Is it just me, or do Mini Roundabouts NOT work??

Is it just me, or do Mini Roundabouts NOT work??

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Discussion

Taraniis

17 posts

132 months

Friday 24th December 2010
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Pints said:
Thanks. All reasonable explanations, but how can a council be allowed to introduce a MR which doesn't meet criteria? Or if these are only recommendations, what's the point?!
The MRs in our North Swindon estate simply can't be navigated correctly, given their size and the raised centre. Up to a given size I'd have expected the requirement to be a painted area otherwise they're quite frankly bordering on unsafe.
Quite simply the DfT do not have the capacity to ensure that every single roundabout meets the standards set out. To do that the department would have to employ a phenomenal amount of staff.

Also many of these schemes are bulldozed through by councillors - who have no expertise in these matters - against officer recommendations.

Taraniis

17 posts

132 months

Friday 24th December 2010
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-deleted repeat post-

Edited by Taraniis on Friday 24th December 09:32

masermartin

1,626 posts

149 months

Friday 24th December 2010
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Taraniis said:
Best practice dictates that the approaches to the island are diverted "off course" by roughly 27 - 33 degrees. This requires the driver to at least acknowledge the roundabout and navigate it properly.
Those ones are the best practice approach? Personally I've always considered them the worst. From one direction it is always impossible to navigate round the roundabout itself without putting wheels on the white paint and I have actually been pulled over for that in the past. From this direction (where the centre of the roundabout has been moved over to the nearside of the straight line road), if you make as if to go "around" the roundabout, traffic from the left will pull out on you, assuming that you are turning left without indicating.

This may be a sad reflection on driving standards more than bad mini-roundabout design, but it is surely a practical consideration that needs to be made.

I think the idea behind the mini roundabout is sound, but the capability of the population en-masse when they get behind the wheel to deal with it is just not there. What is it they say, a person is smart, but people are stupid? biggrin

Anyway it's really nice to see the point of view of people who design these road layouts - we have many challenges trying to fit so many vehicles through such small towns and it must be a nightmare trying to work out the optimal way to do it smile

-- Well actually, I got pulled as I was going slightly over the limit, but the main bking I got when talking to the BiB's at the side of the road was for putting two wheels on the painted roundabout

masermartin

1,626 posts

149 months

Friday 24th December 2010
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Taraniis said:
Also many of these schemes are bulldozed through by councillors - who have no expertise in these matters - against officer recommendations.
That figures! biglaugh

Elect them and suddenly they become the experts ...

Taraniis

17 posts

132 months

Friday 24th December 2010
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You make valid points but if you find it hard to negotiate the roundabout in a car, it shows that the junction wasn't designed properly or there wasn't enough space in the first place to accommodate it so a compromise had to be made by the designers. If there is enough space for a diversion angle and a decent sized dome in the middle the mini-roundabout works well.

Touching the centre isn't a major problem and the police should have affected some discretion. The reason why it is a raised section of road, rather than a full blown obstruction, is to allow large vehicles to run over the top of it. This goes back to the lack of space. It is difficult keeping traffic moving, especially when current guidance doesn't consider the fact that there are more cars about.

So we have narrow roads and not much in the way of traffic management. Most bad junction designs are the result of politicians though. The "members highway fund" scheme is probably the worst idea that could have happened in our area - purely from an engineer's perspective anyway.

masermartin

1,626 posts

149 months

Friday 24th December 2010
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Taraniis said:
The reason why it is a raised section of road, rather than a full blown obstruction, is to allow large vehicles to run over the top of it. This goes back to the lack of space. It is difficult keeping traffic moving, especially when current guidance doesn't consider the fact that there are more cars about.
Yup - if there were more space, it would probably be a larger roundabout anyway. The best of a bad job!

Taraniis said:
So we have narrow roads and not much in the way of traffic management. Most bad junction designs are the result of politicians though. The "members highway fund" scheme is probably the worst idea that could have happened in our area - purely from an engineer's perspective anyway.
Ah, but I bet the pollies love it as a quick-fix "look, I'm listening to your issues" vehicle come election time.

Just out of interest, what is your take on the whole "magic roundabout" thing? In these cases, it's almost a moot point to argue that the mini roundabouts are there for space reasons. Are they seen as having a better traffic throughput than conventional roundabouts?

Edited by masermartin on Friday 24th December 14:12

Broken

224 posts

133 months

Saturday 25th December 2010
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wiffmaster said:
masermartin said:
Petrolhead_Rich said:
4. After 6 months the paint has worn away so you cant see them
Yup - and the Hemel magic roundabout is basically 6 lumps in the ground as the paint has gone. Nobody ever drives "round" it properly, I try to steer clear of it because other people's reactions to it are so unpredictable.
It's ridiculous now - you can barely even see the mini-roundabouts any more. Fine if you're a local and know where they are, but must be baffling for people who aren't used to it.

Was driving with a mate who wasn't from the area and as we approached it I said "It's easy - just one large roundabout in the middle, with six mini-roundabouts around the edge. But the paint has worn off the minis, so they're a little hard to see. Oh, and you can go clockwise or anticlockwise around the central roundabout - your choice." He didn't look particularly confident...
The one in Swindon is actually called the Magic Roundabout (named on the signs). The one in Hemel is a series of mini roundabouts around a circular road, which is why you can go both ways round the central part.

Dealing with the magic roundabout in Swindon the first time I encountered it was a head scrambling experience that required a quiet corner to rock in afterwards. Subsequent encounters have been no issue as the signs on the approaches are clear for the lay out so you can plan your route around it. Having said that going the wrong way round the roundabout while going the right way round each individual roundabout is an odd experience.

Reading this post it seems that most peoples problem with mini roundabouts is poor driving standards of a large number of road users. If this is the case don't blame the road. Although I agree there are plenty of poorly implemented examples out there.

It is interesting to get a road planners (engineers what ever the correct job description is) point of view so we can see the other side of the coin. I was told when I learnt to drive that a mini roundabout can be treated like a t junction when you are on it (i.e. going on the paint is no problem) and treat like a roundabout to determine right of way.

Certainly a roundabout keeps traffic flowing much better than traffic lights in most situations but often some more thought from the local council before changing road layouts would be nice, as some new layouts just make things worse or make no sense.

I have nearly been taken out on a mini roundabout in Sandhurst when turning right as the driver (for want of a better description) of an approaching car did not slow or appear to have notice me being there. Cue blast of horn followed by brakes being slammed on and surprised look as they suddenly saw me, because they actually looked instead of just going with out any observation. This roundabout has no diversion of direction from travel but this incident was not caused by the road layout purely bad driving. The other driver was not some recently passed inexperienced driver either, but comfortably into their pensionable years.

Other near misses I have witnessed on mini roundabouts have all been due to poor/selfish driving. There is a mini roundabout on a local business estate that is so small that you can not see it until you are on it and when it was new there where quite a few near misses on (yes I had one on it when I couldn't see it when it was new), now people know it is there it is fine but there really is not sufficient space for it. White painted area is about the size of a bin lid.

Taraniis

17 posts

132 months

Monday 27th December 2010
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Sorry for the delay, this Christmas thing has taken up all my time.

Magic roundabouts work very well and although they take up masses of space they keep traffic speeds down. If you were to have a giant multiple lane gyratory it would end up like Saxo NASCAR on a Friday night. The problem many drivers encounter when they see these things is that they try to grasp the concept as a whole which leads to confusion.

The drivers who tackle the magic roundabout in little chunks do not become as confused as the ones who are paying attention to the traffic going the wrong way because essentially it's just a two way circle with mini-roundabouts on it. Personally I would only ever attempt one as a last resort because of the expense and the fact that not everyone likes them.

Unfortunately when it comes to traffic management we have to see it through the eyes of the most useless of drivers so we end up "copy-pasting" traffic light controlled junctions because people aren't intelligent/patient enough to give way unless it results in points and a fine.

It goes a fair distance to back up the "it's not the road but the drivers" comment above. But then do we have ourselves to blame? People do not think for themselves anymore because we pander to their inadequacies, but we pander to their inadequacies because somewhere along the line a significant minority of people stopped thinking for themselves.

TommoM1

9 posts

146 months

Monday 21st February 2011
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Many mini roundabouts are not small scale roundabout as such, but a device of ensuring fair right of way for each arm of the junction to prevent traffic build up on the less main roads,

one indicator of how they are different to normal roundabouts, is that you indicate the same as a junction, not a roundabout - i.e. you do not indicate to exit a mini roundabout.

Great fun though, mini chicane wink

saaby93

29,421 posts

150 months

Monday 21st February 2011
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TommoM1 said:
;)
Great Lurking clap