Roundabout set to open soon on campus' south side
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will add a traffic control feature that was popularized in Europe and has caught on in the United States.
A roundabout at the intersection of Martin Jischke Drive and Harrison Street on the south side of campus is scheduled to open in December, weather permitting.
Roundabouts are small, circular intersections designed for traffic to travel counter-clockwise around a central island at speeds of approximately 15-20 mph.
"Roundabouts provide many benefits. Certainly, the most important is that they increase traffic safety because they slow down traffic and vehicles move in the same direction," Purdue police Chief John Cox said.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a national group that has studied the safety of the traffic devices, estimates that at single-lane roundabouts, fatalities have been reduced by as much as 90 percent, injuries by 70 percent and all crashes by 40 percent.
But traffic safety isn't the only benefit. Roundabouts are designed to add green space, enhance aesthetic beauty, cut down emissions from vehicles that would sit idle at intersections and save on fuel costs, said James Knapp, a senior civil engineer in Purdue's Department of Physical and Capital Planning.
The addition of the roundabout is part of the larger U.S. 231 bypass project, which will ease traffic congestion around West Lafayette and Purdue's campus. The bypass is scheduled to be completed in 2013, Knapp said.
Federal funding will cover 80 percent of the roundabout's $6.4 million cost, he said. Purdue and the city of West Lafayette are covering 10 percent each. The city is the lead entity on the project.
Tips for navigating through a roundabout include:
* Look to the left and enter the roundabout if traffic is cleared. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, do not stop.
* Motorists traveling through roundabouts should keep their vehicle in the same lane from the time they enter until they exit and allow extra room for buses, trucks and vehicles with trailers.
*Motorists in the roundabout have the right of way and should not stop for vehicles waiting to enter the roundabout.
Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, email@example.com
Sources: John Cox, 765-494-8221, firstname.lastname@example.org
James Knapp, 765-494-3417, email@example.com