Category Archives: sprawl

Hospitals: To Sprawl Or Not To Sprawl

The last few times I have visited my home state of Indiana, I have noticed a number of new hospitals recently opened or being constructed along the I-69 corridor in the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne regions.  Along I-69 north of I-465 in Indianapolis, it seems like new hospitals are rising from the cornfields at each interchange. IU Saxony Hospital, Community Hospital, and St. Vincent Hospital have all recently migrated to this corridor between Indianapolis and Anderson. The map below does not even include the pre-existing Riverview Hospital in Noblesville (just above the top of the map) or the two existing hospitals in Anderson (Community and Saint John’s) located about 10 miles to the east.

Granted, this area is growing very rapidly, but are all these satellite hospitals really necessary? Particularly in one narrow corridor? Indianapolis is not alone in this migration in Indiana. Below are multiple examples from Fort Wayne.

View of Parkview when it was under construction (I-69 in the foreground)
Source: fwdailynews.com

In Fort Wayne, both Lutheran-DuPont Hospital and Parkview Regional Medical Center have opened new facilities at the northern fringes of town at I-69 and DuPont Road (see photos above and below). Parkview’s campus is so large (just opened in March 2012) that a new interchange is being constructed to the north of the complex to accommodate the increased area traffic. On the southwest side of Fort Wayne,  Lutheran Hospital completed a large multi-structure campus several years ago at the corner of the I-69 and U.S. 24 interchange (see campus map below).

Lutheran Hospital campus map
Source: lhnbariatrics.com

 

Each of these new campus facilities have been followed quickly by a myriad of hotels, restaurants, apartments, medical office buildings, and other ancillary facilities, creating economic development boomlets at the interchanges. Being situated adjacent to freeway interchanges can provide speedy emergency access for these wealthy suburban areas (until gridlock develops there too) and the so-called “regional” reach of a hospital, but is promoting sprawl really beneficial to a community’s health? I doubt it.

And what about emergency services for inner city residents and the poor–doesn’t a suburban/exurban campus present the same reverse commuting difficulties that suburban employment centers do?

As a comparison, none of the major hospitals here in Greater Lansing have built suburban campuses in Mid-Michigan. SparrowMcClaren-Lansing, and Sparrow-St. Lawrence are all situated at midtown locations. Personally, I see this as a very positive health and land use planning attribute for Greater Lansing because:

  • The midtown locations help maintain the viability of the adjoining inner city neighborhoods.
  • Staying put at midtown locations lessons the potential for continued suburban sprawl.
  • Midtown locations are easier for the poor and disadvantaged to access by public transit, bicycle, or on foot.
  • Far-flung suburban and exurban locations do nothing to promote active transportation options for employees. Try bicycling to a campus off an interstate exit – usually not easy or safe.
  • The suburban/exurban locations promote greater use of automobiles thus contributing to greater pollution, more congestion, and poor sedentary lifestyles.
  • Remaining at midtown locations helps promote revitalization, redevelopment, social justice, and social equity.
  • A midtown location is more accessible regionally from all compass directions.

Rick Brown

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Will Greater Cleveland Squander $5 Million for Sustainability Planning?

This post originally appeared on Streetsblog.

The Obama Administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative was tailor made for communities like greater Cleveland. Northeast Ohio has been sprawling for decades without adding any population, emptying out the notoriously troubled central city while the regional economy consistently under-performs.

During the last decade the city of Cleveland lost 17 percent of its population. Inner-ring suburbs didn’t fare much better, shedding five to eight percent. Meanwhile, exurban Avon — a tax haven built on cleared forests and farmland 25 miles distant from the center city — grew 85 percent. Northeast Ohio had never undertaken a formal regional planning effort to address the rapid abandonment of its urban areas for unplanned, exurban development.

A leveled forest in Avon will make way for big box stores.

Northeast Ohio’s metropolitan planning organization, NOACA, has always been careful never seldom to use the word “sprawl” in its documents. Its outgoing director, Howard Maier, absolves himself by pointing to the fact that state and federal law have not given metropolitan planning agencies specific powers to do land use planning. Of course, neither has the law forbidden land use planning, as many other regions can attest. (Disclosure: I have publicly criticized Maier and this policy in Cleveland, where I live.)

When HUD distributed Sustainable Communities Planning Grants a few years ago — offering communities a chance to evaluate how local transportation, housing and environmental efforts could be better coordinated — local philanthropic leaders jumped at the opportunity. The region was awarded $4.3 million to create a plan for regional sustainability over three years. Local sources also contributed $500,000.

Of course, winning a grant and mustering the political will to do some actual transformative planning are two different things. Right now there is a fierce internal struggle going on within Northeast Ohio’s Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC), and the outcome could determine whether the region puts the $5 million grant to good use or wastes a rare opportunity.

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Is the Rust Belt Starting to "Get It" on Bicycling?

Photo: Flickr user DewCon, LaCrosse, Wisconsin

At the conclusion of this post is a list of Rust Belt metropolitan areas where clusters of bicycle-friendly organizations (communities, colleges, and businesses) have agglomerated. The numbers are based on those organizations which have been recognized as “bicycle-friendly” by the League of American Bicyclists. These clusters are important for several reasons:

  • The data shows that more places are “getting it,” not just “progressive” enclaves.
  • They show that coordinated efforts are taking place in a variety of metropolitan areas, and broadly within each metropolitan area, not just in lone islands of bike friendliness.
  • They show healthy participation by the public sector, private sector, and by non-profits.
  • The data shows that one smaller Rust Belt metropolitan area deserves extra special recognition for the extent of bicycle-friendly organizations in their community compared to much larger urban areas – La Crosse, Wisconsin. On a per capita basis, La Crosse is definitely the most bicycle-friendly metropolitan area in the Rust Belt and may be in the entire country.

Source: cityoflacrosse.org

If your Rust Belt metropolitan area is not included in the list, consider contacting your local public officials, area business leaders, and local educational institutions or non-profits and ask them if they have considered becoming a bicycle friendly organization. If not, then ask them why not?

There is a good possibility that those metropolitan areas that fail to act soon will be left in the proverbial wake of the active/non-motorized transportation revolution. We are at an important crossroads in the Rust Belt, working to remain competitive in the 21st century. Being left behind from a dynamic trend of active transportation could spell the difference between future economic growth or gradual economic decline. Fortunately, those cities listed below, such as La Crosse, Wisconsin have taken the important steps necessary to define their future in a positive (and healthy) manner.

Here is the list:

  • (29) Twin Cities, MN – two communities, one university, and 26 businesses
  • (18) Pittsburgh, PA – one community, one university, and 16 businesses
  • (15) Indianapolis, IN – three communities and 12 businesses
  • (15) Madison, WI
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    two communities, one university, and 12 businesses

  • (14) La Crosse, WI/MN – one community and 13 businesses
  • (11) Chicago, IL/IN/WI – three communities and eight businesses
  • (10) Philadelphia, PA/NJ/DE – two communities and eight businesses
  • (6) Bloomington, IN – one community, one university, and four businesses
  • (6) Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, IA – two communities and three businesses
  • (6) Columbus, OH – one community, one university, and four businesses
  • (5) Champaign-Urbana, IL – one community and four businesses
  • (5) Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI – one community, one university, and three businesses
  • (5) Grand Rapids, MI – one community and four businesses
  • (5) South Bend-Elkhart, IN/MI – two communities and three businesses
  • (4) Burlington, VT – one community, one university, and two businesses
  • (4) Greater Lansing, MI – one community, one university, and two businesses

Rick Brown

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Filed under Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Politics, Public Transportation, sprawl, the environment, Urban Planning

Renaissance or Ruination?

This post originally ran in Reader Area Development.

When the Pekin Mall opened its doors for business on September 20, 1972, it opened with 53 stores and space for 3,150 cars. At the time of the grand opening, the mall boasted four anchor stores: Bergner’s, J.C. Penney, Murphy Mart, and A&P Food. It was a new era, a time of excitement, and the structure was deemed a modern marvel in the eyes of the residents. Due to the sheer size of the building and accommodations for parking, it was necessary to build such a structure further away from the core of the herbal viagra city. This type of development was completely different than that of past generations, which used to include a mix of uses, a densely populated core, and accessibility by foot or bicycle. From this point in the history of Pekin, it was clear that consumers would be reaching their future shopping needs by automobiles. With the implementation of single-use zoning already in place throughout America, it was predicted and assumed that future developments would fill the space down Court Street leading out to the mall which is approximately three miles from the downtown district and the core of the city.

As is the case in developments that were built all at once (as all malls are), its economic weaknesses were bound to show over time. The mall itself was hailed as a local success at the time because the effects of unanticipated consequences on the current economy had yet to be seen. Pekin carried on with the new, modern way of development.

Just like children with a new toy, Pekin residents of the city quickly forgot about its older buildings and places. The historic, centrally located downtown could not compete with such a massive, non-organic shift away from its core. Two years after the opening of the Pekin Mall in 1974, the Illinois Department of Transportation completed an “improvement” project involving the construction of a new, vehicle-only bridge leading into town from the west across the Illinois River. The street system of the downtown was also reconfigured at the same point twitter.com to allow for a much more rapid movement of traffic from the bridge moving eastward through the city. It dramatically affected the downtown by dissecting it with its multi-lane, higher speed, one-way streets. It was engineered at the time with only automobiles in mind. It was only a matter of time before businesses started to drop by the wayside or tried to locate closer to where the new shift of consumer spending was located.

Momentum was added to this non-traditional style of development when new subdivisions were created in between the original city street network and the newly created shopping oasis on the outside of town. These newer homes did not have accessibility to either places of the city. Without a properly integrated and convenient street infrastructure, use of the automobile became mandatory.

During this time of expansion which coincided with the regulations set by single-use zoning, more land and density were sacrificed as a result. A tried and true method of city planning was put on the shelf. As consumers shifted their focus further away from the city, business owners relocated to be closer to where the consumers were, and the governing bodies followed suit and continued this form of growth. It would be the start of a self-validating behavior.

The developments are not built to a human scale, as buildings are set back far from the street, there are no sidewalks, and one-story, single-use structures dominate the area.

The population levels throughout the years have increased meagerly as compared to the amount of land used for development. Per the 1970 U.S. Census, there were 31,375 persons living in Pekin. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 34,097 persons reported to be living within Pekin. Over the four-decade span, surrounding communities have seen their populations rise. Having the same set of guidelines for development, other cities grew their economies by providing the consumer needs that their citizens required. In only a short time after the Pekin Mall opened, Northwoods Mall in Peoria opened in direct competition. Pekin was no longer considered a destination for its mall due to similar developments in closer proximity to surrounding communities.

With neighboring communities able to provide comparable goods and services for its residents, a chain reaction took place. The result was a reduction of consumer spending in Pekin that would lead to the slow deterioration of the mall itself. Other nearby places of commerce hung on fearfully. In places such as the abandoned downtown where businesses had exited earlier to be closer to the radius of consumer spending, blight quickly followed. Some of these buildings lie vacant while others have been demolished or lie in ruin, waiting to be redeveloped. Spaces originally designated for commercial uses around Pekin Mall sit empty as there is nothing else they can be used for under self-imposed single-use zoning restrictions.

Presently, both areas now lack critical characteristics of economic diversity, such as mixed use, a connective multi-modal transportation network, and density, resulting in a paradox of existence. Solely providing goods and services to be purchased in an area is not enough. There are not enough residents in close proximity to provide a constant flow of people. Offices and industrial uses are isolated and dispersed in their single-use-only zones of the city – each disconnected in their own respects. There is no basic connection between people and the places in which they need to live, work, shop, and play, which is a fundamental necessity to the economic prosperity of a city.

The need for convenience has always been at the forefront of human consciousness. In a new world with new demands for conveniences, the evolving consumer demands were highlighted in places such as the Pekin Mall. Due to the lack of connection with the rest of the city in an easily reachable, diverse setting, the mall had to find a strategic advantage. As the average American worker continues to work longer hours, the mall stayed open later to meet the needs of its evolving consumers. The cost of operations to maintain convenience has subsequently put many retailers, restaurants, and service providers out of cialis price business. Conversely, small business entrepreneurs are put in the position to compete and operate at the same capacity. But without having comparable economies of scale they struggle to exist.

A current economic recession lingers. The Pekin Mall has since closed its doors. A retrofitting of sorts began to take place in 2001 to salvage the land and the place in the consumers’ minds where shopping used to exist. Bergner’s stands alone as the only anchor to outlast the life of the mall and other competition. The stores and restaurants that used to be housed all under one roof have been scattered along Court Street. They appear in the form of nationally operated big box stores and fast-food chains – each having their own separate single-use parcels of land equipped with their own self-serving parking. The new anchor stores of East Court Street are Walmart, Menard’s, Staples, Dunham’s Sports, and the ever-resilient Bergner’s. These mammoth buildings include seas of parking solely for their customers. The new food court is now drive-thru or take out friendly. Applebee’s, Culver’s, Wendy’s, Steak ‘n Shake, and Sonic make up the culinary scene of the east. From time to time, small local businesses will try to locate in or near where the perceived action is only to find higher lease prices and longer store hours to compete for a piece of market share.

The marketplace is full of indicators of what the market truly desires. When the core of the city was displaced, so was its sense of place. In response, developers have created spaces labeled as villages, centers, plazas, squares, and so on to meet the intrinsic needs of the American consumers. Corporations have understood this as well, providing a “Neighborhood Bar & https://twitter.com/drjonesbilly Grill” where a neighborhood doesn’t exist. What was genuine and authentic has been replaced by a faux reality.

What modern style developments like the Pekin Mall and its now helter-skelter remains are missing today is what it has always lacked – a mix of uses, proximity to its consumers, and a densely-situated setting to make it conveniently accessible by human means of transportation. The toll taken on other parts of the city while this experiment of development happened has been severe and long-lasting. Without the needed conditions that create diversity, a place stands only by itself. Increasing diversity strengthens the foundation in which cities can sustain themselves longer. A mixed-use development with a dense core that is not dependent on automobiles will produce the desired economic results; however, it cannot be built in a day. It must take place slowly and evolve organically over generations. As they say, “Rome was not built in a day.”

–By Erik Reader

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Destined to fail: Rust Belt cities without rail

Buffalo Metro Rail - Source: lightrailnow.org

Yes. I do believe this to be an accurate statement over the long run. Frankly, any major American city that solely relies on streets and highways for its transportation network will fail to remain competitive and will falter economically over time. That includes cities with bus transit systems that rely on the same streets and highways.

By rail, I am including subways, commuter rail, or light rail (tram, trolley, and modern streetcar). I am not including BRT (bus rapid transit), because they use the same thoroughfares as traditional buses and automobiles. Even the sprawling cities of the south and west, like Dallas-Forth Worth, South Florida, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and Salt Lake City have learned that they cannot rely solely on streets and highways to efficiently operate a regional transportation network.

Sadly, too few Rust Belt cities are heeding this message. There is talk, but for the most part only talk, about adding some sort of rail service here and there, but it is hardly focused. Detroit is a perfect example of a large city that has vastly over-relied on streets and highways. Hence, it is largely sprawled out in a low-density spatial pattern that helps hinder its recovery. The hope for a 3.4 mile light rail line down Woodward Avenue recently faded as the design has now been altered to a BRT. While better than nothing, canada drugs online cialis BRT’s do not have the WOW factor of rail.

Other sizeable Rust Belt cities currently missing the train include Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Rochester, Akron-Canton, Syracuse, Albany, Hartford, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Toledo, Dayton, Greater Lansing, and Grand Rapids.

Why do I think incorporating rail is so important to the long-term viability of our Rust Belt cities? Several reasons:

  • A city’s transportation infrastructure must be comprehensive and multi-modal, not solely focused or over-weighted toward a single element. Should that single element fail (i.e. the I-35 bridge in the Twin Cities) the whole system is impacted.
  • A multi-modal transportation approach is much more environmentally sustainable in an era of higher energy costs, aging populations, global warming, and climate change.
  • A multi-modal transportation approach is more affordable and approachable to the less fortunate and helps foster greater social equity within the community.
  • Incorporating rail into a region’s infrastructure helps make the city more competitive nationally and globally by reducing transportation network delays, commuting times, and overall congestion.
  • With the exception of subways, commuter rail and light rail service are significantly less disruptive to the continuity and social fabric of the community than new highway construction.
  • Incorporating rail services into a region’s transportation program encourages redevelopment and reinvestment in older neighborhoods, while also increasing densities along and near the rail corridors.
  • Rail services are beneficial toward placemaking.
  • Rail services does not carry the latent social stigmas and stereotypes of bus transit service.

[As an occasional bus commuter myself, I questioned the continued existence of the last bullet point in the 21st century. That was until I overheard comments during a forum whether to develop a modern streetcar or bus rapid transit corridor. Apparently, certain segments of the population continue to associate bus transit service with the poor, immigrants, and the disadvantaged. While this perception is flat out wrong, it unfortunately still lingers. That makes canada pharmacy online promoting BRT a much more difficult endeavor, no matter how sleek and fancy the features.]

Personally, I am a bit miffed at the fact that cities in the south and west have been provided funding for rail transportation projects, while cities in the Rust Belt tend to be told that a BRT is their only viable (or fundable) option. That in itself gives those cities in the south buy cialis and west an unfair advantage.

Fortunately, some cities in the Rust Belt have seen the light at the end of the railroad tunnel and have invested in one of the three traditional rail options. From a Michigander’s viewpoint, Chicago is the best and most obvious example. One need look no further that the choice of emphasizing rail service in Chicago to emphasizing car travel Detroit to see a clear difference in outcomes. I love both Detroit and Chicago, but all of us in Michigan need to get our individual and collective heads out of the four-wheeled cocoon. Other Rust Belt cities with rail service include New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland (Red Line to the airport), St. Louis, and even Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Hiawatha Line in Minneapolis - Source: skyscrapercity.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the question remains. How can cialis online generic cities of the Rust Belt generate the political will and support, as well as the monies to develop rail systems? Here are some ideas:

  • Immediately incorporate rail services into your all of your planning efforts (not just transportation) and reemphasize its importance at every opportunity. This means incorporating rail at the local, regional, and state levels.
  • Emphasize increased densities along important transportation corridors to help justify the use of rail.
  • Repeatedly bend the ears of your local, state, and national politicians.
  • Coordinate with freight railroads to protect existing freight rail corridors for anticipated future passenger rail use.
  • Set aside (or protect) right-of-way along rail corridors or road corridors for modern streetcars whenever an opportunity arises.
  • Continuously support increased funding for mass transit in local, state, and national budgets. Speak out when highway advocates online pharmacy attempt to underfund or defund mass transit programs.
  • Emphasize the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of rail versus more highways.
  • Create an 30 second elevator speech about why rail service is critical to your community’s future and use the speech at every opportunity.
  • Advocate for and support other communities (even your competitors) in the Rust Belt. It is high time we worked together as a unified political voice to attract projects and funding.
  • Point out the inequities of funding rail services in other regions of the country, while asking areas of the Rust Belt to accept BRT instead.
  • Keep the topic front and center in the media through use of web pages, newsletters, press releases, and especially via social media resources.
  • Work, coordinate, and cooperate with all rail, mass transit, alternative transportation, environmental, and social justice advocacy groups. They can bring a lot of powerful voices to the table and provide an army of support.
  • When the budget allows, set aside matching monies for necessary studies, plans, corridor acquisition, and construction.
  • Celebrate and promote every small victory in your community and the entire Rust Belt and also learn to adapt quickly from each defeat.
  • Don’t give up – keep pursuing the goal.

–Rick Brown

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“Ain’t that America” – one Indiana town that has avoided sprawl

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Those immortal song lyrics come from Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee and fellow Hoosier John Mellencamp’s classic rock tune entitled “Pink Houses.” On my return trip to Michigan from Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon, I decided to follow the road less traveled and was fortunate enough to visit one very proud small town for an hour or so and take in some of the local history and culture.

Most small towns cannot claim a legendary icon as their native son or daughter. Charming Fairmount, Indiana, set amid a patchwork quilt of rural farms and with an population of approximately 3,000, has been the home to two of them, James Dean and Jim Davis.

image
Source: rottentomatoes.com

James Dean had one of those magnetic personalities that has kept him recognizable and in the public spotlight even 57 years after his tragic death at the age of 24.  He was born, raised, attended high school, and was later buried in Fairmount.  James Dean was the epitome of “cool”  and the local tourism and economic development agencies have successfully used the theme of “cool” to promote Fairmount and surrounding Grant County as the birthplace of cool.

image

Jim Davis, the creator and cartoonist of the Garfield comic strip was raised in Fairmount as well. The local history museum highlights both men’s hometown years, as well as their fame.
Source: thegarfieldshow-diary.com

A separate museum/gallery is dedicated specifically to James Dean and there is a tour guide/map of the famous sights related to his life and death. 

But Fairmount is so much more that its two famous sons. It is one of the best remaining examples I have found of a “traditional small town” in the Midwest.  Proud citizens, tidy homes and farms, a compact and reasonably healthy main street business district, and a sense of long-term strength and stability, even in these difficult economic times, combine to make Fairmount quite special. The fact that it has not been overrun by rampant sprawl is also endearing.

Fairmount Main Street – Source: flickr.com

While not totally bypassed by the Interstate Highway system, Fairmount is situated five miles west of I-69, exit 54 between Indianapolis and Marion. As it turns out, the town’s distance from the expressway has been a blessing in disguise for Fairmount. You don’t find a monotonous  string of highway commercial establishments along State Route 26 leading either direction out of town, like you can in so many nameless places that are in close proximity to an exit. Instead, in Fairmount you find a closely-knit community that has virtually seen no commercial sprawl. This  makes Fairmount, Indiana refreshingly unique from a rural and small town planning perspective and very, very special. Other small towns that want to preserve their identity and integrity should consider looking to Fairmount for guidance. Whether is was sheer luck or perseverance does not matter, the fact is  Fairmount stands out from the crowd. Hopefully, the residents realize their good fortune and strive to maintain the town’s charm and innocence. It would be a terribly sad thing to lose in our throw-away society.

Next time you are wandering through Indiana or other states of the American Midwest, consider taking the road less traveled. You may just stumble across a “cool” small town like Fairmount, Indiana of your very own.

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Doing laps around the “Circle City”

Source: flickr.com

My hometown of Indianapolis has been a logically designed community based on traditional geometric shapes ever since it’s designer Alexander Ralston first put pen to paper. Monument Circle (source of the ‘Circle City’ nickname) sits at the heart of the original mile square, with a radiating street pattern extending outward from there, though it becomes more grid-oriented in the midtown areas. Later, an outer loop (not circle) was created by Interstate 465 and a near perfect oval was constructed for high-speed excitement and adventure in the suburb of Speedway. Because of Monument Circle and the I-465 outer loop, the motor speedway was not the only place you could do laps in and around Indianapolis. You just could not do them at 230 miles per hour.

Ralston Plan - Source: ratioblog.com

As a young person, I found the grid layout rather boring compared to the winding streets elsewhere. For the longest time, Kessler Boulevard and Spring Mill Road were my two favorite streets because they had curves in them. In the end, I realized it was not the street pattern that bothered me, it was the lack of topographic change that was more of the problem. The big advantage of the city’s spatial form, you rarely if ever got lost.

Now that I have not lived in Indiana for many years, I find the city’s original spatial form to be inspired. However, the nickname of Circle City may have been co-opted by its rapidly growing neighbor to the north.

en.wikipedia.org

Today, if you want to do laps in metropolitan Indianapolis, the place to do them is in the burgeoning northern suburb of Carmel (2011 est. population of 85,000). The City of Carmel has the distinction of having more roundabouts than any other municipality in the United States – more than 80 built or planned at last count. By comparison, the suburb of Greater Lansing where I live has less than one hand’s worth. Compared to Carmel, we have only stuck our pinky toe into the whirling roundabout waters.

Because of Carmel’s documented leadership in roundabouts, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) held its third annual International Roundabout Conference there in 2011.

The advantages of roundabouts are numerous. A few of them are cited below, many of which are also included in a very useful brochure the city has published:

  • Roundabouts keep traffic flowing, which is much more energy efficient than stopping, idling, and starting at traffic signals.
  • Roundabouts force the vehicular traffic to slow down considerably at intersections which improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists and allows for freer movement of non-motorized traffic.
  • Despite the higher up-front construction cost,  roundabouts are much more cost effective over the long haul.
  • Repairs from accidents that occur in roundabouts are less costly.
  • Injuries suffered in accidents in roundabouts are less severe.
  • Roundabouts prevent head-on collisions.
  • Roundabouts are much more aesthetically pleasing, especially when landscaping and artwork are incorporated into the center island – a requirement in Carmel.

Roundabout on the western edge of downtown Carmel

Are roundabouts perfect for every intersection – of course not. Some intersection have insurmountable natural or manmade features. But as Carmel, Indiana has proven, they can be successfully employed in a variety of locations, even expressway exits (see photo above from the Keystone Parkway in Carmel). Kudos to Carmel, Indiana for being an innovative worldwide leader in roundabouts.

–Rick Brown

 

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