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Roundabouts provide several safety benefits

In late August, Red Wing's second roundabout opened to traffic at the intersection of Twin Bluff Road and Pioneer Road. The roundabout construction was made possible by a federal Safe Routes to School grant as well as funding from Goodhue County.

Since the city has received many questions regarding the safety and operations of roundabouts, Public Work would like to let you know of some of the benefits and features of the new roundabout.

Roundabouts provide many safety features compared to conventional intersections, such as the following:

Pedestrians only have to cross one direction of traffic before encountering a median refuge island where they can safely wait to cross the other direction of traffic.

Shorter crossing distance and better sight lines between pedestrians and vehicles at roundabouts generally means safer crossings for pedestrians at roundabouts.

Slow vehicle speeds allow drivers to stop for pedestrians more quickly and easily.

Crashes at roundabouts are often less severe than at normal intersections.

Slow vehicle speeds allow drivers to stop for other vehicles more quickly and easily.

Drivers only need to yield to traffic approaching from the left instead of from multiple directions at normal intersections which reduces potential conflicts.

Navigation tips

Since some users of the intersection may not be familiar with roundabouts, the city would like to pass along a few tips on how to navigate roundabouts.

Pedestrians:

• Always stay on designated walkways.

• Cross only at crosswalks.

• Never cross to the center island; that space is for large trucks only!

• Use the median island as a halfway point where you can check for approaching traffic.

Motorists:

• Slow down to about 15 mph when approaching the roundabout.

• Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or beginning to cross. Pedestrians have the right of way!

• When the crosswalk is clear, pull up to the yield sign. Yield to vehicles to your left already in the roundabout. Merge into traffic flow when it's safe.

• Continue through the roundabout until you reach your exit. Do not stop or pass in the roundabout.

• Exit the roundabout normally if an emergency vehicle approaches, then pull over. Do not stop for emergency vehicles while in the roundabout.

• Give large trucks extra space in the roundabout.

• Signal when you intend to exit the roundabout.

Bicyclists:

• Choose to cross as a pedestrian or a vehicle based on their comfort level.

• If crossing as a pedestrian, walk your bike across the crosswalk and follow the same rules as pedestrians.

• If crossing as a vehicle, ride with traffic using the full travel lane and stay in line with the other vehicles. Follow all the same rules as vehicles through the roundabout.

For more resources on roundabouts, you can find more information at the Minnesota Department of Transportation website www.dot.state.mn.us/roundabouts or check out the city's recent "City 101" video featuring the roundabout at Twin Bluff Road and Pioneer Road at https://youtu.be/Xe_pWPGIHsc. For any questions or concerns regarding the roundabout, contact the Red Wing Engineering Department at 651-385-3674.

Dean Chamberlain is a staff engineer with the Red Wing Public Works Engineering Department.

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