In 2006, I wrote a policy report for JLF denouncing traffic calming in the triangle.

Four years later, I have a chance to evaluate some of the changes.

  • Ashe Ave. from Western to Hillsborough: The changes here–new crosswalks and lots of stop signs–are a nuisance. Moreover, they do little to reduce speeding on the rest of the road. On the bright side, stop signs and crosswalks are cheap.
  • Anderson Drive from Glenwood to Six Forks: This one is part of my daily commute. Thank goodness, nothing has been done here, despite it being a high priority for Raleigh. Really, the only thing that’s needed is better enforcement of the speed limit through the school zone.
  • Sutton Dr. from Daniels to Nichols right near Cameron Village. Again, nothing has been done. I don’t know what the city has in mind, but I think sidewalks would probably be a better “solution” than any traffic calming activity.
  • Pullen/Oberlin roundabout: This roundabout is tiny, two of the entrances/exits go into a parking lot. Unnecessary, costly, and probably a hazard for safety vehicles, particularly firetrucks.
  • Pullen/Hillsborough roundabout: Connecting Pullen through Hillsborough to Oberlin was a good idea to solve problem of too many cars turning left. The roundabout seems to be large enough for emergency vehicles. However, the city council could probably have found a less expensive way to connect these two roads than with a roundabout.
  • Hillsborough St. (general): Fewer lanes, more medians, more crosswalks. We’ve already had a taste of how this will work during the construction process. Expect it to take longer than before to get from one end of NCSU to another and more complaints about traffic on Vanderbilt, Clark, and other residential streets behind Hillsborough.
  • Hillsborough/Morgan roundabout: Given that the city is turning Morgan back into a two-way street, this roundabout seems to be a good idea. However, it would have been simpler to just leave Morgan alone. One way streets are safer and faster than two-way.

There are some places in Raleigh that I think could use roundabouts. But not for traffic calming–for traffic improvements. Traffic at Five Points, with its huge intersection and many roads all coming together, could be significantly improved by a roundabout. Also, the intersection at Glenwood, St. Mary’s, Anderson and (sort of) Wake.

City planners should start to think of ways to fix traffic problems instead of “calm” them.