Drivers Acclimate to Roundabout as Schools Open

Change is never easy, particularly in Clarke County, but change is what drivers are getting in the Town of Berryville as the new roundabout opens at the intersection of Main Street and Westwood Road just in time for the first day of school.

The roundabout remains under construction, but Michael Fulcher, project manager for VDOT, said that the contractor has achieved substantial completion of the first phase of work. Phase two will add the center island and the splitting islands that will direct traffic into the circle from each direction. VDOT expects that work to be completed in approximately one month.

In the meantime, orange and white barrels have been placed throughout the intersection in lieu of the curbs.

To help drivers acclimate to the county’s first roundabout VDOT has installed several variable message boards to make drivers aware of the new traffic pattern. Drivers using the new intersection are approaching it with measured caution. However, some are already reporting incidents of drivers taking wrong turns. Fulcher said that anecdotal observations have shown the intersection is working well.

Temporary signage will be in place for at least thirty days. Officials say this will give drivers who regularly use the intersection time to adapt.

The fourth leg of the new intersection is closed as the Mosby Boulevard extension into the school remains under construction. This leaves a key access point to the school unavailable and will force high school traffic through the Battlefield Estates neighborhood. Fulcher said that the Mosby extension is not scheduled for completion until April of 2013.

Below is material produced by VDOT with instructions for driving in  roundabouts.

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How Do I Drive in Roundabouts?

Right turns

  • Slow down and prepare to yield to traffic as you approach the roundabout.
  • On the approach, if it is a dual lane roundabout, you must be in the right lane.
  • You must yield to the traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Stay to the right as you approach your turn.
  • Place your right turn signal on until you have exited the roundabout.

Note: Cars in the figures show the position prior to the maneuver.

Roundabout -- right turns

Making a right turn in a roundabout.

Straight ahead

  • Slow down and prepare to yield as you approach the roundabout.
  • Unless signs or lane markings indicate an exclusive right turn, approach in the right lane and stay in that lane through the roundabout.
  • If this is a two-lane roundabout and the right lane is blocked by dense traffic or a road obstruction, approach and continue through the roundabout in the left lane.
  • You must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Display your right turn signal just past the exit before the one you plan to use.

Roundabout -- Straight ahead

Driving straight ahead through a roundabout.

Left turn or U-turn

  • Slow down and prepare to yield as you approach the roundabout.
  • Enter the roundabout in the left lane (if it is a two-lane approach) and stay in that lane throughout the roundabout.
  • You must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Signal your turn just past the exit prior to the one you will use.

Roundabout -- left or u-turn

Making a left turn in a roundabout.

Remember

  • Always yield to pedestrians who may be crossing the road as you approach the roundabout.
  • Always watch for pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists.
  • Buses and trucks may need more than one lane to enter or leave a roundabout. Keep clear of them.
  • Always yield to vehicles that are in the roundabout.

 

Comments

  1. Orville Boggs says:

    Correct me if im wrong but the signage @ this roundabout does not match the pattern shown in the diagram.

    The signage at the Berryville Round about shows a driver going around full circle to make a right hand turn.
    In other words one would come to the circle and if the driver wants to turn right he or she would go around the circle and basically making a “Loop”.

    Don’t believe me go look….

    I have used the Roundabouts on route 50 many times, and that’s not how they work over there… That’s why the signage struck me as odd…

  2. The traffic “planning” is humorous. They put electric billboards on main street telling people to take Jackson Dr to Mosby Blvd. So drivers coming down the hill have to WAIT to make a LEFT turn, thus backing traffic up the hill, onto Jackson, where the traffic was backed up all the way to main street, because,
    they have to wait to make another LEFT turn onto Mosby. You would be better served making a the turn at the light on 340 at the Food Lion. OR just coming off rt 7 where you make a right, a right and then straight onto Mosby

  3. They need too get all those barrels out of there. They add to the confusion and block a drivers line of sight.

    • If you’re looking at the other side of a modern roundabout when you’re entering, you’re driving unsafely. Drivers entering a modern roundabout should first look for pedestrians, then watch for other motorists coming from the left and then watch for pedestrians when exiting. The motorist on the other side of the circle won’t get to you for 5 or ten seconds.

  4. Go around the circle is for TRUCKS – read the sign.

  5. Richie Blick says:

    Thankfully VDOT dug out the pavement in the middle of the circle. Maybe with some plantings (or Art!!) it will have some added character. I like roundabouts and it will make a good addition to the town once people get used to it and once the overkill of signs are gone. If you don’t know what yield means then you should not be driving. I used the circle this morning and it worked well – much better than an intersection.

  6. In Europe, traffic round-a-bouts are very common. In Massachusetts, they are called ROTARY.

  7. Chuck E. Cheese says:

    I say they put a Big Bronze “Eagle” in the middle of the round about!

    • That would be neat looking, but a real life experience while stationed in England tells me it could also be a bad idea.

      One morning I was driving to work. It was snowing, which was unusual for the part of England in which I was stationed. It’s early, still dark and I’m driving along about 20 mph. The roads were slick and snow covered and visablilty wasn’t great. Well, here comes moron around me doing 30-40 mph. He passes, and I see his tail lights growing smaller and starting to disappear as the visability obscured them. About the time I was thinking, “He’s gonna have a tough time slowing down for that roundabout at that speed” I saw his tail lights go slightly up in the air and then disappear.

      Sure enough, as I approached the round about I saw his tire tracks, and I saw the swiveled skids in the snow, and I saw his tire tracks go straight up and over the small hill in the middle of the round about.

      I caught up with the guy about a quarter mile down the road from the roundabout, doing about 5 mph and hugging his wheel with a death grip I thought he’d never be able to unclamp

      Was it bad that I snickered?

      So like I said, an eagle statue would look really cool, but could well end up in pieces at the hands of a driver that’s not paying attention.

  8. Councilman Kitselman should volunteer to direct traffic on the disastrous road he forced into the community. In spite of the fact that no one wanted the road and he couldn’t show a real need for it, he forced it through the school property. Then he didn’t have the wherewithal to get it completed in time for the opening of the new high school. Now it won’t be open till almost the end of the first school year. Way to go! Another win for our town council.

    Highest water and sewer rates in the state…Check
    Traffic disaster at a brands new school…Check

    WINNING!!!!

  9. Got-A-Dollar says:

    When the roundabout and the extension to Mosby Blvd is completed, officials should not allow a left turn into D.G.Cooley from westbound Main St. or a left turn onto Jackson from eastbound Main St. between
    7:30 to 8:30 AM and 2:30 to 3:30 PM. Traffic would flow without back-ups.
    LISTEN local officals a marked pedestrian crosswalk is deparately needed at Jackson and Main before someone is rundown. Police could write tickets all day for cars that do not stop at that intersection.

    • My 2 Cents says:

      Were the Town Police set up this morning to try and catch speeders? I don’t have to go that way and I’m curious……

    • If they didn’t allow a left turn at the round about to get to Dg coolie. How would I drop my kid off? I won’t go in the drop off/pick up line when it’s backed out onto the street. It’s very dangerous. The town needs to seriously consider this problem! They need to stop wasting money on things we don’t really need!

    • ElinorDashwood says:

      My children ride a school bus so I haven’t experienced the roundabout in the morning or after school, last night after the game was my first time using it during heavy traffic and it appeared to work well. I have used roundabouts all over and they work quite well, They always have yield signs, which means to slow down and yield to any vehicle already in the roundabout, if there aren’t any, you keep going. I’m just curious about your statement about police writing tickets for vehicles not ‘stopping’ at the roundabout, have they been doing this?
      And I completely agree about a crosswalk, large and well marked, especially if the teams and band kids are going to be walking back to the new school in the dark after every home game.

      • There IS a crosswalk set up there from Cooley over to the northern side of Business 7, and there’s one crossing the soon-to-be-finished extension of Mosby. Once the work is done, with those concrete “islands” in place and the final layer of asphalt down, it’ll look a whole lot better. Folks just need to “simmah down now” and pay attention.

  10. Dmaxnjackson says:

    What about the sign that say’s “Tractor tralors for right” ? I do not drive a TT, but it is just confusing to me.

  11. My 2 Cents says:

    Were the Town Police patroling the area this morning? Just curious….

  12. DAWN PRICE says:

    SAW 2 NOT YIELD THIS MORNING AND ALMOST HIT ONCOMING CARS . TO MANY COLORS TO NOT SEE THE YIELD SIGN WELL ENOUGH . SO LOVE RING AROUND THE ROSIE BEFORE SCHOOL . PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO OTHERS WHILE YOU ARE IN THE RING .

  13. Why is traffic backed up on 7 now as they wait to make a left turn onto Jackson Street when there is an entrance right into the new school right before you get to Jackson…just let them use that! Makes no sense to me, say that is for buses only….well learn to share the road!

  14. The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Search http://www.iihs.org for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works (or the ‘keep going fast’ large traffic circle fantasy). The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,400 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.
    Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.

  15. They need to fix the yield sign at the end of main street. When you make a left turn from 7 who is supposed to yield? i would think the cars coming from Winchester as they have a better line of sight.

    • The yield is for those who made that left turn onto Business 7 from the bypass there by the funeral home (going from westward direction to an eastward direction), Dave. Been that way for years, and the sign is angled as such.

  16. Both ends of Jackson have accident written all over them. They really should make all traffic enter from 340 and Mosby

  17. Brenda L Barr says:

    I didn’t realize a crosswalk isn’t painted at Jackson, thanks to who pointed that out.

    Our observation: the roundabout had students walking through it crossing from DG Cooley. Two young ladies weren’t sure what traffic was supposed to do and eventually surged forward. The fellows observing ( many hard hats and one suit) made no intervention. The barrels obscured drivers view of pedestrians in any direction. Parents, share with kids who are walking through to be cautious.

    On Jackson, the back up was tremendous that folks were pulling over to drop off their students and then U turning out of line. Also a van pulled over at Jackson and Main right at the corner and immediately parked on the left during this busy time.

    Mr. O’Brien at Lincoln and Main had everything in control, as usual with a smile and a wave. Welcome Back Mr . O ! Good to see ya! We appreciate and thank you!

    • There is a crosswalk there, but it is not well marked or lit, and is much too close to the roundabout (very dangerous coming from west to east on Main Street), as you encounter the crosswalk just prior to the roundabout, and by that point your attention is focused ahead on the traffic in the roundabout.

      In short, it is an accident waiting to happen.

      Ditto the crosswalk on East Main by the old library as far as being not well marked.