A roundabout is an intersection where all traffic circulates counter-clockwise, to the right of a central island. Entering vehicles must yield to all traffic already in the roundabout. This traffic model has been shown to reduce injury collisions and unnecessary stops, keep traffic moving, reduce unnecessary idling and air pollution and improve intersection appearance.
No. Other than sharing a circular shape, a modern roundabout operates much differently than other traffic circles, including rotaries. A modern roundabout requires entering traffic to yield to traffic already in the roundabout. This keeps the traffic in the roundabout constantly moving and prevents much of the gridlock that plagues rotaries. Modern roundabouts are also much smaller than rotaries and thus operate at safer, slower speeds. The design of a modern roundabout allows capacities comparable to signals but with generally a higher degree of safety.
As drivers approach a roundabout, they should slow down and yield to any pedestrians waiting to cross at the marked crossings. Once clear, drivers should proceed, again yielding, this time to circulating traffic in the roundabout. When a gap is available on the left, drivers enter the roundabout by turning right and then follow the circle until they reach their exit.
There are no signalized crossings, like in traditional intersections. Instead, there are much shorter zebra crossings on all approaches to the roundabouts, about a car length from the yield line. That means motorists must yield to pedestrians, before yielding to circulating traffic. Pedestrians will cross only one direction of traffic at a time and have curb-protected refuge islands in between crossings. As with all crosswalks, pedestrians should be alert and cautious when crossing and make eye contact with the driver before stepping into the road.
Essentially, roundabouts give cyclists two options:
The roundabouts on North Park Street will include bright yellow tactile warning strips on each curb ramp to assist the visually impaired. Pedestrians also have the option to cross at the zebra crossing at nearby Cornwallis Street, which has overhead push-button activated crosswalk lights. That crossing has been shortened from 24 metres to a six-metre and seven-metre crossing, with a 3.7-metre pedestrian refuge in between. As well, the visually impaired could use the greenway trail on the Halifax Common or the existing sidewalk on the east side of North Park Street.
Modern roundabouts are generally safer than other types of intersections because of the following characteristics:
Roundabouts are designed specifically to direct traffic around the circle at a much slower speed, which provides more time for all users to detect and correct their mistakes. And if a collision does occur, it is often less severe due to the lower speeds. As well, motorists are required to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks throughout the roundabout, and would then have to yield to circulating traffic in the roundabout before safely merging into the desired lane.
Number of Conflict Points - 56
Number of Conflict Points - 16
The Halifax Regional Municipality has a “Reduced Idling Campaign” that demonstrates municipal government’s commitment to healthy, sustainable, vibrant communities with clean air, land, water and energy options. Roundabouts will help with this. The longer delays and the start and stop approach to signalized intersections generally have a more demanding impact on the environment.
Roundabouts keep traffic moving at more consistent, lower speeds, which reduces idling, emissions and fuel consumption, and often helps to reduce noise levels.
The landscaping is placed so drivers can’t see across the roundabout. This is so drivers cannot see the headlights of oncoming vehicles at night. This gives drivers a clear indication that there is an obstruction in the roadway and that they cannot drive straight ahead. As a driver, you should be looking to the left, not across the roundabout, to see what traffic is approaching. There is enough sight distance to see approaching traffic.
The old intersection of Agricola, Cunard and North Park street could not accommodate WB-20 or larger trucks turning right from Agricola onto Cunard. That will also be the case with the new roundabout. Instead, trucks entering from Agricola should continue around the circle, going a full 360 degrees, and then exit at the Cunard Street West leg of the roundabout. This will be illustrated through posted signage, as shown below:
At this stage, access to Rainnie Drive will be provided directly off of Cogswell Street. It is expected to be a one-way street between North Park Street and Gottingen Street with parallel parking on the north side. The existing sidewalks will remain on both the south and north side and a width of asphalt will be dedicated to an active transportation trail. Details of the access at Gottingen Street are still being worked out. Overall, this plan provides opportunities for future redesign, while improving current use of the space with relatively minimal reinstatement costs.
Changes to Rainnie Drive will ensure the roundabout at the Cogswell intersection will operate safer and more smoothly. Closing off access to Rainnie Drive will simplify the intersection from a five-leg roundabout to a four-leg roundabout. This will also make negotiating the roundabout easier for pedestrians because there will be fewer crossings and it will also improve overall safety because of the reduced number of driver decision points and intersection complexity. Such changes also provide an opportunity to increase active transportation systems and green space, while still providing parking in the area.
Reconfiguration of the affected section of Rainnie Drive is expected to have the most critical impacts at the North Park/Cogswell and Gottingen/Cogswell intersections. Cogswell Street, which runs roughly parallel to Rainnie Drive, would be required to accommodate the majority of traffic redistributed from Rainnie. Given the assumed increase in traffic volumes, additional capacity will be required at the intersection of Gottingen and Cogswell.
Interim intersection upgrades have been reviewed and the recommendation is to modify the Gottingen northbound approach from a shared left-through with exclusive right turn lane, to an exclusive left with a shared through-right turn lane. An eastbound right turn channel on Cogswell will also be implemented. Signal timings will be adjusted accordingly. These upgrades will enable the intersection to accommodate volumes in the short-term (5-10 years) with relatively minimal associated costs. In the longer term, it is expected that additional lane capacity will be required to accommodate additional traffic growth. Diverted traffic will also be anticipated to impact Cornwallis and Cunard streets, but to a much lesser degree than that of Cogswell Street.
With the extension of the Citadel Hill driveway, the fenced exercise area will be reduced in size. This area was not originally located on the Halifax Common or municipal parkland because a fenced off area exclusively for service dogs would be an alienating use of the Halifax Common and contrary to current land-use policies for parks. Municipal employees have been working with the Accessibility Advisory Committee on this issue, and have developed a staff report to help identify another suitable location for the park.
The first roundabout at North Park, Agricola and Cunard streets will be operational in November 2014. Construction on the second roundabout at North Park, Ahern, Trollope, Cogswell and Rainnie will begin in the spring of 2015.
No. Each intersection must be evaluated individually to determine whether a roundabout, stop signs or a traffic signal is more effective. The volume and speed of traffic, the number of pedestrians using the intersection, and additional factors must be considered.
The size of a roundabout is determined by capacity needs, the size of the largest vehicle, the need to achieve appropriate speeds throughout the roundabout, and other factors.
Roundabout Ahead Sign. Time to slow down.
|Identify the road destination you want and note the position of the exit leg. Similar to approaching a traffic signal, if you are turning right, enter the right lane; if you are turning left, enter the left lane.|
Keep to the Right
|Lane designation signs represent actual lane configuration. There are various lane combinations possible depending on the design of the roundabout. In this example, the left lane permits left-turn movements only. The right-lane permits both straight-through and right -turn movements. The circular symbol on the left lane designation sign represents the central island of the roundabout and therefore this lane is the inside (left-most) lane.|
Yield to all traffic in the roundabout including pedestrians at the crosswalk. Remember that “yield” means you may have to stop. Traffic in the roundabout always has the right of way.
This sign is located on the center island reminding the driver to travel the roundabout in a one way counter clockwise direction
|Flag exit signs are situated on splitter islands and identify each leg of the roundabout. These signs are intended to reassure that you have chosen the appropriate exit leg.|