Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Appleton multi-lane roundabout becoming fully operational

[We have received the following press release and are pleased to publish it on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Even though this roundabout is located in Appleton/Outagamie County, the facts about roundabouts and instructions on how to navigate them are universal throughout the state, other than those specific references to streets in Appleton. We will eventually be getting roundabouts in Oshkosh and Winnebago County, so it's never to early to begin familiarizing oneself with the process.]

October 28, 2009

For more information, contact:
Kim Rudat, Regional Communications Manager, (920) 492-5743

Appleton multi-lane roundabout becoming fully operational
Walter/John roundabout opening with College Ave. Bridge

(Green Bay) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Northeast Regional Office at Green Bay and the city of Appleton are advising Appleton motorists that when the College Ave. Bridge opens, tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, October 30, the multi-lane roundabout east of the bridge will become fully operational.

Roundabouts provide safer and more efficient traffic flow than standard intersections by slowing traffic down and keeping it moving one way in a counterclockwise direction. There are fewer conflict points and crash statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that roundabouts reduce fatal crashes about 90%, injury crashes about 75%, and overall crashes about 35%.

WisDOT and the city of Appleton are providing these reminders for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians:

• Follow the signs and pavement markings to position your vehicle in the appropriate lane as you approach the roundabout.
• Position your vehicle before you enter the roundabout and once in the roundabout, do not change lanes.
• The right lane is for turning at the next street. For example, if you enter from College Ave. heading west and wish to turn north onto South Walter Street, you would choose the right lane.
• Use either lane for going straight. For example, if you enter from College Ave. heading west and you wish to continue west on College Ave., you can choose either lane.
• The left lane is for turning “left” or u turns. For example, if you enter from College Ave. heading west and you wish to turn onto East John Street or return east on College Ave., you would choose the left lane.
• Yield to both circulating lanes of traffic prior to entering the roundabout.
• Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic.
• Go slow. Do not change lanes. Traffic circulates counterclockwise at about 15 mph.
• Yield to pedestrians prior to entering and exiting a roundabout.
• If you encounter an emergency vehicle – exit the roundabout first and then move to the side of the road to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Do not stop in the roundabout.
• Pedestrians should use the crosswalks at the approaches to the roundabout. They should not enter the center of the roundabout itself.
• Using the crosswalk, pedestrians should first look to their left to watch for a gap in traffic or to wait for vehicles to stop to allow them to cross. They should then cross to the safety/splitter island.
• The safety/splitter island is where pedestrians can stop and check traffic coming from the right, where they can again watch for a gap in traffic or wait for vehicles to stop to allow them to cross.
• If you are riding on the shoulder or bike lane, merge into the traffic lane before the shoulder ends.
• Signal your intent to move into traffic.
• Once inside the roundabout, don't hug the curb; ride close to the middle of the lane to prevent vehicles from passing and cutting you off.
• Watch for vehicles waiting to enter the roundabout, as they may not see you.
• If you do not want to ride your bike in the roundabout, use the sidewalk and crosswalks.
Large trucks
• Large trucks, because of their size, need more space when driving in a roundabout and will likely encroach into other lanes when making turns.
• All drivers should avoid driving next to or passing large trucks when approaching and maneuvering through a roundabout so the truck can safely make its turn.
• There is a “truck apron” on the edge of the center island in a roundabout that a semi trailer or other large vehicle’s wheels may use. The truck apron helps longer vehicles navigate the roundabout.


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