Tuesday, September 13, 2016

100 Roundabouts/Safest Intersection in World Can be Most Beautiful in the World (Carmel, IN)

100 Roundabouts and Counting

Burlington about 1980 was bigger than the Indianapolis well to do suburb of Carmel.  In 1996, a year after the first northeast roundabout came alive on a muggy August afternoon in Montpelier, the first roundabout appeared in a private development in Carmel and in 1997 the first roundabout on a public street.  (Montpelier's Keck Circle the 19th in the U.S., first east of Colorado and north of Maryland.)

Yes Carmel's roundabouts hit the century mark this year:

Carmel once smaller than Burlington now is about twice BTV population and very well to do.  It is bronze level bicycle standard (BTV?).  Still with 100 roundabouts it vehicle travel times (yes it does have several freeway exits, mostly with roundabouts) within the City quick with little intersection delay and walking safety surely is very high and comfortable compared to the gauntlet faced by those who try to walk outside of the Marketplace here in BTV--plus all the time standing around waiting for signal clearance.

Another key point for Carmel (rated 1st and 2nd in America's top small city by Money Magazine in recent years):  the Mayor in Carmel since 1995 has been the irrepressible Jim Brained who won a landslide election against a City Councilor by among other things--yes, vowing another 13 roundabouts in his current term. 

Jim wants used to say he wanted the City to be a 100 roundabout one signal City--he got the first part in his pocket and still a few signals to put in the recycle bin to get their population down to one.  Jim should get an award from AARP which advocates conversion of signals to roundabouts for the safety of senior driver. 

One casualty of Carmel's roundaboutamainia has been the disbanding of the emergency services special jaws of life unit--with all those roundabouts the City no longer has significant serious car crashes.  

Well, do not fear, Burlington and the County is set to get it first busy street roundabout for sure--in 2020 (the rotary on Shelburne St.). Vermont now has 14 roundabouts (latest at Walmart Bennington store entrance), and its four downtown roundabouts (Montpelier, Middlebury, and Manchester Center) record after a combined half century of operation one non-fatal pedestrian injury.  In a recent four year period 17 Burlington intersections (14 signaled) average one injury to a person on foot a year and one fatality was recorded.  With bike and pedestrians rising and the U.S. highway deaths spiking up 17 percent over the last 18 months after a half century of steady decline, there is renewed interest in safety on our streets for those travel on foot by bicycle--and yes, by motor vehicle.  Roundabouts cut  serious and fatal injuries by about 90% says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in their landmark study.   Can you spell "roundabout" as the intersection safety belt?

The most beautiful roundabout in the world is in Carmel, IN, suburb of Indianapolis.  

Carmel located in a no-growth state was below Burlington population in 1980 and now is about twice our size.  Has taken a first and a second place in recent annual Money Magazine ratings for best small cities.