Colorado was an early adopter of roundabouts. Now, motorists across the U.S. are driving in circles.
In the late 1990s, the city of Golden considered what then was a foreign concept: The idea of placing roundabouts, the circular traffic control configuration popular in Europe and Australia, along one of its arterials through a commercial center.
Although it had been in use in the U.S. for more than a century, Americans still hadn’t warmed up to the idea. A planned King Soopers store whose entrance would be on one of the proposed roundabouts along South Golden Road pushed back with concerns about how the unusual intersection might discourage customers.
Five years earlier, local businesses had shut down talk of using roundabouts to revamp the road, a broad swath that invited speeding, featured intermittent traffic lights and enough lanes to make pedestrian crossing an adventure. But this time, the city cut an unusual deal: If the grocery store didn’t hit its sales targets, the roundabout would be removed.
It’s still there today — part of the early wave that, decades later, continues to gain traction in Colorado and around the country as both state transportation officials and especially municipalities embrace this once-unfamiliar solution that, in many situations, calms traffic and leads to fewer injury accidents.
Four years after Golden’s roundabouts opened, Alex Ariniello, then a traffic consultant on the project, published a study — “Are Roundabouts Good for Business?” — that’s still widely circulated as evidence that they not only enhance flow while reducing speed and result in improved safety, but also can contribute to commercial success.
Read more from Kevin Simpson, The Colorado Sun.
The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at coloradosun.com.
Support Local Journalism
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User