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Proposed roundabouts could calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety

The City of Fort Worth is planning to replace two four-way stop intersections with roundabouts to calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety.

The city began construction on Chisholm Trail in 2010, which resulted in road closures and increased traffic along the Bellaire South corridor. The Fort Worth Department of Transportation and Public Works conducted a study on how to best calm the traffic at the intersection and determined roundabouts would be the answer.

The single-lane roundabouts will be constructed on Bellaire Drive South at Briarhaven Road and Overton Woods Drive. Between the two roundabouts, the city will create new pavement markings to delineate a single travel lane, parking lane and pedestrian/bike lane.

Below is the design plan for the lanes leading up to the Bellaire Drive South roundabout.

Proposed layout of Bellaire Drive South travel lane leading to the roundabout.
Proposed layout of Bellaire Drive South travel lane leading to the roundabout.

Roundabouts consultant engineer Sam Delmontte said, “leaving the four-way stop is more dangerous in the long run.”

Four-way stops have 32 vehicle and 24 pedestrian conflict points and four types of possible collisions: right/left angle, head on, read end, and side swipe. Roundabouts have only eight conflict points for both vehicles and pedestrians and two collision types: rear end and side swipe.

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Map of the number of collision points at a four-way stop compared to the collision points at a roundabout.

Stop signs also cause cars to platoon, forming gaps between stopping and starting, according to project manager Mike Bennett. This constant deceleration and acceleration makes people believe they’ve lost time, so once they begin driving after a stop they are more likely to go faster than if they could continue driving undisrupted.

Roundabouts allow drivers to maintain a slow speed rather than coming to a complete stop and accelerating to regain for lost time.

Below is a map of the proposed roundabout at Bellaire Drive South.

Proposed design of the roundabout which will replace the four-way stop at Briarhaven Road.
Proposed design of the roundabout which will replace the four-way stop at Briarhaven Road.

Four-way stops converted into roundabouts see a 40 percent reduction in all types of collisions, 75 percent reduction in injury collisions and 90 percent reduction in fatal collisions, according to the Fort Worth Department of Transportation and Public Works.

Bennett and Delmontte assure citizens this transition towards safety will be worth the temporary inconvenience and construction time.

Design plans will be finalized in spring of 2018 and construction is planned to begin the following fall, lasting approximately 18-24 months.

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