|Billy L. Hattaway, P.E.||July 1, 2002|
I have reviewed the proposed language requiring pedestrian activated signals at each roundabout crosswalk and would like to comment on the proposed language. While I am now in the private sector, I spent the last 23+ years working at Florida Department of Transportation in positions such as the District Five Design Engineer, State Roadway Design Engineer and most recently, Director, Office of Design. I have been a strong advocate for pedestrian and bicycle issues during my tenure, and will continue to be. I am involved in the Congress for New Urbanism, and have a serious commitment to walkable and livable communities. I would like you to consider my comments in view of my background.
While I have concerns for the safety of all pedestrians using transportation facilities, I believe the proposed requirement would create an undue constraint on the use of roundabouts, potentially eliminating their use in many locations at the state and local level. The budgets of all government entities are already stretched thin, so maximizing the opportunities for safety improvements is very important. Roundabouts improve safety for vehicles compared with traditional intersections by keeping the speeds low and reducing conflict points. The article states that often "Pedestrians report that vehicles at roundabouts, as well as at other unsignalized crossings, often do not yield for pedestrians." I believe that to be true, and believe that those who would not yield to a pedestrian (sighted or otherwise) in a roundabout are the same who will not stop for the same pedestrian in any crosswalk, whether in a roundabout, a yield condition, stop sign, or signals with right turn on red. There are many factors that impact pedestrian use of roundabouts and their exposure, such as the volume of traffic, the roundabout's geometry - which affects entry and exit speeds, and the volume of pedestrian traffic.
Before requiring pedestrian activated signals at every crosswalk within a roundabout, we should allow practicing engineers to deal with each site individually and do what is best for that location. We have a responsibility to provide improved safety for everyone using our transportation systems, and since money is always an issue in making those decisions, we need to use it wisely, where it is most needed. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
Billy L. Hattaway, P.E.
Vice President, Transportation Program Manager Baskerville-Donovan, Inc.
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