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Roundabouts work to increase safety

Roundabouts keep people safe, and the City has data that proves it.

Speed and angle of impact are critical factors that affect whether or not someone walks away from a vehicle crash. For pedestrians and bicyclists, speed plays an even greater role in safety.

This is why the City of Hilliard is investing in roundabouts to control traffic at intersections. Roundabouts force drivers to slow down and nearly eliminate severe head-on or angle crashes at traditional intersections.

Roundabouts are a practical solution to keep people moving safely. “While these circular intersections are not new to the Hilliard community, it is my job as deputy city engineer to continuously evaluate and make changes to increase their effectiveness,” said Letty Schamp, Transportation/Mobility Director.

Hilliard has seen a significant decrease in crashes at the two Main Street roundabouts since a series of improvements were made one year ago. The data speaks for itself.

Since September 2019, the Main Street and Cemetery Road roundabout monthly crash average went from seven a month down to three, and the Main Street and Scioto Darby Road roundabout monthly crash average went from three a month down to one.

Physical changes made to the roundabouts in 2019 included:

  • Construction of raised crosswalks at Main Street and Cemetery Road, which dropped vehicle speeds at the crosswalks by over 10 percent.  Today, average speeds at these crosswalks are at or below 20 mph.  This translates to a safer environment for pedestrians.
  • Changes to signs and markings at Main Street and Cemetery Road, which dropped crash frequency by 57 percent.
  • Geometric changes at Main Street and Scioto Darby Road, which dropped crash frequency at the northbound entry by 84 percent.

“The Main Street roundabouts carry over 30,000 vehicles per day, so complete elimination of fender bender crashes may not be realistic,” said Schamp.  “But these statistics show that our 2019 modifications have been effective. The trade-off between minor crashes at roundabouts and serious injury crashes at traditional intersections is an easy one for me.”

Navigating multi-lane roundabouts requires that everyone know the roundabout rules: slow down, follow the signs to choose the correct lane, yield to both lanes in the roundabout, and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Statistics show that roundabouts with fewer lanes are simpler for drivers and pedestrians to navigate, which is why the City is continuing to plan and build more single-lane roundabouts in the coming years. The next one is coming in 2021 to the intersection at Scioto Darby Road and Walcutt Road. Another is planned at the intersection of Cosgray Road and Woodsview Way in 2022.  The City is also making some minor changes to signs and lane markings at three Britton Parkway roundabouts this year to simplify operations.

With the combination of decreased speeds, less dangerous angles of impact, and community awareness of the roundabout rules, roundabouts work to keep Hilliard drivers and pedestrians safe.

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