Lessons from Hurricane Irma: 1. Roundabouts

West Boca News has often advocated for roundabouts. Hurricane Irma showed us another advantage. When the power went out so did traffic lights, and our intersections became chaotic nightmares. Roundabouts are unaffected by power outages.
In general they’re safer and more efficient than regular intersections. Carmel Indiana converted over 100 intersections to roundabouts and saw “a 40% decrease in accidents, with an 80% decrease in injury-causing crashes and90% reduction in fatalities.” By comparison its non-roundabout neighbor Indianapolis saw: “a 30 percent increase in accidents with injury and a 16 percent increase in accidents resulting in a fatality ….”
I was discussing this with a friend who lives south of Glades off Lyons. FDOT is in the middle of a $1.8 million dollar project on Lyons. The main problem was the high volume of serious accidents at or near the intersection on Lyons with Escondido Way, the entrances to Escondido and Timbers of Boca. The so-called solution: straighten the curves and bank the roadway. Not only does this fail to address the intersection itself, but it will allow traffic on Lyons to go faster, making the intersection even more dangerous.
FDOT was more concerned with cars going off the road due to excessive speed on the curves, but their crash analysis did not break down severity by type of accident. Anyone who drives there knows that making a left turn onto Lyons there from either side is uncomfortable at best.
It is well known that roundabouts make intersections safer, but FDOT and our local politicians ignore that. Instead FDOT is increasing the speed of traffic entering an intersection known to be dangerous.
Below are a series of images showing what the intersection of Lyons and Escondido would look like with a Carmel roundabout superimposed on it. The images and map data are from Google Maps.




Many of our readers dismiss roundabouts with quick responses. Let’s be clear – Carmel Indiana saw a 90% reduction in traffic fatalities by converting many intersections to roundabouts. You can only oppose roundabouts if you want more people to die. Roundabouts save lives.

Author: Warren Redlich

Warren Redlich is a real estate agent and an attorney. He focuses on selling homes in West Boca Raton. Find out more at Yes Boca Real Estate.

One thought on “Lessons from Hurricane Irma: 1. Roundabouts”

  1. Maybe this is one of those “quick responses,” but do you expect senile old farts who shouldn’t be driving anymore, illegal foreigners who flee the scene of a crash, and of course people texting and driving, would understand a roundabouts in South Florida? For example, look no further than all the crashes which occur at Hollywood Boulevard’s roundabouts. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if people overshoot the smaller type roundabout you propose with their Hummers, or go straight through somebody’s backyard based on the angle.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like roundabouts, especially at four-way intersections with no lights because people understand less who has the right of way in those cases (see Cain Boulevard), as well as where special and unique circumstances apply, like the Federal Highway and Sunrise Boulevard junction in Fort Lauderdale. However, a divided highway like Lyons Road and between two major east-west ones (Palmetto Park and Glades Roads) would never work. With a fire station down the street, do you really think they would support it?

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