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Old 03-18-2010, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default Roundabout planned for Dysfunction Junction

From the Laconia Daily Sun
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DOT touts roundabout for The Weirs
LACONIA — City officials will meet with representatives of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) tomorrow to review plans for replacing “dysfunction junction,” the intersection of Weirs Boulevard (Route 11B) and Route 3 at The Weirs, with a roundabout. Michael Dugas of the DOT said yesterday that the department will present planes for a roundabout, similar in design and size to that at the junction of Route 3 and Parade Road (Route 106) in Meredith, to replace the existing intersection. Last August, DOT presented a roundabout, together with two plans incorporating traffic signals, at a public meeting at the Weirs Community Center. Dugas said that construction could begin in the spring of 2012 and be completed in one full construction season while acknowledging that working around Motorcycle Week and the tourist season will pose a challenge. “The roundabout is the preferred solution,” Dugas said, explaining that traffic signals would cause congestion, particularly as southbound motorists on Route 3 queued across the bridge and beyond waiting to turn on to Weirs Boulevard. He said in addition to easing and simplifying the flow of vehicular traffic, the roundabout would include features to ensure safe passage for bicyclists and safe crossing for pedestrians. Tom Pucci, chair of the Weirs Action Committee and owner of the Grandview Inn, said that the organization, which represents the business community, was virtually unanimous in its support for a roundabout. “We believe a roundabout will ensure a steady flow of traffic without causing back ups and tie ups,” he said.


According to the records of the DOT, 59 accidents occurred at the intersection between 2002 and 2006, many of them involving visitors to the city unfamiliar with how to negotiate the junction and most caused by motorists failing to yield to oncoming traffic. Dugas said that roundabouts are safer than conventional intersections since all traffic travels in the same direction rather than in opposing directions and left-hand turns against oncoming traffic are eliminated. Moreover, the radius of roundabouts is a function of the “design speed,” with the lower the desired speed the tighter the turning radius. For instance, the roundabout in Meredith is designed to slow traffic to 20 miles per hour. Dugas said that the roundabout at The Weirs would be designed to accommodate the turning radius of large vehicles like semi-trucks and buses as well as the Fire Department’s new aerial ladder engine. Dugas said that while the bulk of the project can be constructed within the existing state right-of-way it will be necessary to acquire a small slice of the vacant lot at the southeast corner of the intersection. He said that a public meeting would be scheduled in April and a formal public hearing on the acquisition of the property in August and September with an eye to purchasing the property and bidding the job in 2011

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Old 03-18-2010, 09:21 PM   #2
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Default Roundabout

I'm surprised about the proposed roundabout. I've been coming up to the Lake for 13 summers, and I never thought that intersection was particularly dangerous. Lots of traffic sometimes, but not dangerous. I recall the rotaries down at the Cape, near the Bourne Bridge, which were actually pretty dangerous, what with people trying to change lanes very quickly to make their exit. Sometimes it was like bumper cars at an amusement park. I would go with better signs and maybe a streetlight.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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Roundabouts are the latest aging yuppie craze, to avoid new roadways, and to pretend they are saving our planet and everyone's lives. Generally speaking, roundabouts cannot handle smoothly the traffix=c at a busy intersection that traffic lights or signs can. Yes, you'll have to stop your Prius for awhile, but at least fifteen others aren't stymied by the continual guessing game of when and where to go.

Watching traffic here at our new RB's is quite entertaining. Traffic can be backed up for longer now as people wait to see what a Yield is
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:24 PM   #4
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I think it will be pretty cool with less paint and insurance card swapping!


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Old 03-19-2010, 05:31 AM   #5
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Default Couldn't agree more....

Quote:
Originally Posted by VtSteve View Post
Roundabouts are the latest aging yuppie craze, to avoid new roadways, and to pretend they are saving our planet and everyone's lives. Generally speaking, roundabouts cannot handle smoothly the traffix=c at a busy intersection that traffic lights or signs can. Yes, you'll have to stop your Prius for awhile, but at least fifteen others aren't stymied by the continual guessing game of when and where to go.

Watching traffic here at our new RB's is quite entertaining. Traffic can be backed up for longer now as people wait to see what a Yield is
Roundabouts are the new wave of attempting "traffic calming" and in the overwhelming majority of cases, they don't work. Motor vehicle crash numbers will drop but the wait time and queuing of vehicles at any given roundabout goes up significantly. A point of interest....they are a bear to perform snow removal on. Is there snow in NH???
If it looks like a rotary, acts like a rotary, and smells like a rotary....it's a ROTARY.

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Old 03-19-2010, 06:52 AM   #6
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I think they work great when drivers are attentive to the road and the traffic flow, like they should be.

Considering this one will be in an area heavily traveled by tourists, I think the placement of this roundabout in The Weirs is a poor choice. Perhaps with some traffic studies and public hearings on the matter, NH DOT will change their mind.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:05 AM   #7
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I wonder, the round about will take up more space than lights or what is there now, where are they going to find the room? take some space by eminent domain? I think that the junction is fine, and stupid people do stupid things. I honestly think that a blinking red light for corssing frrom route 11 to the wiers and the exact other way, and a blinking yellow for continuation both ways on Rt 3. will help those stupid people figure out what is going on.

Not to mention on busy weekends and weeks they could make them cycle like regular traffic lights

My solution: A lot cheaper, easier on the Eyes, faster solution. little or no disruption, no more cop details,

Oh wait this solution makes sense! No wonder they did not think of it
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:01 AM   #8
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DOT wanted a roundabout at the Weirs
to help people go here and there

They said it would calm as they drove around
Not counting that people donít care

The tourists soon came and Oh what a pain
What! Which Way! Oh my Dear!

Was there really disfunction at this Weirís junction
or were changes just another gosh darn way to waste money to fix a problem that werenít really there
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:09 AM   #9
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What happens with the Smokehouse? Ripped down?

Does the classic sign go away???????
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:07 AM   #10
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In Alton a roundabout was proposed and it was voted down at a DOT hearing as a COMPLETE WASTE of MONEY.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:58 PM   #11
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Both of the new roundabouts in Meredith and Plymouth, which are similar sized, are both very functional and very attractive. A Weirs Beach roundabout would be good move plus it will only need just a small slice of land from the former Karl's parking lot....actually very little....and none from any other business.

That disfunction junction that's there now is an accident waiting to happen!

Maybe McDonald's will open a new restaurant on the former Karl's land....one can always dream...
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:00 PM   #12
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Default Round about and a big mac

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Could not agree with you more.

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Old 03-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #13
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I have often thought as I drove through this intersection that it is one of the better candidates for a roundabout. The existing intersection just doesn’t work. A lot of people are confused by the layout because it’s non-intuitive. The “through” movement is the northbound left and eastbound right, which is counter to pretty much every other intersection I’ve ever seen in my entire life. As a result, you get people going north on Route 3 that stop when they shouldn’t and almost get rear ended, you get people that don’t understand and try to go straight without stopping and almost cause a head on (and occasionally do just that). I have observed more near misses at that intersection than any other single intersection I can think of.

You can say that people don’t always get a traffic circle, but nobody that hasn’t been here several times before understands the existing intersection. At least a roundabout is a standard layout everywhere you go.

A traffic signal here poses several challenges. You would probably want two lanes on Route 3 south so you can have a “left” turn lane to 11B, but there is no room for that lane on the bridge. As a result, it would be pretty common for that red light to back up past Lakeside Ave. Plus, a light is a helluva lot uglier than a nicely landscaped roundabout.

I seem to recall a lot of people getting their feathers all ruffled about the Parade Road roundabout during the design & construction, but then grudgingly admitting that they liked it afterwards. I’ve always seen it working just fine on peak summer weekends, why would this be different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john60ri View Post
I recall the rotaries down at the Cape, near the Bourne Bridge, which were actually pretty dangerous, what with people trying to change lanes very quickly to make their exit. Sometimes it was like bumper cars at an amusement park. I would go with better signs and maybe a streetlight.
I wouldn't compare a modern roundabout to an old-style Massachusetts Rotary. They are usually 1/3 the size or less. Smaller size means much lower speeds, which actually means that they operate more efficiently (drivers closer together), with less confusion (lower speeds give you more time to figure out what's going on), and safer (obviously).

Take a look at this old rotary being converted to a roundabout. On the outside, you've got the old, the new one is going in the middle.

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Old 03-29-2010, 07:44 PM   #14
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Why is it that these ridiculous things called "Round-abouts" or "Rotary's" are ONLY found in the Northeast?

Everyehere else in the Country utilizes 4-Way Stops (in this case it would only be a 3-way) .... which is a laugh to experiance cuz THAT screws up New Englanders to no end (who goes first, who has the legal right of way, lmao)!!
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom View Post
Why is it that these ridiculous things called "Round-abouts" or "Rotary's" are ONLY found in the Northeast?

Everyehere else in the Country utilizes 4-Way Stops (in this case it would only be a 3-way) .... which is a laugh to experiance cuz THAT screws up New Englanders to no end (who goes first, who has the legal right of way, lmao)!!
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Actually, modern roundabouts are still relatively new in New England, while they have been growing in popularity much more in the south and in the west. For example, Colorado has 140+ modern roundabouts, Florida has 70+. Compare that to 6 in NH, 3 in MA, and 9 in CT. Now that list is certainly not comprehensive, because there are two on my street here in CT that aren't listed, but it's a start.

http://roundabout.kittelson.com/Roundabouts/List/US

Note that I am referring only to roundabouts, not old style rotaries. Roundabouts like Parade Road in Meredith, the two in Keene, etc. NOT anything like what you see at some interchanges off of Route 1 and I-93 north of Boston, the old Bourne Rotary, etc.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom View Post
Why is it that these ridiculous things called "Round-abouts" or "Rotary's" are ONLY found in the Northeast?

Everyehere else in the Country utilizes 4-Way Stops (in this case it would only be a 3-way) .... which is a laugh to experiance cuz THAT screws up New Englanders to no end (who goes first, who has the legal right of way, lmao)!!
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I think a well placed stop light would work really well at this intersection....
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom View Post
Why is it that these ridiculous things called "Round-abouts" or "Rotary's" are ONLY found in the Northeast?
Round-abouts are a very safe way to control traffic at intersections. And it eliminates the need for a traffic light.

You see them all over Europe and especially in England.

By the way, there is no such thing as a dangerous intersection, only dangerous drivers.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:57 AM   #18
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Actually, the center of a roundabout is an excellent place to erect a Statue of the person who sent the money from Washington. NB
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:46 PM   #19
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Anyone know of the energy savings that a round about offers. I would certainly rather face a string of 10 round abouts than 10 traffic lights.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:47 AM   #20
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Default ...watering the roundabout!

Running a waterline for watering the roundabout with one of those spritzers that goes around in a circle would be good for keeping the roundabout green and growing.

As far as I can tell, neither the Plymouth or Meredith roundabouts, both built in 2008, included any water-garden hose outlets in their design. Water would be good for growing a decorative garden spot in the middle of the roundabout.

A LaDaSun article quoted a DOT person who said only a small slice of land off the front of the former Karl's parking lot would be needed, and no other businesses would be touched.

It would be a good improvement for the Weirs. Just go take a look at the Plymouth and Meredith roundabouts.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:33 PM   #21
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Default Roundabout

I hope they're not building this thing when we're up there in August. And by the way, has the boardwalk been fixed up yet?
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Round-abouts are a very safe way to control traffic at intersections. And it eliminates the need for a traffic light.

You see them all over Europe and especially in England.

By the way, there is no such thing as a dangerous intersection, only dangerous drivers.
Roundabouts can be effective, especially if there is a secondary road with low volume involved. You'll find in areas where traffic volume is high, roundabouts tend to be designed to slow traffic down first. This is done through additional curves, eliminating a lane from formerly two-lane roads, and even making the circle smaller. The latter is particularly confusing for drivers, and can revert to an effective stop sign if the volume is high, and the traffic circle is too small.

There are a few benefits, the primary being more steady traffic flow and less fuel used, and typically wasted time. The trouble now is they have become trendy, and are being used in areas of high two-way traffic volume that are not great candidates for roundabouts. The Weirs junction is going to be interesting. The majority of the time, the traffic volume from Laconia towards Meredith should be much higher. But roundabouts depend on alternation AND rules of entering. These are two things that people have trouble with in ski lift lines, let alone on the roadways.

Should be interesting.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:19 AM   #23
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The Epson circle seems to be working very well and it has high traffic. So does the Portsmouth rotary next to I-95. And so does the Alton circle.

Some people don't like them because they actually have to drive responsibly and yield to traffic.

I would rather see a round-about instead of waiting at traffic lights, most of which are usually not actuated by traffic flow.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:54 PM   #24
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I like round about / circles but am not a fan of the Alton implementation due to the inconsistent yielding rules. 20 percent of the drivers seem confused. Half of the merge yield inside and half outside???
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
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I like round about / circles but am not a fan of the Alton implementation due to the inconsistent yielding rules. 20 percent of the drivers seem confused. Half of the merge yield inside and half outside???
Alton is a very poor example. One of the more important aspects of traffic engineering is consistency, and that is completely illogical.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:34 PM   #26
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Keene has a roundabout that you could believe was designed by the Three Stooges: Curly, Moe & Larry. Unlike the Meredith and Plymouth roundabouts, the one in Keene has two lanes of traffic going around in a circle and it has had many fender-benders.

As home to Laconia Motorcycle Week and the famous Weirs Beach boardwalk, building a similar two lane roundabout could help make the Weirs famous plus wipe out a few marginal businesses at the same time!
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Old 04-13-2010, 04:55 PM   #27
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Talking roundabouts

roundabouts are very common in Europe, and many still exist in the US-take DC for example. Arc de Triumphe in Paris has as many as 5 lanes of traffic trying to merge. So bad, it eliminates all but the bravest drivers, but it gets the job done!
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:06 PM   #28
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Quote:
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I like round about / circles but am not a fan of the Alton implementation due to the inconsistent yielding rules. 20 percent of the drivers seem confused. Half of the merge yield inside and half outside???
The Alton circle will undergo some changes at the entry points making it a consistent "vehicle in the circle has the right-of-way" all the way around. The overall size of the circle will stay about the same.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:04 PM   #29
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Fatlazyless.
Could not agree with you more.

That felt weird.......
Rguy, where you feeling ok when you posted this????

every once in a while FLL does come across in away that is hard to dispute.
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