One Baldwin Park intersection became a little safer this week after the City unveiled a temporary ‘roundabout’. The “Reimagine Maine / Olive” demonstration project is designed to provide local residents the opportunity to experience the new design and provide feedback to City staff.
Still novel in the San Gabriel Valley, roundabouts are becoming increasingly popular across California. The Cities of Azusa, Los Angeles, Carlsbad, Santa Barbara, and La Jolla, to name a few, have all implemented roundabout projects in recent years. And the City of Pasadena is in the process of installing roundabouts as part of comprehensive Complete Streets projects on Avenue 64 and Hill Avenue.
Why all the attention? Roundabouts are a ‘Proven Safety Countermeasure’ according to the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), inherently calming traffic and reducing potential points of conflict between road users. There is no speeding up to “make the light” in a roundabout, a dangerous habit that can result in serious and fatal broadside collisions. And when there are collisions, they also tend to be much less severe as vehicles are moving at a slower average pace, providing drivers more time to react and avoid them in the first place. The FHWA estimates that this circular design approach reduces severe and injury crashes by 78% compared to a signalized intersection, and 82% versus a two-way, stop-controlled intersection.
Roundabouts are also cost effective. They do not require electric power. They operate in power outages. And they avoid idling or the need to come to a full stop, saving fuel costs for individual drivers, decreasing air and noise pollution associated with waiting at traffic lights, and saving time for everyone on the road.
Recognizing the many benefits of the modern roundabout, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) endorsed the design a decade ago as part of its Livable Communities initiative.
So how does a driver inexperienced with roundabouts navigate one? It’s as simple as 1-2-3.
- Slow down and give anyone already in the roundabout the right-of-way.
- Yield to any pedestrians crossing the street.
- Signal when exiting so other drivers know you are exiting the roundabout.
Members of the public can provide feedback on the project by completing this survey.
Active San Gabriel Valley (ActiveSGV) is a community-based organization committed to realizing a more sustainable, equitable San Gabriel Valley, and the lead organizer of 626 Golden Streets. ActiveSGV offers a wide array of FREE year-round programming, including the SGV Bicycle Education Center (bike skills park, bike safety/repair classes) and physical activity programming (e.g., yoga classes, community rides). For more information please visit: activeSGV.org.
The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) is a regional government planning agency that aims to maximize the quality of life in the San Gabriel Valley. A joint powers authority consisting of 31 incorporated cities and unincorporated communities, the SGVCOG is the largest and most diverse sub-regional council of governments in Los Angeles County, encompassing more than 374 square miles and serving more than 2 million residents. For more information please visit: sgvcog.org