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EUFAULA, Ala. — Downtown Eufaula will be safer for pedestrians and motorists with a new roundabout at the intersection of North Orange Street and East Broad Street.
A coalition of community volunteers will apply fresh acrylic paint to the intersection where a World War I Memorial stands. Volunteers will also add a bright oval around the statue to mark lanes and arrows to provide traffic flow instructions for motorists. Additionally, a roundabout sign and yield signs will be visible.
The roundabout project was approved by the Eufaula City Council earlier this year. Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs said the city leaders are excited about the added safety it will bring to the downtown area.
“I appreciate everyone involved in this project for making this happen, including the Barbour County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University and the ALProHealth Coalition,” Tibbs said. “It’s going to be efficient to move traffic as well as aesthetically pleasing while making a much safer intersection.”
The project is funded by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University’s ALProHealth program. ALProHealth is an obesity prevention and reduction program funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) High Obesity Program. Through creating safer places for people to be active and increasing access to healthier food, ALProHealth focuses on increasing community health in 13 Alabama counties with an adult obesity prevalence of 40% or greater.
The ALProHealth Coalition worked with Alta Planning and Design to create an Active Transportation Action Plan for Eufaula—and the roundabout was a recommendation from the final plan. Alta is a transportation company that helps to create active, healthy communities through planning, landscape architecture, engineering and educational programs.
A community coalition of city leaders and community members led by Barbour County Extension Coordinator Allie Logan, selected the roundabout as a feasible project. The plan is to use community volunteers to apply the paint using stencils purchased by ALProHealth.
In the transportation plan, Alta notes that the pedestrian crossings in the intersection are wide areas where people travel in the path of motorists. The roundabout will add infrastructure to ensure safer crossings.
Jeff LaMondia, civil and environmental engineering associate professor at Auburn University and ALProHeath team member, said roundabouts promote safe speeds for motorists, higher visibility and clear movements.
“Roundabouts are a smart and creative addition to Eufaula’s downtown that should encourage more walking and cycling because they help everyone feel more comfortable and safer,” LaMondia said.
He said replacing four-way stop intersections with roundabouts reduces the number of vehicle-vehicle accidents by 75%. Furthermore, studies indicate roundabouts reduce the number of vehicle-pedestrian accidents by 50%.
LaMondia said the Federal Highway Administration recognizes roundabouts as a “proven safety countermeasure” and reports reduced crashes resulting in pedestrian injuries by 89% and crashes resulting in bicyclist injuries by 30%.
“The worst type of crash we can have in a roundabout is a side swipe,” he said.
Driving In A Roundabout
Driving in a roundabout can seem confusing without experience. The following tips may help motorists when approaching a roundabout.
- Slow down when approaching the intersection.
- Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the roadway.
- Watch for signs and pavement markings that guide or prohibit certain movements.
- Enter the roundabout when there is a big enough gap in traffic.
- Drive in a counterclockwise direction. Do not stop or pass other vehicles.
- Use turn signals when changing lanes or exiting the roundabout.
- If you miss an exit, continue around until the correct exit.
“While it may be awkward at first to yield to other vehicles as we travel counterclockwise through an intersection, most communities find it quickly becomes intuitive,” LaMondia said. “It’s common for communities to start building more roundabouts after they experience the benefits of their first one.”