Let me start by saying I’m no transportation or urban planning expert, not by any stretch. I follow a couple of interesting transit accounts on Twitter that get me excited and thinking more about how we all move about in a city. I was having a conversation last week with a few of our editors when I posed the question: Why aren’t there more roundabouts in Champaign-Urbana? I do realize it was an odd question to ask in a lot of ways, given that we live in America and they are generally uncommon, but something that was on my mind when I noticed the City of Champaign installing a four-way stop sign on the north side of town.
There’s no doubt that building and implementing roundabouts cost more money than just plopping in four stop signs around an intersection and calling it a day. Obviously, that makes sense, as there’s a lot of planning involved to that sorta thing. I’m not unreasonable enough to dismiss that notion, but I did think it would be kind of fun if there were more here, you know?
Have you ever driven around a roundabout and thought about how much fun you were having while you were doing it? Let’s face it, no one likes to stop when they don’t need to, and cars, pedestrians, bikes, and other styles of vehicles can move about harmoniously. It had me thinking about where roundabouts are in C-U (the only one I can think of is by Starbucks near Harvest Market), and I struggle to think of more. That’s probably a terrible example given the amount of congestion that comes out of that Starbucks, but alas, I continue.
I thought this video summed it up well, and when they pointed out that Carmel, Indiana, a town with a population of under 100,000, has the most roundabouts in America, I was intrigued further:
We’ve talked about some of our desires here, and remember this much-debated op-ed we published last year discussing intersections, roads, and whatnot. Think about all of the awesome things we could put inside of them too, with more green space, less pavement, and more fun. The thought of public art being in the center, like the photo above, seems interesting.
Anyway, perhaps I’m alone on this, but maybe I’m not the only one. I know the idea and concept is farfetched given how solidified stuff like this becomes, but here goes nothing.