A Mini Roundabout for 14th and Amelia Parkway

New Roundabout for 14th Street and Amelia Parkway

Traffic cones guide motorists around road construction at the intersection of 14th Street and Amelia Island Parkway, where a modern roundabout is currently being constructed. The work is now getting into its final stage where it will lead to the closure of 14th Street starting Feb. 5. A detour route will be set up along Simmons and Amelia roads. The road will foreseeably be closed until March 4, according to Nassau County Public Works, which is funding the project.Roundabouts seem to be a growing solution for many high traffic intersections. And this intersection on 14th and Parkway has definitely become very busy and utterly confusing in recent years as traffic turning left onto 14th coming from A1A, for some mysterious reason had to yield to traffic turning right coming from the opposite direction on the Parkway. With about 20 yards to spare between the sign and the parkway, it often felt like standing on a train track between closed gates. Happy that it is changing now.

Coming from Europe, where roundabouts are a very common appearance in traffic, I have always considered it a better and ultimately more cost effective way of traffic control than intersection with traffic lights. The 60’s British Rockband “Yes” even had a hit song with “Roundabout”.
Roundabouts are much safer than both traffic circles and traditional intersections—having 40% fewer vehicle collisions, 80% fewer injuries and 90% fewer serious injuries and fatalities (according to a study of a sampling of roundabouts in the United States, compared with the intersections they replaced). Roundabouts also reduce points of conflict between pedestrians and motor vehicles and are therefore considered to be safer for them as well. At intersections with stop signs or traffic lights, the most serious accidents are right-angle, left-turn, or head-on collisions that can be severe because vehicles may be moving fast and collide at high angles of impact. Roundabouts virtually eliminate those types of crashes because vehicles all travel in the same direction and the few crashes that occur are glancing blows at low angles of impact.

History: The first roundabout was constructed in Paris around the Arc de Triomphe in 1901. The first “recognizable modern roundabout” was New York’s Columbus Circle. However, the widespread use of roundabouts began when British Traffic Engineer Frank Blackmore invented the mini roundabout to overcome the traditional traffic circle’s limitations of capacity and for safety issues. Unlike traffic circles, roundabouts operate with yield control to give priority to circulating traffic and eliminate much of the driver confusion associated with traffic circles and driver wait associated with junctions that have traffic lights.

Roughly the same size as signalled intersections with the same capacity, roundabouts also are significantly smaller in diameter than traffic circles and therefore encourage slower and safer speeds.
Technically all roundabouts on Amelia Island are mini-roundabouts.

Now if only our visitors can get a grip on the flow, we’ll be fine. Remember “all traffic on the roundabout” has the right of way. Of course police cars, fire trucks and ambulances with lights and sirens still want you to give them right of way. Don’t know how this works for funeral processions, but maybe someone can enlighten me.

1 Comment

  1. Jacktar

    it is fun to see the god old boys coming up to the new roud about like deer in the headlights i treat them like a chicane oh sorry you guys just drive round in circles.

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