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Roundabouts have been a success in Hamburg

Roundabouts are one-lane traffic devices requiring motorists to yield. Traffic circles are two or more lanes and utilize stop signs. In both cases, drivers are required to slow down and yield the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians already navigating the circle.

Here in the Village of Hamburg in 2008, along the Route 62 corridor, four roundabouts were installed. Their intent was to reduce the increasing number of accidents, improve the flow of traffic and reduce carbon monoxide emissions.

Great news: Each year for the past four, all have been accomplished. At a traffic-controlled intersection, there is the potential for 24 crash points, as compared with only eight side-impact crash points at a roundabout. A recent national report showed an average of 39 percent reduction in accidents. Our village reduction rate, each year for the past four, at each of the four roundabouts, shows a reduction of property damage-only accidents of 70 percent to 77 percent, and 60 percent overall reduction in personal injuries. Traffic is flowing through the village at an additional 3,000-plus vehicles per day. Delays at peak periods range between one and one and a half minutes, and carbon monoxide fumes are gone. When the old traffic signals were in place, delays could last for five or more minutes.

We are still working on improving some nagging concerns – the aggressive and inconsiderate drivers. Failure to yield is a three-point motor vehicle violation. This, along with bunching up and speeding through the roundabout, is indeed an aggressive act carrying up to a four-point penalty. More and more roundabouts will be coming to Western New York. Give them a chance. Yield and slow down.

Peter M. Danforth

Chairman, Hamburg Village

Traffic Safety Committee