Why are There So Many Roundabouts in Milton?

Published January 29, 2018 at 2:42 pm

It’s been more than seven years, Milton drivers, but if you’re still panicking when you’re going through a roundabout, we’ve got you.

It’s been more than seven years, Milton drivers, but if you’re still panicking when you’re going through a roundabout, we’ve got you.

And you can try your best to avoid them (the way I did parallel parking for years) but at some point you’ve got to face your fears — behind the wheel, or otherwise.

Halton Region opened its first dual-lane roundabout, at Tremaine Rd. (Regional Road 22) and Main St. in Milton in Nov. 2011.

There are at least five roundabouts in Halton Region:

  • Tenth Line at 10 Sideroad – Georgetown.
  • Tremaine Rd. at Main St. – Milton.
  • Tremaine Rd. at Steeles Ave. – Milton.
  • Tremaine Rd. at Britannia Rd.  – Milton.
  • Tremaine Rd. at Louis St .Laurent Ave. – Milton

“In the case of Tremaine Road, this was largely a rural area that did not have the traffic flow that we see today,” said Halton Region spokesperson Katherine Wood.

“As the area started to develop and grow, Halton Region chose to create the roundabouts as they have a proven track record of improving safety and traffic flow, while also having environmental benefits due to reduced idling.”

And since they’re popping up all over the place, do you even know how to drive in a roundabout? 

Here’s some advice from Halton Region:

Using a roundabout is very similar to making a right turn from a stop sign or traffic light.

At either of these, a right-turning driver stops at the stop bar, looks for conflicting traffic coming from the left, chooses an acceptable gap in the traffic flow, and then turns right onto the cross street.

At a roundabout, there are a few things that drivers need to remember.

  • Yield: driver approaches the yield line, looks for conflicting traffic coming from the left.
  • Choose a lane: Find a gap in the traffic flow, and enter with a right turn at the yield sign using the appropriate lane. Observe posted signs or see “Which lane do I use?”.
  • Go slow: Once inside the roundabout, a driver continues circling counter-clockwise until exiting, never stopping within.
  • Exit: To leave a roundabout, you also manoeuvre to the right, remaining within your chosen lane.

Here’s a video tutorial.

As part of regional planning, locations are selected based on a number of factors including traffic flow and upcoming development in the area.  

While roundabouts are a relatively new type of intersection in Halton, they are becoming more common in surrounding municipalities as evidence of their benefits grows. Not only are they safe, they also improve traffic flow and are cost effective, according to the Region.

Lower Speeds: Motorists entering a roundabout must yield to oncoming traffic. This slows down the traffic flow without stopping it and is proven safer than traffic lights where higher speed collisions occur.

Fewer Delays: A standard stop sign or traffic signal controlled intersection always has at least one direction of traffic stopped. A roundabout uses yield-at-entry traffic control to eliminate stopping when it’s not required.

Fewer Crashes: Roundabouts benefit from good geometry, exhibiting only a fraction of the troublesome crash patterns typical of right-angle intersections. In addition, since all vehicles are travelling in the same direction and at a lower speed in a roundabout, crashes are generally less severe. Left-hand, right-angle (T-bone) and head-on crashes are virtually eliminated by a roundabout.

Less Air and Noise Pollution: Vehicles entering a roundabout must yield at entry, but are not required to stop if the roundabout is clear. This eliminates some stop-and-go traffic associated with a stop sign or traffic signal controlled intersections. This leads to fewer vehicles idling while stopped at an intersection, which reduces the amount of vehicle emissions. Additionally, slow moving traffic makes less noise than traffic that stops and starts, resulting in quieter neighbourhoods.

Lower Maintenance: A traffic light requires electricity 24-hours a day and requires staff time to maintain regular operation. Typically, roundabouts only need electricity for streetlights at night and maintenance for landscaping, making them easier than traffic lights to maintain.

Source: Halton Region

Do you think roundabouts make for safer driving in Halton?

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