The Town of Herndon is proposing construction of a circle (roundabout, whatever) at Dranesville Rd. and Park Ave. This is being proposed as a traffic calming measure and seems to me to be unnecessary.
I’ve been traveling this intersection (as either a driver or a passenger) nearly as long as I’ve been alive. Cramming a 90′ circle in this space is a terrible idea for any number of reasons.
Traffic actually moves through this intersection. There’s a church and elementary mere yards to the south, both of which will generate significant queuing of traffic if a circle is put in place. A mile north is Herndon High, which will cram traffic into the circle from the opposite direction.
At present, two out of three directions can continue to move at all times, and traffic approaching from the south (the approach with minimal sustained volume) must stop briefly. It works. With a circle in place, all three directions must slow to a yielding speed most of the time.
There have been relatively few accidents at this intersection, one of which was fatal. As the article points out, most of them were due to driver negligence, not the inability of motorists to navigate what is otherwise a textbook example of a forgiving intersection. The speed limit is twenty-five miles per hour.
The proposal is ugly and industrial. This is one of the nicer and more spacious areas in the Town of Herndon, and a circle is a near-nuclear approach to calming traffic. Speed humps, speed tables raised roadways and even simple signage may be equally effective calming measures and are much less invasive.
There’s also the option of revisiting the numbers. For instance, the total number of accidents, and the total as a percentage of average daily flow. The former statistic is in dispute–the numbers cited by some council members far exceed those reflected in the police records. For all of the infighting with respect to the solution, it might be the case that the scope of the problem doesn’t actually warrant any action at all.