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 Post subject: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:41 am 
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Apparently, there is consideration to put in two roundabouts in Tomahawk with the Fourth St./Memorial bridge construction. If anything, the four-way stop at Fourth and Somo needs to be redesigned or controlled by traffic light. These roundabouts seem more trendy than useful.

Has anyone experienced a case where the addition of a roundabout made an intersection safer instead of adding problems?

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:01 am 
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Once you've driven them a little bit you might actually like them. You spend much less time waiting at stop lights (especially waiting when there isn't any traffic). They flow traffic faster, are safer for pedestrians, etc. I use a number of these and have been happy with them, one on the UW campus has reduced the wait at a stoplight considerably.

The four way stop would be great for this but I doubt its going to happen. Thats not where they're doing construction and I don't think there is room.

My only concern is how well they would handle the surge of the Fall Ride. I haven't experienced a sudden traffic spike with one. In theory it should still work better than a stop light, just haven't seen it.


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:25 am 
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Kerry is right once you drive them they're great, however for those that don't understand the concept, it makes it difficult for the rest of us. My negative experiences have involved older drivers. That's a bit frustrating. Even those on quiet country intersections.

The DOT is trying to educate the public, license renewals come with roundabout directions, of course they need to be read to be understood.

As far as the Fall Ride, that may actually help rather than hinder. There's much more traffic in London, England and those roundabouts flow very nicely, unless of course you're Clark Griswald.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:20 pm 
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I have driven on a few when we were traveling, and can see the benefit, but my concern is how they will handle the semi's and tandum pulp trucks. The ones I have seen are in areas of the city wheren they don't have this kind of traffic. Hope they have considered that this is a main route where there will be that kind of traffic and not just a city street.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Old Scout,

The most complex one I've driven is in DePere. It's a double lane roundabout at the intersection of two US Highways and works very well (you have to read the signs though, the left lane always has the right of way to escape the roundabout. Another one in DePere is in their industrial park and semi's have no problem with that one either...


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:30 am 
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IMO, roundabouts are not going to go well with fall ride. Even at the fourway stop, the bikes go through 4 to 8 at a time. Coupled with the fact that there are not many in northern Wisconsin for people to have experience with roundabouts will create accidents.

If they were used correctly, I could see a benifit. The ones I've dealt with were not which makes it hard for people driving large vehicles to avoid accidents. Even the ones in Dodgeville have black marks from semi tires.

In the end, public opinion probably won't matter anyway. The state likes them. If you put them in as the like, you get grant money for projects. If not, bye bye grant money.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:02 am 
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A few years back we added a number of roundabouts in an area servicing a mixed-use development of retail, commercial and residential.

The reaction has been mixed at best but if I had to guess most people think they are worthless. I agree with the poster that called them trendy.

There seems to actually be a few more fender benders because even after years of use most people are still not used to them or know how to use them. The one redeeming factor seems to be that because everyone is so confused driving into them they do slow down so the accidents are at a much slower speed meaning fewer and less severe injuries as a result.

If you have to do roundabouts, make sure they are done right. We have had to spend thousands of dollars on redesigning and re-striping them to try to get the public to use them more efficiently. If the letters to the editor in our local paper are any indication, running about 5-1 negative, they are still not well accepted.

We have also had to spend thousands of dollars on mailers, newspaper ads and other educational materials because when they first opened up they were nearly a total disaster and the City Council was besieged with complaints. However, even after all of that effort on trying to educate the public on how to use them, they still had to do two redesigns and I hear there is yet a third one in the works.

During busy hours they stack up just like a stop sign at times because people just do not know how to use them so they just stop. Of course once you stop you are in trouble if there is lot of traffic because no one coming around in the circle already is going to stop to let you in.

A lot of people including myself will drive about ½ mile down the street to avoid them during high traffic hours. Of course that tells you that they are not really working the way they are supposed to considering they are sold on the idea that they help move traffic along the intended route, not divert traffic to a longer one.

Also keep in mind that once the politicians approve them, you are stuck with them and they will defend to the end of time, like all wrong political decisions are defended.


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Looking at the picture in the leader, I wonder how much the business at the intersections are going to scream about losing a chunk of their property to make room for the new roundabouts ? From what I have seen these take a lot more room than a normal intersection.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Sorry if this gets off subject ( :D), but it kind of relates to this matter in a roundabout way.
I'm on the Promotions Committee that is in charge of preparing for the upcoming Veterans Memorial Bridge and North Fourth Street replacement projects. Right now we're in the very early stages of coming up with ideas and events that will keep people coming to town during next year's construction.
Our first task at hand, and perhaps the most important, is coming up with a positive slogan to use to promote the community during the project. For those who might not be familiar with what is taking place, Veterans Memorial Bridge on North Fourth Street will be closed to through traffic soon after next year's Fall Ride for MDA concludes and will remain closed until around July of 2011 when the new bridge is expected to be complete. North Fourth Street will also be reconstructed during this period, with underground work beginning in the fall of 2010 and completion scheduled for sometime in 2011. The road will remain open to traffic throughout construction. The U.S. Hwy. 51 Bridge and bridge on Zenith Tower Road will serve as the main thoroughfares to North Fourth Street and the downtown during construction - talk about an expansive roundabout.
Suffice to say this project will be a massive undertaking and a lot of effort will need to go into promoting the community during the construction. We're in the process of coming up with different events like a massive tug-of-war over the Wisconsin River and other entertainment that will attract people to town during the construction. However, our objective right now is to come up with a catchy slogan that will put a positive spin on the project.
Any thoughts or ideas to get us on our way would be very much appreciated.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Speaking of the bridge, I wish they would get the date right on when it was built.

The original bridge may have been built back it the 20's, but it was rebuilt back in the late 60's or early 70's to the current configuration.

The original bridge had steel sides and a separate walkway, concrete pillars on the ends with street lights on them.

I remember when they did it just not sure of the date. The articles make the bridge sound like it is the original and is over 70 years old, which just isn't accurate.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:39 am 
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"Downtown Tomahawk: It's Worth the Swim!"

Come to Tomahawk, Where Commuting Brings Out Your Inner Triathelete"

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:15 am 
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I think we have a couple of winners here ! ! ! :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:05 pm 
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We are building a bridge to the future, but you can get there now!

Bridges? Bridges? We don't need no stinkin' bridges! (Boggie fans will get this one)

The Bridge is out be we're not!

New bridge coming soon buy why wait?!

Ok, not my best stuff, I'll shut up.


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:15 pm 
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Old Scout,
Was just the deck that was replaced in the 60s or 70s, or was it the entire bridge including the pillars? The pillars along with the deck will be replaced as part of next year's project.
Neupp99 and Floyd Alvin,
Thanks for your comments! The title we select will go a long way in forming public perception about this project. Your comments are very much appreciated!

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:22 pm 
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Now you really want to test my memory. Let me do some checking, I will have to take a look at them and see if they are still the configuration that I remember. Guess we didn't pay as much attention to the construction then as most of the stores were still down town and we didn't have to out that way much.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:32 pm 
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I really don't see why roundabouts are thought to be a problem for the Fall Ride. Places with far more traffic moving in the same manner as a group of bike navigate roundabouts without a problem. This I know from first hand experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:36 am 
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Here's a question. Could we get one of the current illusionists (like who ever that mind freak guy is) to "move" a car from one side to the other while the bridge is out?


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:19 am 
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We'll get Chris Angel and we'll also have to get the guys from Ice Road Trucker, as I know somebody will want to make a road across Lake Mohawksin while the bridge is out all winter.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:17 am 
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If all of our Army Combat Engineers are back from the sand box, maybe we can get them to build a M4T6 floating bridge across from the park to the boat landing by the ski show. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:06 pm 
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After actually reading the TL on-line news, I was able to answer my own question about when the bridge would close.
Duhhh

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Last edited by Jeff Boettcher on Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:21 am 
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Nothing like local participation and taking care of your neighbor. I heard the Kwahamots are offering shuttles across the river from the fishing deck at Memorial Park to the boat ramp over by the Bridge Restaurant. Then once on the other side are offering their own cars for people to get around with on the north end. Way to go Stehctah. That's why we love ya.

P.S. Who gets the prize for deciphering?


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:00 am 
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Actually, I wonder if something simple like Madison's Community Cars could be setup? It might be something Autohaus or Heritage could run and either make some money or be an interesting way to demo some new cars. You could have a couple cars parked at Sara Park and a couple parked somewhere like Hodge's on CC.

If people payed a small fee each month or even each time they could "borrow" one of the cars to drive around the other side. Put a couple shopping carts on either side or a wagon or something and it would be a good way to get around in the non-snow months.

Also could be a huge opportunity to push and promote the level of access the city allows for snowmobiling. I believe they have it setup that you can get pretty much anywhere in the city legally. If not, it would be a great adjustment to make. At our cabin in Montana we have to haul our groceries in a sled behind a snowmobile farther than the ride into town could be depending on what's legal to ride... Come snowmobile in Tomahawk, you won't be getting through any other way!!!

Another thought along those lines. What about a temporary ordinance allowing ATVs on many or all of the roads within the city limits (must be licensed and be a licensed driver and follow all laws and speed limits). Then open the Hiawatha bridge between CC and Sara Park to ATVs (with a very low speed limit and often patrolled for safety). Again, this is perfectly legal in places in Montana and you regularly see people driving ATVs to Home Depot in Bozeman, MT. This would allow those with ATVs easier access to both sides and might help the local dealers sell a few more machines and could be another marketing gimmick for tourism...


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:31 pm 
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For a slogan, maybe something along the lines of, "At least, we're building a bridge to somewhere".

As for the round-a-bouts, I don't think they're a spectacular idea, at all - especially for a community that wants to attract tourism. Remember the confusion when the 4-way stop signs were installed? It took a long time for traffic to really flow smoothly thru that intersection. Round-a-bouts will be even harder for people to accept and learn to use.

And, that's just talking about the locals. If you're hoping to attract a lot of tourists, you're talking about many, many people coming into the community who've never driven in one of these things. And, they are very confusing, when you encounter one for the first time.

If you want to improve the flow on N. 4th Street, and make it less frustrating to get back onto the street from the businesses along it, I would suggest a traffic light, where the round-a-bout is proposed, and either frontage roads or parallel streets behind the businesses. Then, close off the driveways onto 4th street. That would route the people exiting the businesses thru the traffic lights, and, I think, make for much smoother and safer traffic patterns, all along.


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:14 pm 
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If anything needs to be done the stupid 4-way stop needs to be taken away from us as a vast majority still do not know how that works which goes to say a lot about how the citizens will respond to the roundabouts...yikes! About those roundabouts though, how do you think this is going to workout with fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency personel? What about semis and pulp trucks running a combo setup (two trailers)? If anything a roundabout on wisconsin ave and tomahawk ave would make more sense and stop lights on north 4th would be a wise adjustment. Leave the north 4th street alone with the current configuration, just restore it. Why does everything have to match what madison does?


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 Post subject: Re: Roundabouts
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:30 am 
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The more I read about Roundabout's the less sense they make for north 4th st. It's bad enough they want to make that a two lane, but then you throw in the roundabouts and and it's totally nuts. We would have to hire more police just to take care of the accidents that would happen in the silly circles. Keep the stop lights at Leather Ave. With a center turn lane at Mohawk at least you would keep traffic flowing there.

I think it is BS that the state can come in and dictate how our streets can be. These guys need to stay south of the tension line (hwy 29) and leave such things to the people who live here and deal with it every day. The people who are coming up with this have apparently never been here during tourist season and seen what that stretch of road is like to get on at any place other than the stop lights.
And they want to change it to 2 lane. :roll:

I just hope the city has the guts to stand up and say no, this is the way we want it ! !

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