Posted by: Matt | June 5, 2008

It’s roundabout time.

While we wait for our departure time, I am still working at my job on the Northside of Indianapolis.  For those of you unfamiliar with Central Indiana geography (and no one would blame you), I sit on the border of Marion and Hamilton counties.  Marion County houses Indianapolis and, one of the more thriving suburbs in the US, Carmel, sits in Hamilton County.  On May 28th , Carmel shut down intersections to the main artery through the town (Keystone Ave.) to start an ambitious project to add “elevated roundabouts” at intersections and alleviate the need for stoplights at those intersections.


To promote the project the city has created this website: 


Carmel has made a big push for roundabouts in recent years at smaller intersections, but this is far and away the largest of the projects yet.


Most people who know me already know that I am really not a fan of urban sprawl and rarely ever travel up to Carmel, but I must say, I think the city has it right in this case.  A number of studies have been done that show roundabouts are environmentally friendly and pocketbook friendly as they allow traffic to keep moving and people don’t spend time idling at long stoplights.


After doing some research it looks like the use of roundabouts is on the rise throughout the US, and Indiana actually has some great examples, like this one in Bloomington, IN:  


 Go Hoosiers!




One of the main downsides to roundabouts is that it has been shown they are much more dangerous for cyclists.  Hopefully Carmel has figured out some way around this since an even more environmentally friendly way to commute is on a two-wheeled pedal pusher.


From what I can see, it looks like New Zealand is at about the same place at the US in incorporating roundabouts into their infrastructure, however, Australia has long utilized roundabouts and they are ingrained into the system.  Of course, in both cases we’ll be driving on the left side of the road!  Should be fun…….. 

Only 36 days until we depart. 

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