Roundabout Guide

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Planning and Engineering

Roundabout Guide

Tel: (306) 786-1730
Fax: (306) 786-6880



What is a Modern Roundabout?

A modern roundabout is an unsignalized circular intersection engineered to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay. The intersection design accommodates traffic by a circular flow in a counter clockwise direction around a central island. It operates with a yield control at every entry point, and gives priority to vehicles within the roundabout. At each entry point, traffic is deflected by a "splitter island" that is designed to provide a superior intersection entry angle, slow down the traffic entering the roundabout and reinforce the yielding process.
A Typical Modern Roundabout
A Typical Modern Roundabout

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Turning Patterns 

The figures below show the path that you have to follow when navigating a roundabout. Note: Always stay to the right of the splitter islands, travel in a counterclockwise direction, and always yield to the traffic already in the roundabout.

Turning Parrerns Within a Modern Roundabout
Left Turn Straight Through Right Turn

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How to Navigate a Roundabout

Motor Vehicles
1. As you approach the roundabout, you will come across a pedestrian crosswalk. Slow down and yield to the pedestrians in the crosswalk.
2. Next, look to the left. Yield to the traffic in the roundabout; they have the right-of-way. Approach the yield line and enter the roundabout when there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic flow. If another car is waiting at the yield line ahead of you, do not stop in the crosswalk. Keep it clear for pedestrians.
3. Bicycles are permitted to ride within the roundabout and will be riding in the lane just as other vehicles do. Please do not pass a bicycle in the roundabout.
4. Once you have entered the roundabout, proceed counter-clockwise to your exit. Keep your speed low within the roundabout. You now have the right-of-way.
5. As you approach your exit, turn on your right turn signal. Exit the roundabout, yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
1. Stay on the designated walkways at all times.
2. Cross only at the designated crosswalks.
3. Never cross to the central island.
4. Watch for cars; you have the right-of-way, but your best protection is your own attention.
5. Cross the crosswalk one lane at a time, using the splitter island as a refuge area from traffic before crossing the next lane.
1. If you are comfortable riding in traffic, take the lane and circulate like you are a vehicle, making sure you yield to traffic in the roundabout when you enter.
2. Ride at the speed of the circular roadway to discourage cars from passing you.
3. When you exit the roundabout, use your right hand signal.
4. If you are unsure about using the roundabout, dismount and walk your bike as a pedestrian at the designated crosswalks.
Larger Vehicles (Trucks, Busses)
1. Drive on the circulatory roadway, except large trucks and trailers may use the truck apron provided to negotiate the turning radius. Stay close to the left side of the entry.
2. Drive (usually with just the rear wheels) on the raised pavement of the truck apron to navigate more easily. Cars should not use the truck apron.

Fire Truck in Gladstone Roundabout (556KB wmv)

Remember These General Rules
for Driving a Roundabout:

  • Slow down and watch for traffic signs.
  • Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists as you enter and exit the roundabout.
  • Look to the left for traffic and enter when it is safe to do so.
  • Travel in a counterclockwise direction (i.e. keep to the right of the splitter and centre islands).
  • Keep your speed low within the roundabout. Signal your exit to your destination.

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Bradbrooke Drive and Gladstone Avenue 
Roundabout  Intersection

The Bradbrooke/Gladstone Roundabout is shown in the figure below.

City of Yorkton's Roundabout at the Bradbrooke/Gladstone/King/Winchester Intersection

The Bradbrooke/Gladstone/King/Winchester Roundabout

The intersection is characterized by a large circular island placed in the centre of the intersection. The centre island is surrounded by a stamped concrete pad (as shown in the figure below as the dark ring surrounding the centre island). This pad is designed for trucks and larger vehicles to use when navigating the roundabout. Note that this pad is in place for trucks and large vehicles only, and not for cars to use.

A splitter island is located at each entry point into the roundabout. Since this is a single lane roundabout, traffic is reduced to one lane with the help of these splitter islands. This was designed to ease navigation of the roundabout. The only exception to this is the addition of an extra lane for southbound traffic on Gladstone Avenue turning west onto Bradbrooke Drive to bypass the roundabout. This will allow for increased capacity for the intersection and unimpeded access to the hospital in that direction.

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Roundabout Signage  

What are these signs, and what do they mean?

You are approaching the roundabout.
Slow down.
Prepare to yield ahead at the roundabout.
Look left, and yield to the traffic in the roundabout.
Placed on the centre island, this sign indicates the direction to follow in the roundabout.
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Dracup Avenue/Darlington St. Roundabout (Construction 2017)

A new concrete Roundabout will be installed at the Dracup Avenue/Darlington Street intersection to improve traffic flow and accommodate future growth in the Dracup corridor.

Questions specific to the Dracup/Darlington Roundabout

Q: What work will be carried out to construct the Roundabout?
A: The existing intersection will be excavated and new roadbed constructed. The roundabout structure similar to the existing one on Gladstone South will then be constructed in the intersection, with design changes and size geared to traffic flow efficiency, optimum use of space and accommodation of affected residents as much as possible. The roundabout will be placed to the east of the intersection to facilitate easier resident access.

Q: When will construction work begin on the Dracup Avenue/Darlington Street Roundabout?
A:  This project has been postponed to 2017 due to continuing wet weather causing delays on other city construction projects.

Q: What is the expected completion date for construction of the Dracup Avenue/Darlington Street Roundabout?
A: During the 2017 construction season.

Q: Will there be road closures and detours?
A: The intersection will be completely closed throughout the construction period. Signage will be posted prior to any closures/detours.

Q: Will the Roundabout be able to accommodate Emergency vehicles and trucks if necessary?
A: Yes. In addition, both inside and outside curbs will be rolled (sloped).

Q: How will residents located within the Roundabout zone be affected by Roundabout construction?
A: Access to property in the Roundabout zone is expected to be no different then with the existing controlled intersection.

Q: Why are we using concrete rather than asphalt?
A: Concrete lasts much longer than asphalt and is better for accommodating heavy traffic. The price is marginally different.

Q: Were surrounding residents notified of the project?
A: Yes. A public information meeting, advertised in the media for all businesses and residents affected by the project, was held at the Gallagher Centre April 14, 2016. Affected residents will be advised by letter prior to roundabout construction getting underway.

Q: If we have concerns or questions about the project who should we call?
A: Questions or concerns about the project should be directed to the Public Works Department @ 306-786-1760.

What Do I Do When?

An Emergency Vehicle Approaches the Roundabout:
If you are in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle approaches, turn right at the nearest exit to your location and pull over to the side of the road, keeping the roundabout clear.
A Train is Crossing at King Street:
If you are heading eastbound from the roundabout when a train is crossing King Street, simply pull over and park to the side of the road before you enter the roundabout. Remember, just like any other regular intersection, you cannot stop in the middle of a roundabout. If you are heading in any other direction, proceed into the roundabout as usual.

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Safety Features

Roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal and injury accidents as much as 75%. The reduction in accidents is attributed to slower speeds and a reduced number of conflict points (points at which vehicles and/or pedestrians may collide).
Standard Intersection (32 conflict points) Modern Roundabout (16 conflict points)
The following points also contribute to the lower accident rates:
Conflict/Severity Reduction: The potential for hazardous conflicts, such as right angle and left turn head on crashes, is eliminated. Single-lane approach roundabouts produce greater safety benefits because of fewer potential conflicts between road users, and because pedestrian crossing distances are short.
Reduced and Consistent Speed: Low speeds associated with roundabouts allow drivers more time to react to potential conflicts. Since most road users have low relative speeds, crash severity can be reduced compared to some traditionally controlled intersections.
Pedestrians Crossing One Lane at a Time: Pedestrians need only cross one direction of traffic at a time at each approach as they traverse roundabouts, as compared with regularly controlled intersections.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a roundabout the same as a traffic circle?
No. A roundabout is a circular intersection, but very different from a traffic circle. The primary difference between them is that traffic circles give the right-of-way to entering traffic over traffic already in the circle. That, combined with a large space for merging, lead to much confusion over who had the right-of-way, and subsequently, many accidents. As a result, modern roundabouts have the following traffic rules and designs in place which increase the level of safety dramatically:

Yield at Entry: At roundabouts, the entering traffic yields the right-of-way to the circulating traffic. This yield-at-entry rule keeps traffic from locking up and allows for free flow movement.

Deflection: The splitter and centre island of a roundabout deflects entering traffic and reinforces the yielding process.

Reduced Circulation Speed: Modern roundabouts involve low speeds for entering and circulating traffic, as governed by small diameters and deflected (curved) entrances. In contrast, traffic circles emphasize high-speed merging and weaving, made possible by larger diameters and tangential (straight) entrances.

Why install a roundabout rather than traffic lights?
There are several reasons for this decision. Traffic analysis shows that a roundabout would provide more overall capacity and a higher level of service for the intersection than traffic signals. In the case of the Bradbrooke/Gladstone Roundabout it generates shorter delays for north or southbound traffic, and shorter queues in the westbound direction, which is of particular importance due to the proximity of the rail tracks just east of the intersection. It is the least costly of the two alternatives and it provides traffic calming benefits, environmental benefits (by reducing the amount of idling at the intersection), and provides for enhanced aesthetics.
Why is Yorkton installing roundabouts when other cities are removing theirs?
This misconception originates from the confusion between traffic circles and roundabouts. While other cities have removed some old traffic circles, no roundabouts have been removed. In fact, due to their positive reviews and safety enhancements, roundabouts have become more popular in Canada, with more and more cities installing them.
Where are these other roundabouts located?
There are currently roundabouts in Winnipeg, Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton. Other Canadian cities with roundabouts include, but are not limited to: Whitehorse, YK, Langley BC, Chilliwack BC, Hamilton ON, Kitchener ON, Picton ON, Markham ON, Montreal QC, Halifax NS and St. John's NL. There are hundreds in the United States and thousands around the world.
Are roundabouts ideal for every intersection?
No. Each intersection must be analyzed separately. Factors used in determining intersection control include, but are not limited to: space constraints, current traffic volumes, future traffic volumes, intersection geometrics, level of service analysis, collision history, pedestrian activity and cost. Based on these factors, a roundabout was determined to be the preferred method of intersection control.

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Related Links

Below is a selection of websites with extensive information on roundabouts.

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