Janis Ramquist submitted this blog to Livable Raleigh. She has been a Wake County resident since 1981. Janis says “I want my grandchildren to enjoy a clean environment, especially with simple choices that are safe and less costly.”

Have you noticed the explosion of four-way stop signs and stop lights? Within weeks more than four four-way stops have been added within a half-mile of my house in the Hayes Barton area (District E). The effect is they HARM the environment.

Fortunately there is a better way that actually decreases the likelihood of crashes and injuries as well as providing a more environmentally-friendly choice. Additionally modern roundabouts and calming measures over time are cheaper for taxpayers. 

The Institute for Highway Safety reported that when modern roundabouts replace stop signs/traffic lights, crashes were reduced by 37 percent while serious crashes fell by 75 percent, and fatalities were reduced by 90 percent.

Since modern roundabouts and other calming measures keep traffic moving at reduced speeds, the result is a significant reduction in carbon emissions. A study of roundabouts in Mississippi found a 56 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. The Federal Highway Administration has found roundabouts cause fewer emissions compared to signalized intersections, and said the difference can be “significant.”  

Carmel, Indiana implemented a massive replacement of stop signs/lights with modern roundabouts throughout the city. The former city engineer for Carmel, Indiana, Mike McBride, estimates that each roundabout saves about 20,000 gallons of fuel annually. At current gas prices, that’s more than $60,000 in savings per roundabout each year. That means the cars of Carmel emit many fewer tons of planet-heating carbon emissions each year and save residents money. 

Surely residents are willing to learn how to drive through modern roundabouts to save the environment, reduce accidents, and save taxpayer costs. With the explosion of new developments, traffic will become substantially worse and Raleigh needs to make better choices now.  Modern roundabouts are compact, lower speed limits, produce continuous traffic flows, and reduce pollution.