The recently completed traffic "roundabout" built in front of the downtown parking garage is terrific. Constructed with funds from the passenger ship fee fund, the new roundabout works for residents and visitors alike.
A lot of locals seem to be wary of roundabouts, associating them with crazy drivers blasting around the Coliseum in Rome or problematic rotary interchanges in New England cities. The fact of the matter is that roundabouts work well, especially in small to medium communities like Juneau.
Roundabouts significantly reduce crashes, improve traffic flow and often save money compared to traffic signals. Roundabouts reduce deadly automobile accidents at intersections by 90 percent, according to researchers from Ryerson Polytechnic University, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Maine, as reported in the American Journal of Public Health.
We have a variety of traffic problems and issues currently being discussed in Juneau. Most of the solutions to our local problems reside somewhere between a solution contemplating cloverleafs or light rail. Roundabouts belong in the mix of solutions, starting with the interchange on the west end of the Douglas Bridge. Design and construction of a roundabout at this intersection should commence immediately.