Now that the prospect of a roundabout at the corner of Main and the Sterling Highway is coming closer to reality I decided to do some online research about the safety of roundabouts compared to traffic signals. It’s not that I don’t trust our public officials … oh yeah … it is that I don’t trust them.
I would strongly suggest that people do their own research on the matter. All the sources seem to agree that the costs of the two are about equal overall. Traffic signals have lower initial costs but catch up on long-term maintenance costs. On the issues of safety, the split seems to be on the opinions of government sites when compared to consumer advocacy group sites. Everyone agrees there are fewer “serious” accidents at roundabouts, but consumer advocates point out statistically that roundabouts have more side and rear end collisions and during periods of high traffic flow the roundabout is less efficient.
Bottom line, my opposition to the prospect of another Homer traffic signal is that we would lose the distinction of being a one traffic light hamlet and when the roundabout is installed, during the summer we can go down there and watch the side swipes and rear-end collisions.