Roundabout boom includes major Bay Area intersection: Roadshow

Q: I am always stunned and amazed when cities install more traffic signals to “solve” problems. Do they not understand how traffic signals can create congestion?

Glenn Grigg, Cupertino

A: Oh, yes, they do. And that is why many agencies are considering roundabouts more often.

The biggie is coming at the Gilman Street-Interstate 80 interchange in Berkeley. The Alameda County Transportation Commission says two roundabouts are needed in this location because of higher-than-average rates of injury collision and significant roadway deficiencies.

Roundabouts  also are being considered at:

  • Highway 85 and 237 at Middlefield Road in Mountain View
  • Story Road and Keyes Street in San Jose
  • Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court in Danville
  • The 101-156 area in Salinas, where three roundabouts could be installed.
  • The intersection of highways 121 and 116 in Sonoma

A roundabout moves traffic in one direction around a central island to reach one of the roads converging on it. The tight circle of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down, and the most severe types of intersection crashes — right-angle, left-turn and head-on collisions — are unlikely.

An estimated 2½ million accidents in the United States occur every year at intersections. Roundabouts result in a 37% reduction in collisions and a 90% decrease in fatalities.

Roundabouts do tend to produce more fender-benders, and they can confuse drivers not familiar with them.

Q: My husband and I wish we had been informed that Highway 101 between Klamath and Crescent City is totally closed for six hours a day Monday through Friday, due to a landslide that happened in February. The hours of closure are 9-11, 12-2 and 3-5. Even when the road is opened, it is only one lane at the landslide area, so red lights control traffic, allowing 10 southbound cars, 10 northbound, etc.

We drove to Crescent City last week and spent 90 minutes in the hot sun waiting for the road to reopen. If we’d been aware of the closure, we would have timed our arrival better. Google maps did not seem to be aware of this delay. Can get this information to them?

Marilyn Kelly, Mountain View

A: I have. Next time visit Caltrans QuickMap, http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov, for current traffic conditions.

Q: The movie “The Right Stuff” was shown on PBS just a week ago, and Jane Dornacker had a memorable role in the movie. She played the nurse who supervises/administers many of the tests to the Apollo astronaut candidates, and she really stole many of her scenes.

Lynda Martinez, San Jose

A: Jane was a woman of many talents. She was an actress, musician, comedian and helicopter traffic reporter in the Bay Area and New York.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at [email protected] or 408-920-5335.

 

 

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