Vince Wheeler: Going in circles, sort of

Oct. 15, 2013 @ 07:59 PM

Around and around the roundabout we go.
The new, oval-shaped traffic circle officially opened Monday at the intersection of  Lindsay and Elm streets, Parkway Avenue and Hillcrest Drive, although the roundabout had been open to traffic since late last week.
So, of course, I had to go first thing Tuesday morning and take a few laps around the Andres Duany inspired, pedestrian-friendly designed loop. I didn’t see any pedestrians in the area as I cruised the circuit a couple times (maybe it was three) and then peeled off onto N. Elm and headed back to the Enterprise’s office.
But what I did see was a formerly nightmarish intersection that has been redesigned to improve traffic flow and for me — I expect many others, too — eliminate the frustration of sitting at the intersection’s traffic lights and waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the light to turn green, all the while seeing no vehicles go through the intersection from other directions.
Some might say I was being impatient during those episodes, but I just didn’t like sitting there wasting time and gas. Now, we’ll be able to move on through the intersection and get to the Krispy-Kreme drive-thru, or wherever else we’re going, much faster. Improvements at this intersection had been needed for a long time. City transportation officials should consider similar redesigns in other areas, too.
The new roundabout had been in the planning stage, but it was earlier this year that Duany, the noted urban architect, suggested design changes that are supposed to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. Duany’s redesign also is to make the roundabout more in tune with other plans he and the Uptowne High Point group have for redeveloping and revitalizing Uptowne, specifically the area around the High Point Neal F. Austin Public Library.
Of course, I still do have concerns that traffic might back up from the N. Main Street and Parkway Avenue intersection and potentially impact traffic on the roundabout. But let’s hope city transportation folks are cognizant of that also, and make sure traffic signals at Main and Parkway are set to keep traffic flowing. ...
Or maybe N. Main and Parkway is a candidate for a roundabout, too.

vwheeler@hpe.com | 888-3517