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Old 12-21-2007, 09:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Another idea for government: mini-roundabouts instead of stop signs

I really detest stop signs where there's a clear view in all directions and not another vehicle or person in sight. It's incredibly wasteful.

One of the things I liked about Vancouver, B.C. is the general lack of stop signs in residential areas. Instead, you find a lot of small, round islands in the centre of otherwise standard sized intersections (often filled with planters, and signs declaring them community gardens).



source: Iowa DOT - Roundabout Design Guidance

Of course, I can also attest that watching some people trying to negotiate these can be as entertaining as watching people trying to dock boats in harbour on a windy day.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has seen Roundabout Retardedness



source: Roblag blog

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Old 12-21-2007, 09:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They have these all over Australia. They are great, especially in a small car (you don't even have to stop if you are careful).
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You mean you don't even have to slow down much if you're careful! That was my experience anyway.

I've asked a traffic engineer why they're not used where I live, and the reason they gave: 1) stop signs are cheaper; 2) snow clearing issues. (Vancouver doesn't see much snow, but my city does.)
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
You mean you don't even have to slow down much if you're careful! That was my experience anyway.
It depends on how wide your car is, and if you are going straight or not. If you aren't going straight, you will have to slow down, otherwise, not in my car.

But silly me, braking != slowing down. You can slow down without using brakes.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I actually like the things because they let me play boy-racer around the island (going straight through) while also being efficient.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I actually like the things because they let me play boy-racer around the island (going straight through) while also being efficient.
That's the funny thing about hypermiling - most people's preconceptions about efficient driving are that it involves accelerating very slowly, and that any other method won't work.

In fact, slow acceleration is a very first order approach to FE driving, and really only applies in a bumper-to-bumper driving where a more efficient acceleration might mean you have no choice but to brake.

I remember having some older relatives in the car (which had a trip meter), and they were surprised that I had achieved the best FE they had yet seen while driving (well, in their minds) aggressively. They also didn't know the road, so you can take corners faster when you know what lies ahead.

But still, I was driving faster than they would have, but hardly ever using the brake. And that was the difference. To most people, going boy racer through roundabouts is "driving too fast", and hence "wasting fuel". There is still a huge gap with most people in that driving in a fuel efficient way is not intuitive and they don't have the appropriate education.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have no problem believing that.

Years ago I read a "normal" vs. "fuel efficient" driving comparison in a magazine article. In the end, the difference wasn't as large as they expected, and one of the conclusions they reached was based on the "normal" driver's background: he was an amateur road course racer.

He was carrying far more speed into and through curves on the test route (as well as steering a straigher path) than an actual normal driver would, and saving fuel as a result. In real life, a normal driver would have braked more before, and accelerated more after the curve than this guy did.

Of course that just gives people who are pre-disposed to knee-jerk reactions another reason to declare hypermilers as dangerous and/or nutty.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If it were me and I was faced with the second picture, I would have just gone and ran over the island to get that "off-road" feeling
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Old 12-24-2007, 12:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Roundabouts are a great thing, in my opinion. I used to be scared of them because of the part of the US that I'm from, but after being in a few, I can say they tend to work quite well and get me where I'm going with less hassle...

Naked streets are in our future!

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