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Roundabout Hate & Related investment Idea ?
Old 10-13-2015, 03:41 PM   #1
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Roundabout Hate & Related investment Idea ?

I live in South Central Minnesota, Mankato to be exact.

City transportation planners fell head over heels in love with roundabouts about 2 years ago. They're sprouting up everywhere, with many more in the planning stages.

I loathe them. At moderately busy intersections, maybe, but at high traffic intersections, forget about it. There's more accidents, caused by idiots that will never figure out how to drive through one properly, and @ the busiest traffic times of the day, if you account for the fact that many times in the past, you never had to stop at all, I end up waiting as long or longer than I would have had it remained a conventional traffic light intersection.

Another reason. There's too damn many of them. Two years ago when I wanted to go to my bank, which is about 5 miles to the east of me, there was only one intersection with traffic lights. So I 'may' have had to stop one time. Now I not only have that intersection, I have 4 roundabouts I have to slow down and/or stop at.

These 4 roundabouts are on a road that 10 years ago, was very busy, but now it's very light traffic. Absolutely no reason for them.

So in my opinion they can take these roundabouts & place them where the sun don't shine.

Oh I almost forgot, since this is Minnesota which loves nothing more than spend & tax, the powers that be somehow designed these roundabouts to be costlier to maintain than a conventional stoplight intersection.

Why ?
I have no idea ?


All this being said, my whining isn't going to do a damn thing. They're here, there's more coming, and that's just the way it is.

I rarely travel by car, so I don't know if this roundabout ORGY is specific to Minnesota, or a trend throughout the country. If this sort of thing is going on in your part of the country, please post.

Finally, on to my investment idea. I'm guessing many of you have figured out my idea at this point. Plain and simple, it's tire sales.

On the aforementioned trip to the bank, I now do 4 complete 360 turns. I realize it's at fairly low speeds, but that's still a lot of turning that I didn't have to do before. All this equals more tire wear.

So my investment idea is Goodyear tire, symbol GT.
I haven't done a lot of research on the company yet, but they've done very very well over the past five and 10 year periods. Easily outpacing the S&P 500

I'm not saying Goodyear is going to be the next Google or Facebook because of this, but I do believe it will increase tire wear, & at least in area's like mine, tires will need to be replaced more often.

Full disclosure: I don't own any Goodyear stock at this time.

So what do you think, crazy investing idea, or a rational one ?
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:36 PM   #2
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Crazy. We have numerous roundabouts here and they work great. I can't recall ever seeing an accident at one and traffic generally flows smoothly but they do get backed up when traffic is heavy.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:44 PM   #3
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5 years ago there were no roundabouts in my area. Now there are several dozen in the 3 city area of around 100,000 people. They are a pain even in the best of times. Throw in ice or snow and people who don't yield and they are far more dangerous than any other intersection around here--small town Wisconsin.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:55 PM   #4
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that's interesting, in South Jersey they are getting rid of all our roundabouts (we just call them circles)


lol, can't help you with the tires.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:56 PM   #5
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I love roundabouts but it frustrating that most drivers don't know how to navigate them.

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Old 10-13-2015, 05:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by misanman View Post
I love roundabouts but it frustrating that most drivers don't know how to navigate them.
I also love them. Even worse than newbie/hesitant drivers [are] the governments that don't know how to use the circles/roundabouts--our old town had one with stop signs on some of the entry points and, in one solitary instance, a stop or yield sign for the person in the circle. That is, of course, where someone failed to yield and plowed into my wife's car, which had the right-of-way entering the circle. In any normal situation, they were doing the right thing; they just didn't know the "special" rules for that particular circle....

(Still have fond memories of the Traffic Circle in Long Beach in the late 80's)
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:04 PM   #7
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Very interesting. I have friends who grew up in Mankato (but now live in "the Cities") and when they took me there many years ago, I never saw a roundabout. So it must be a relatively new phenomenon. [Aside: that area was often called the valley of the Jolly Green Giant.]

But roundabouts are all over the place in New England (called rotaries in most places), and seem to work very well there.

And they are ubiquitous in the UK, also quite helpful once you get used to using them in the other direction.

My personal feeling is that I would rather see them than traffic lights, for two reasons.

1. They let me merely slow down (and occasionally wait a few seconds for oncoming traffic already in the circle) instead of stopping for a traffic light. This helps the planet by eliminating the useless exhaust gases I put out while sitting at the red light, and helps me by obviating the useless expenditure of fuel while idling at the light.

2. They tend to smooth the traffic flow, eliminating the "schools" of cars that result from the accordion effect produced by batching the traffic at lights or stop signs.

However, I think I can understand your feeling, since in a less urban area I guess they could easily seem an unnecessary complication.

On the investing front, I can't see a compelling case. My tires last for a minimum of 50K miles, often much more, so how does the very minor effect of extra turning become a case for tire replacement.
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:06 PM   #8
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My main route for commute home is currently closed for 20 days. The detour sucks. My reward at the end is a traffic circle. I loath them at high traffic intersections, which this is.
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:46 PM   #9
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5 years ago there were no roundabouts in my area. Now there are several dozen in the 3 city area of around 100,000 people. They are a pain even in the best of times. Throw in ice or snow and people who don't yield and they are far more dangerous than any other intersection around here--small town Wisconsin.
Yes, they are popping up everywhere across Wisconsin, and I HATE the damn things. Maybe they work better in big cities, but in small-medium sized towns, they are just a hazard, as most people don't know how to navigate them. Every time I go through one, I expect someone to do something stupid (and it often happens). There is no reason to put so many of these things in areas that don't see all that much traffic.

Not sure about the tire co. investing idea.......I'll pass on that one.
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Old 10-13-2015, 06:58 PM   #10
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Had a roundabout in Maryland while I was visiting DS. The main marking was just a Slow 15 warning sign. I was fine with that, but then realized I would soon be entering a roundabout unexpectedly and hadn't checked for another car coming my way. DW may have been talking at the time, which doesn't help. I'm OK when I know they're there, but it takes a sharper eye to catch some of them if you haven't driven them before.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:20 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies.

ATTN pb4uski: "but they do get backed up when traffic is heavy"

Agreed. I made that point here: "@ the busiest traffic times of the day, if you account for the fact that many times in the past, you never had to stop at all, I end up waiting as long, or longer than I would have had it remained a conventional traffic light intersection"



ATTN aaronc879: "5 years ago there were no roundabouts in my area. Now there are several dozen in the 3 city area of around 100,000 people. They are a pain even in the best of times. Throw in ice or snow and people who don't yield and they are far more dangerous than any other intersection around here--small town Wisconsin"

Agree 100%




ATTN clover: "that's interesting, in South Jersey they are getting rid of all our roundabouts (we just call them circles)

Have they said why they're getting rid of them ?




ATTN misanman: "I love roundabouts but it frustrating that most drivers don't know how to navigate them"

I touched on that in my original post, but I should've went further. I think we can all agree that a certain percentage of people driving on the road, probably shouldn't be allowed to. The problem with roundabouts is we're taking that five or 10% of people that have no business being on the road, and putting driving decisions in their hands.
What could possibly go wrong ?




ATTN 2017ish: I also love them. Even worse than newbie/hesitant drivers [are] the governments that don't know how to use the circles/roundabouts--our old town had one with stop signs on some of the entry points and, in one solitary instance, a stop or yield sign for the person in the circle. That is, of course, where someone failed to yield and plowed into my wife's car, which had the right-of-way entering the circle. In any normal situation, they were doing the right thing; they just didn't know the "special" rules for that particular circle....

Government do something wrong, there's no way I can believe that




ATTN braumeister: "I have friends who grew up in Mankato (but now live in "the Cities") and when they took me there many years ago, I never saw a roundabout. So it must be a relatively new phenomenon"

Yes it is a new phenomenon. I mentioned that in the original post.

"They let me merely slow down (and occasionally wait a few seconds for oncoming traffic already in the circle) instead of stopping for a traffic light. This helps the planet by eliminating the useless exhaust gases I put out while sitting at the red light, and helps me by obviating the useless expenditure of fuel while idling at the light"

But don't you think that when it comes to emissions, it evens out when you consider the fact that with conventional stop lights, many times you never even had to slow down, you just went directly through ?

Every time you slow down, even if you don't come to a complete stop, you have to re-accelerate. Doesn't that increases the emissions put forth into the atmosphere ?




ATTN Jack_Pine: "My reward at the end is a traffic circle. I loath them at high traffic intersections, which this is"

Agree 100%




ATTN RAE: "Yes, they are popping up everywhere across Wisconsin, and I HATE the damn things. Maybe they work better in big cities, but in small-medium sized towns, they are just a hazard, as most people don't know how to navigate them. Every time I go through one, I expect someone to do something stupid (and it often happens). There is no reason to put so many of these things in areas that don't see all that much traffic"

Agree 100%




ATTN Animorph: "Had a roundabout in Maryland while I was visiting DS. The main marking was just a Slow 15 warning sign. I was fine with that, but then realized I would soon be entering a roundabout unexpectedly and hadn't checked for another car coming my way. DW may have been talking at the time, which doesn't help. I'm OK when I know they're there, but it takes a sharper eye to catch some of them if you haven't driven them before"

You brought up a great point, and one I wanted to touch on, but forgot. Thanks!
The point is that you're supposed to slow down to 15 mph. OK, I'll be realistic. People are not going to slow down to 15 mph.
I rarely do, but I do slow down to around 20 miles an hour. At that speed, you have time to react if somebody else screws up.
I've had five close calls. The cause has always been the same. I'm just entering the roundabout & out of the blue, on the next entrance lane, comes a driver entering at 35 or 40 mph & I have to slam on the brakes and/or swerve to avoid them.


All five drivers were the same sex.
Care to guess which one ?
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Old 10-14-2015, 12:16 AM   #12
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Something like this ? .

Don't much like them myself. Might be lower in cost than convention intersections ( no signals to install or maintain / ) .
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Old 10-14-2015, 12:24 AM   #13
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I don't like them, but then there are a lot of things in the world I don't like and I still manage to enjoy life.

I do tend to avoid them. It's not hard to do that, here.
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Old 10-14-2015, 04:46 AM   #14
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Do I read correctly here that the person on the roundabout needs to yield to new entrants?

If so that doesn't seem to make sense - out here (Europe) people on the roundabout have right of way, much safer.

In general roundabouts improve traffic flow, but as with everything it is important you design it well. And it's pretty useless on low-volume intersections. Better to not put anything there.

The ultimate roundabout btw (it's a a six in one deal!):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_..._%28Swindon%29
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Old 10-14-2015, 05:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ownyourfuture View Post
All five drivers were the same sex.
Care to guess which one ?
OK, I'll play along. Middlesex?
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:22 AM   #16
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Do I read correctly here that the person on the roundabout needs to yield to new entrants?

If so that doesn't seem to make sense - out here (Europe) people on the roundabout have right of way, much safer.

In general roundabouts improve traffic flow, but as with everything it is important you design it well. And it's pretty useless on low-volume intersections. Better to not put anything there.

The ultimate roundabout btw (it's a a six in one deal!):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_..._%28Swindon%29
No, around here the person entering the roundabout is expected to yield to those already in the roundabout (aka rotary).
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:29 AM   #17
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I used to hate roundabouts. But now I'm starting to get used to them. Saves time over a traffic signal in cities. But I still don't understand why they're needed out in the boonies. I suspect that highway agencies and municipalities like them because they save $ on traffic signals and slow traffic down.

I've seen some with paved center islands that have tire tracks through the middle of the island - drivers simply drive straight through the roundabout.

Here's one of my favorites - in Sedona Az. Tough to drive through here in traffic.
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:31 AM   #18
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OP, sounds like perhaps your city planners got suckered by a bad consultant. Is there any chance that some of these roundabouts are merely traffic circles? A traffic circle is a calming device plopped into the middle of intersections in residential neighborhoods to keep people from speeding where children play. A roundabout is a designed feature where turn lanes, special signage, striping, traffic volumes, line of sight, etc. are considered.

Roundabouts aren't exactly a panacea, but they excel when traffic volumes are moderate to heavy from multiple directions. The best example I've experienced was in Anchorage about ten years ago when they changed the worst intersection in town to a roundabout. Idle/stall time plunged from ten minutes to less than 90seconds during rush hour. It was amazing how a simpler interchange could improve congestion by nearly 1,000%. I've been a believer ever since (assuming they've been designed correctly).
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:55 AM   #19
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I just watched a recent Mythbusters episode in which they tested the effectiveness of roundabouts vs. 4 way stops. According to their conclusions roundabouts were 20% more effective at handling traffic. Of course that assumes everyone knows how to use them and does not take other traffic into account (bicycles, pedestrians, etc.) as this was a controlled test.

http://www.streetsblog.net/2013/10/1...for-motorists/


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Old 10-14-2015, 07:08 AM   #20
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Here in Mass, we have what we call "rotaries" every few miles. They seem to work better than lights.

Nobody knows how to drive here anyway, so it's hard to tell.
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