Roundabout way to improving safety

Huron seeks to make crossing Cleveland road safer
Andy Ouriel
Mar 7, 2014

 

There’s no roundabout way to describe U.S. 6 in Huron, other than calling it inconvenient.
 
Walkers, joggers, bicyclists and children tempt fate each time they cross the busy corridor, which cuts through Huron.

Drivers must carefully maneuver when turning onto or off the divided highway.

To make the corridor safer, city officials devised a plan calling for gradual fixes in specific areas.

First up: improvements where Berlin Road meets Cleveland Road East (U.S. 6), near Marconi’s Italian Restaurant.

Officials are considering several ways to upgrade the intersection, one of which involves constructing a modern roundabout, forcing drivers to travel in a counterclockwise direction around a central island.

Modern roundabouts typically don’t have traffic signals or stop signs. Drivers must yield before entering the roundabout and they can exit once they arrive at their desired exit point.

Some preliminary work, such as artist renderings of what it could look like, has already been done, Huron city manager Andy White said.    With the way this intersection angles — for instance, it’s a sharp turn heading south on Berlin Road and then turning west onto Cleveland Road — cars are more likely to crash in this area compared to others, White said.

A modern roundabout would eliminate sharp turns.

The proposed change also involves adding turning lanes and reducing the number of east and west lanes from two in each direction to one. “To break up some of the wide-open spaces of asphalt is beneficial because it promotes more efficient maintenance, beautifies some key entry points to the city and establishes safer crossing areas for pedestrian traffic” White said. The construction cost for the modern roundabout is unknown.

As of today, there’s no such traffic pattern anywhere in Erie County. The improvement plans for the corridor circles back to Huron’s $9 million master plan — a decade-long blueprint aimed at luring businesses and persuading people to stay and move into Huron.

Other recent improvements completed to make Huron’s roads safer for commuters and pedestrians:

•Widening Rye Beach Road by Ohio 2.

•Paving Jim Campbell Boulevard.

•Creating a bike path running parallel to U.S. 6 and connecting Huron High School to Woodlands Intermediate School.

Officials also planned for several cosmetic features on the Huron Memorial Bridge, such as removing the barrier, taking out light poles and improving landscape. They also scheduled a sidewalk project on Ohio 13 from U.S. 6 to Thunderbird Hills Golf Course.

“The council, in conjunction with Huron’s administrative staff, is focused on making efficient improvements to enhance the quality of life for our residents,” Huron city councilman Trey Hardy said.

Comments

rbenn

This is an excellent idea, these do decrease accidents.

fenderstrat52

Yeah, that's it! Throw millions of dollars into a project because of peoples inability to read signs, marked pavement, obey traffic signals, and just in general can't drive! with common sense! Oh, yeah I want to pay more attention to the landscape around me when making a turn! Can you put in some nice floral stuff for my wife?

worddrow811

Collisions are caused by human error. A roundabout won't fix anything if the drivers aren't paying attention. I would like to know how many collisions have happened at that intersection in the last ten years. The only thing that I ever saw was a rolled bale of hay fall off a wagon and had to be removed.

Lest anyone forgets to remember, the bridge barriers were erected to keep vehicles from going into the river should there be a collision.

Instead of removing an already-in-place safety barrier, have the art department from HHS paint them with pictures of old Huron on the sidewalk side and new Huron on the traffic side. They're painting the water tower to save money and the barriers are a blank canvas.

As for paving J C Boulevard, unless they fix the running-the-stop-sign-issue first, that idea is a waste of time. The people who park their vehicles across the sidewalks are forcing the pedestians to walk in the street to get around the cars.

Show us the numbers to back up this wishful thinking. If it has to be justified, it's wrong.

rbenn
rbenn
Peninsula Pundit

I am amazed, er... amused, that the first thing virulent govt haters post are govt studies.

rbenn

put politics aside pundit, they asked for statistics I provided that.

Elwood

How many accidents have occurred at this intersection?
Is this intersection considered dangerous?
If not why spend additional funds to redesign it, who comes up with this stuff?

worddrow811

day-dream believers, Elwood, day-dream believers.

Darkhorse

This new design will be a nightmare. I have driven on one of the circular designed roads on the east coast. The road design is called rotaries. It is a horrible experience because there is no stop signs or traffic lights and you go at your own risk and sometimes you can't get off and have to go around again so you can exit. The rotaries are accidents waiting to happen. Huron thinks they have problems now, just wait until the rotary is constructed.

bnjjad

I have used several Roundabouts as well as mini roundabouts in different areas numerous times and have had no issues. England uses them almost exclusively. They are not accidents waiting to happen if people actually pay attention like they are suppose to. They are no more dangerous then a regular intersection and are usually more efficient and safe because of a reduction in cross traffic and pedestrian traffic.

worddrow811

We're not talking about England. They have one at Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. and so what? They have more traffic volume than Huron Ohio and that is the issue. We do not have the traffic volume any more because of the by-pass around Huron. It's a waste of money and I am tired of seeing taxpayers money wasted on grandiose ideas.

bnjjad

Traffic volume is one of the main reasons a Round about is a better idea, no need for upkeep of expensive traffic control lights/systems, no sitting and waiting for a green light with no traffic coming.

worddrow811

I read the list of pros and cons in the e-paper and the first negative was drivers possibly running into people trying to avoid other drivers.

Shawnee School is on that side of town, the buses carrying the children will have to navigate the roundabout and omg, is that not enough of a reason to NOT put one there.

Narrowing the lanes of traffic to one is downright ignorant because it creates congestion, but they already know that. Their priorities are making the area pretty, are you kidding me?

I want human lives to be the priority, not fulfilling a fantasy by our city government. Step up the police presence in the area.

IF IT HAS TO BE JUSTIFIED, IT'S A BAD IDEA!

Elwood

How the h3ll would you negotiate this on a bicycle? It appears to be an accident just waiting to happen.
You better think this one over Huron, do your citizens really want this goofy thing?

I sincerely hope you didn't come up with this idea because the county is going to build one at Campbell and Bogart. Even with a grant it's another bad idea.

worddrow811

How are the young children supposed to navigate is the bigger question?

You can quote statistics all day long but it does not mean that this is a bright idea. Children have a tough-enough time as it is without putting this nightmare on their young shoulders.

If we want something new, let's ask for new leadership!

rbenn

Ive driven on many of these things they aren't that difficult lol. They reduce accidents and that's a fact. Go to LaGrange they have one right in the middle of town. Bunch of crybabies

worddrow811

Do you have one where you live rbenn? Nobody cares what you have driven on and stop calling names. The only thing that reduces accidents is paying attention, not adding something else to deal with while driving. Traffic signals have proven to be effective or we wouldn't have them. If this is such a great idea, why aren't they everywhere?

Go to Mt. Gilead. They have one around a statue and they still had to have a signal.

rbenn

Ive lived in a few places that had these, they are a good thing and traffic moves along much faster and smoother.

worddrow811

Good for you and you seem to be the only supporter. We don't need traffic to move faster through Huron, so there is the difference. There are too many gaps in the traffic flow as it is and this would create more danger because of it. My concern is the children who would have to cross this and aren't familiar with how they work. They have come to trust the traffic signal as that is what they learn in safety town. We don't need this on any level, period!

bnjjad

Numerous cities and towns have these across the US. They are getting to be popular in Michigan and on the east cost as well. I have used them many times. Traffic gaps is exactly the reason this is a good idea as it reduces the problem of sitting and waiting at a stop light when NO traffic is coming.

As for Children crossing, This is NO different then a regular intersection to be crossed without traffic signals.

Roundabouts are efficient at keeping traffic moving and reducing accidents. People need to pay attention to driving, If they are not paying attention to figure out a simple roundabout then they are not paying attention enough to watch stop lights and other traffic control devices at a intersection. Personal responsibility goes along way.

worddrow811

We can talk about other places until midnight. Pedestrians are not surrounded by steel and are at the bottom of the list. Cars were invented to get people around in a protected and efficient manner. The arrogance of some drivers borders on stupid. They have no consideration for others and are the leading cause of traffic accidents.

People who have to walk should be given the first priority because it takes them longer to get where they are going and have no protection from the elements while waiting for the drivers. Are drivers so spoiled and inconsiderate that they can't wait twenty to sixty seconds for someone's loved-one to cross their path? Personally, I don't want to have someone's death on my hands, do you?

bnjjad

I agree with you on the stupid drivers, however IMO this intersection as it stands is just as dangerous to pedestrians due to the 4/3 lane crossings as well as the general size of the intersection to begin with. 2 of the oncoming roads are on such severe angles and hard to see.

People who walk should be given a priority, however they need to follow common sense and traffic rules/patterns as well if they want to cross roads where 2 tons of steel could be moving. Most pedestrians I see don't bother watching traffic before stepping out or pay attention to the traffic lights if there are any. Why can they not wait the extra twenty to sixty seconds before crossing safely for their own life?

I always stop for pedestrians when I see them and can safely. The other places is relevant though because Huron is not the only town/city that has these installed. If they were so unsafe, we would not be considering it as a possibility. Maybe its just me, but there is no true intersection design that is safe for anyone on the road, pedestrian, cyclist, or passenger.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Yep, there is a circle in the square. It’s supposed to be a 4 way stop, in reality it is everybody for yourself!

Peninsula Pundit

Not a good idea around schools.

http://missoulian.com/news/local...

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011...

And here is support for DG's question by a road planning engineer.

http://www.renthomas.ca/transpor...

worddrow811

Thank you for the info and I can only pray that the day-dream believers will understand it.

I am tired of drivers who think they are so important and must get somewhere in a hurry while creating drama that can easily be avoided if they would just leave earlier.

If the goal is to get people to come visit Huron, why is there a need to rush them through?

If it isn't broken, don't fix it. The light is doing it's job.

bnjjad

First Article: Similar speed bumps can be put in, however the speed limit is already 35 in that area and people need to pay attention on the road. Because people cant pay attention to traffic control devices and intersections does not mean we should just keep everything status quo because they don't pay attention as it is.

Second Article: Yield does not mean stop, yield means look left before entering intersection, judging by how many people cut me off at on ramps/exit ramps on 250 and the Turnpike because they don't understand Yield signs may be a good point to not go this route. If people here are having problems understanding how a roundabout works they wont figure out what Yield means.

Third Article: Very true, however I will say that one of the reasons a roundabout is being considered is because of the low traffic volume in this area to begin with that does not support Traffic lights according to the ODOT survey.

worddrow811

I couldn't care less what ODOT thinks, they don't live here. There are now too many people in the surrounding neighborhoods who should not have this change dropped in their laps. Each situation should be considered individually because we are not a one-size-fits-all town.

Are we going to become a one-light town and cars rule place to live?

bnjjad

Good to know that you think the people who live there (myself included) are not up to the task of understanding a change. We shouldn't change anything in that case.

I am pretty sure this situation is being considered individually, Surrounding areas are always considered when making traffic flow changes.

Honest question here and I am not being mean/sarcastic: Do you believe that the only way for pedestrians to be safe is to have stop lights at every intersection? I ask because I am a runner, I look both ways, I double/triple check every crossing I make to make sure I am safe. I have never once been hit or been near enough to a car that I was scared for my life. Pedestrians and Cars can live in harmony without unneeded traffic lights and devices. There is No reason in my mind that one round about is going to cause an increase in pedestrian/car accidents, if there were, I would be fighting with you as that stretch of road is on my regular route.

We can agree to disagree that a roundabout is not the right solution here or is the most dangerous thing to every be dreamed.

worddrow811

I didn't say that we need traffic lights at every intersection and yes we can agree to disagree.

I am saying that there is nothing wrong with the traffic light being there in the first place and does not need to be changed simply for the sake of appearances to make Huron prettier.

I am saying that the cost to change the traffic control system is unwarranted and will not make that big of a difference in traffic flow.

Show me the number of traffic accidents or complaints from drivers who are unable to control their speed through there and need to go faster to get dead in a hurry. The very nature of the suggestion puts pedestrians at the bottom of the totem pole and they, clearly, should be at the top.

I do expect that adults are up to understanding the situation. I'm talking about young children and the elderly, or do they not count? It's why the walk bridge was installed over Rt. 2, don't you know?

worddrow811

Let's not forget the new apartment building on that corner, either. Now you add senior citizens to the mix and the Shell Station on the corner. The traffic light that is there gives drivers and pedestrians time to navigate crossing the street who are also dealing with cars and trucks coming from the Route 2 exit on Berlin Road.

If there is an accident, what happens to the traffic then? Where are the rescue units supposed to go and how will the traffic be re-routed?

bnjjad

Traffic accidents are usually handled the same way as a normal intersection. Traffic is stopped until the accident is cleared. Like you mentioned earlier, people need to leave earlier and anticipate possible delays.

This is not a new concept.

Not sure what you mean by "Where are the rescue units supposed to go".

worddrow811

Depending on how many arrive at the scene, they need space to park while handling the accident to transport, if needed. By its design, the roundabout is meant to keep traffic moving, so where will the units park in the roundabout lanes?

bnjjad

They would park in the roundabout lanes. You answered yourself I think, Traffic would be stopped like a normal accident at a intersection and the emergency vehicles would take up precautionary positions as normal.

Restless1

Simply a solution solving a non-existing problem.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

Hey, look kids.....Big Ben, Parliament

Parliament, Big Ben.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i...

bayshore

Oh, no, a new concept. NIMBY NIMBY

OMG.LOL.WT_

Traffic circles being phased out in New Jersey.

http://southjerseyexplorer.com/2...

SilentMajority

Wow...move some people's cheese and watch out. I hope that the city of Huron moves forward with this. Traffic does flow much smoother in all of the roundabouts that I've used. The trend across Ohio is to replace lights with roundabouts. They work.

worddrow811

Are you insinuating something by your cheese comment? I don't give a hoover dam what other places are doing. It has nothing to do with knowing that this is an unacceptable solution to something which is not a problem in the first place.

For those of you who don't live here, the pattern of our government has been to change things that don't need to be changed. I will say that they like circles and one only has to look at the boat basin to see it. Maybe that's why they want a 'round'about.

The traffic lanes that are there do not need to be narrowed to two lanes any earlier than they already have been by the Shell station.

Nor'easter

How many accidents at location per year? What is the cost? How many tourists per hour can pass thru now? If changed?

worddrow811

DGM, thank you.
Nor'easter, thank you.

My screen name is reading signs because the signs that I am reading regarding Huron, are these: Necessity is not the motivating factor. They put glowing articles in the paper to guide us gently into what they are planning to do next, letting the dust settle, and then doing it anyway, regardless of opposition.

How many traffic accidents are collateral damage to get what they want? This is no different than their less-than-smart idea to remove the traffic light at Center Street or put one in at River Road for the boaters convenience. Ok, now that I write this I am seeing the purpose. They want to move the Berlin Road light to River Road and there is how I am reading signs.

Darwin's choice

There's no need for this. There are 10 traffic lites at that intersection now, a very simple solution would be to stagger the green lights! Northbound and southbound currently both have greens signals at the same time, with the angle of the intersection there is some confusion as to right-of-way, staggering the lights will eliminate this. If Andy want to address something, the traffic on berlin road where all the students getting dropped off at shawnee school is a nightmare. Parents stop waiting to turn in, stop and block both lanes for a half hour at a time! This is a daily occurence, and the are no police in sight. Putting a round-a-bout there is, simply put, incredibly stupid. But, that seems to be the norm with andy.

worddrow811

Thank you, Darwin, for an excellent solution that will save our resident's tax dollars being wasted on yet another stupid plan to beautify andyville's horror.

Steve P

How are we going to educate people how to use traffic circles correctly, most of them don't understand the left lane is for passing not cell phone use and ignoring everyone else behind you attempting to pass.

worddrow811

That all depends, Steve, on whether or not the people in charge get over this bad idea.

As I see it, there are more vehicles now because we have more apartments, new homes and tourists coming through in the summer. Their plan is to move the light to River Road to accomodate the boaters. How many accidents were at that location as opposed to Berlin Road last summer? I want to see numbers and since they have no plans to give up that information, traffic regulations will go down the river.

If licensed drivers don't know how to use a rotary, aka, roundabout, they will find out the hard way. It is not the city's job to give driving lessons. Their job is to make sure that the present laws already on the books are enforced.

A small example of that would be to enforce the no hanging placards, for disability parking, while actually driving. They are an obstruction and block driver's line of sight. It says so right on the card. Is it enforced? Not to my knowledge. Should it be? Yes.

The standard of enforcement of any law is up to the police.

A logical solution would be for the police department to make a video of the correct use of the rotary and post it on-line. The city is paying for a booklet to tell us what we already know and they can pay for that, too!

Babo

Roundabout was a great song!

I'll be the round about
The words will make you out 'n' out
I'll spend the day your way......
Call it morning driving thru the sound and
In and out the valley......

The muses dance and sing
They make the children really ring
I'll spend the day your way
Call it morning driving thru the sound and
In and out the valley.....

In and around the lake
Mountains come out of the sky
and they Stand there
One mile over we'll be there and we'll see you
Ten true summers we'll be there and
Laughing too
Twenty four before my love you'll see I'll be
There with you.

Yes – Roundabout Lyrics
Songwriters: ANDERSON, MILLER

worddrow811

and your point is?

Babo

Akin to over 90% of the posts herein: Amusement

worddrow811

True Love Ways

Just you know why
why you and I
will by and by
know true love ways

Sometimes we'll sigh
sometimes we'll cry
and we'll know why
just you and I
know true love ways

Throughout the days
our true love ways
will bring us joys to share
with those who really care

Sometimes we'll sigh
sometimes we'll cry
and we'll know why
just you and I
know true love ways

Buddy Holly

Gootch

At first, drivers may be apprehensive. However, once they are use to the roundabout, they will love it. Keeps traffic moving, saving on all those stops and starts. Great idea. Wish Huron and other communities would have done it earlier. Change is good, people!

worddrow811

Roundabouts were designed for horses pulling wagons when people started to gather in the cities. They quickly faded from use as being inefficient for vehicular traffic, especially 18 wheelers. Huron has become andyville's horror to fulfill his dreams of leaving a legacy for which the taxpayers are paying dearly. It is not needed on any level, nor is it wanted. Stop the insanity already.

Nemesis

First of all, this is a solution in search of a problem. I and many people I know have navigated that intersection hundreds of times, by car, motorcycle, and bicycle, while running/walking with and without dogs and/or kids, and it's one of the safest ones I've ever seen.

Second, if you want to improve safety around that intersection, do something about the parents backed up several hundred feet on Berlin Rd. waiting to drop off/pick up their kids. Fix THAT goat rope and life would be great.
Third, roundabouts are a great idea in Europe, where they don't hand out drivers' licenses in Cracker Jack boxes, and people actually understand and follow right of way rules. In this country, a stop sign is treated like a yield sign, and a yield sign is completely ignored. Roundabouts present significant problems for pedestrians, especially slow moving or disabled ones, because the normal traffic pattern of no stop entry and exit doesn't carve out any gaps for them during high traffic times. The current arrangement with a traffic light is the best arrangement - pedestrians get a defined time to cross. This scheme would also encourage the misconception by Marconi's patrons that Berlin Road north of Cleveland Road is part of the restaurant parking lot - it's already a pain trying to get to Nickel Plate beach when Marconi's is busy.

Also, to have sufficient lanes for an exiting car not to stop all traffic while awaiting a pedestrian and at the same time accommodate the turning radius of a semi both in the circle and exiting, it would have to be much larger than the image implies. I've seen many successful roundabouts, but they all had diameters that would have traffic inches from the gas pumps at Shell and the walls of Marconi's.

Finally, the almost nonexistent vacancy rate at the adjacent shopping plaza, combined with recent new construction nearby, are a strong indicator that the Cleveland/Berlin Roads intersection does not need any heroic master plan hijinks to stimulate development there. If Huron city government has this kind of money burning a hole in its pocket that it needs to seek out boondoggles like this, it should spend it on the old Showboat site or painting the water tower, or any of the other projects for which they are continually dipping into the federal/state pork barrels and effectively asking communities that are much worse off to subsidize it.