Our View: Save gas and time at roundabout

Sep. 04, 2013 @ 02:07 AM

It’s a bit of a mess there now, but we’re hoping for a smoother flow of traffic at the Lindsay/Parkway/Elm/Hillcrest intersection soon.
That intersection closed last week to enable construction of a roundabout to replace that awkward confluence of city streets and the traffic signals that have regulated it for years. Officials project the roundabout construction will be completed by the middle of next week.
The roundabout is part of an overall $5.1 million improvements project on Lindsay Street. It also includes widening parts of the street, water and sewer line work and placing overhead utility lines underground.
This roundabout may not resemble some you have seen elsewhere in the area or around the state. Plans for this one were revised a few months ago with the advice of urban architect Andres Duany, when he was in High Point for an urban redevelopment planning project.
Changes recommended by Duany resulted in an additional cost estimated at $85,000. However, the changes are said to make the area more pedestrian friendly and compatible with the overall redesign and redevelopment goals of what Duany will be proposing for Uptowne High Point in a report expected later this month.
Instead of the perfect, 360-degree circle roundabout you may have seen elsewhere, this one will be about 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. Sidewalks also will be connected to it. Vehicular traffic will move slowly around the roundabout, but at least it will keep moving.
The conglomeration of traffic lights at the old intersection, many people say, created one of the more frustrating intersections in High Point. Oftentimes, motorists could find themselves waiting there for a red light as few, or no, vehicles moved through the intersection on a green light. And right turns on red were prohibited. Time and money was wasted sitting there.
City traffic officials must make sure traffic bottlenecks don’t occur at Main Street and Parkway, but installation of this roundabout should serve a worthy purpose. And likely, there are other intersections in the city that frustrate motorists and could be helped by a roundabout. ... If you know of any, let us know. Email letterbox@hpe.com with your candidate.