-off by turning.
Here is the link to the MTO Driver’s Handbook about driving through roundabouts:
and particular situations at roundabouts:
Paul Sloan, Red River Ward Councillor candidate
President of the three NWO Northern Ontario Party riding associations
Thunder Bay ON