January 10, 2013
WILMINGTON, Del. – It seems that Clark Griswold’s driving skill was highlighted to showcase of traffic circles’ already tarnished reputation. This was one important scene in the film entitled the National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
In this particular scene, Griswold with his spent a day trapped in the inner lane of London circle. Every time he passed by Big Ben and the Parliament he would shout to his kids to pay attention to the historical landmarks.
DOT-Delaware tried to include this scene in a newly prepared video praising the advantage of roundabouts.
DOT traffic-safety program manager, Adam Weiser, said that they wanted to tell the viewers what a roundabout is not.
He complained that cost of the copyright and the production exceeded their budget. According to their assessment, they already shelled out $65,800 from the federal transportation funds to create the video and a related brochure.
Secretary of Transportation, Shailen Bhatt was more optimistic when he was smiling at the camera and said that the present day roundabouts operate was much different than the old traffic circles.
Bhatt was not feeling like the glamorous Chevy Chase, who played the role of Clark Griswold in the movie produced in 1985, but officials are confident that the eight-minute video will be helpful in diffusing public’s opposition to roundabouts; although it is supposed to be a cheaper, safer and environmentally friendlier alternative to traditional intersections.
Weiser said that they have lots of transplants in Delaware from New Jersey. He said that every time talks about roundabouts are discussed; people would say that they do not want a replica of Jersey circle.
The bottlenecked circles of New Jersey often used signals and allowed. Vehicles in the circle are required to give in to entering traffic.
Studies about roundabouts showed it has positive results; for instance, it reduces crashes by 30% to 50% and the more serious crashes by 70% to 80%. They can minimize delays during off-peak hours.
A report made by the NPR on roundabouts was based on a study made by a firm for engineering, planning and transportation. In 2011, there were already more than 2,000 roundabouts in the United States. Their existence still needs to win community support for the projects to be successful.
Senior project engineer Troy Pankratz of Madison’s Ourston Roundabout Engineering, stated that educating the community about roundabout must go hand-in-hand in building the structure. The whole concept of the operation is yielding but it seems that this is a different type of yielding so that people need to make adjustments.
DOT Del reported that seven years ago, the so-called modern roundabouts was already installed. Today, there are least 15 statewide now; that includes housing developments. There are now nine are in the works.
As a traffic remedy, roundabouts aren’t perfect in every situation as it is difficult to merge in the time traffic volume is heavy on the main thoroughfare.
After she watched the state’s video on roundabout at a workshop, Elizabeth Tanis changed her mind about the benefits of roundabouts. The important message was that a roundabout is intended to cut the number of crashes by 71% at the corner of Moose Lodge/Dundee and Willow Grove Roads as compared to only a 43% reduction using a signal.
Between 2007 and 2011, Police reported that there were 46 crashes at the same intersection.
Tanis of Moose Lodge Road said that after listening to pros and cons of roundabout, he understood that it was probably the best way to go.
Source: USA Today Com