Ways to Improve Your Traffic Circle
I have visited this area for several years and have been perplexed by traffic jams at the Pinehurst Traffic Circle, especially since studies indicate circles should relieve congestion.
Recently, four double-lane traffic circles in a 1.5-mile stretch were opened where we live.
Years of long commuting delays were eliminated along with three intersections of traffic lights.
So what's the problem with the Pinehurst circle? Its large circumference allows cars to accelerate to a high enough speed that drivers waiting to enter the circle are reluctant to slip into gaps of traffic. In fact, there is no clearly posted speed limit on the circle. There are different posted limits from different directions.
The circles at home are about one-quarter the circumference. The posted speed limit is 15 mph; the slower speed allows drivers to enter the circle safely in the shorter gaps in traffic.
Many drivers do not know the significance of a yield sign. When there is almost no traffic on the circle, I have watched cars stop at the entrance to the circle as if a stop sign were present.
When there is a long enough gap in traffic, often each car will stop before entering the circle, rather than directly following the lead car, like merging onto a highway from an entry ramp where there is a yield sign.
A reasonable solution to delays on the Pinehurst circle would be to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph, post it prominently and enforce it.
The line of sight is far enough that at the lower speed limit, there will be ample time to slip into traffic gaps.
At home, locals received a pamphlet from NYS DOT explaining the operation of the circle, especially since there were double-lane circles. A similar program for Pinehurst might prove helpful.
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