Q & A: Roundabouts in the Region

October 8, 2009 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Here’s a good little interview between local resident Lorraine Green of Kitchener and Steve van De Keere, head of transportation expansion for Region of Waterloo.


Our roundabouts are too small and have too tight a turning radius. Even in Italy with its small Fiats, I didn’t find them so tight. It means a tendency to overcorrect when coming out of them.

Van De Keere:

Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Research shows that larger roundabouts with “relaxed” geometry tend to experience more injury crashes, primarily because they do not adequately control the speeds of entering vehicles. The region is reviewing the exit geometry for future roundabouts, to make it easier for motorists to exit properly, and to assist snow plow operators.


The centre circle has been planted in most roundabouts, obscuring the view of what’s coming at you as you want to enter. I’ve been nearly hit twice already as I tried to enter thinking nothing was coming, and then had a car appear from nowhere around the circle.

Van De Keere:

Tree and shrub plantings are necessary to make the central island more visible to drivers, especially at night. This increased visibility helps reduce occurrences where unfamiliar drivers are surprised by the roundabout, and fail to slow adequately. Height restrictions on plantings ensure there’s enough visibility for a driver to make the decision to go or not. Too much visibility can encourage aggressive driving.


Curbs protrude as you come out of a roundabout, making people tend to swerve into the adjoining lane. The ability to come out of the roundabout should be more gradual, allowing one to exit more smoothly without a drastic slowdown.

Van De Keere:

The region is reviewing the exit geometry for future roundabouts, to make the curvature more gradual.


The necessity to merge after exiting is too short a distance and too abrupt. As more traffic uses roads like Ira Needles Boulevard, there will be crashes as more people try to merge or wander across a lane.

Van De Keere:

Merging on the exit at a roundabout is actually much easier than on the exit from a traffic signal. But some local drivers are apprehensive. At a roundabout, this merge occurs at a much lower speed. Also, vehicles entering side-by-side at a roundabout tend to stagger as they go through. This creates natural gaps, to allow merges to occur easily. To address local apprehension, the region is reviewing the merge length on the exits for future roundabouts.

Source: TheRecord.com
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Entry filed under: Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Waterloo Region. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sandra Hill  |  August 3, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Steve I have been requesting to be involved with design and up to date information on the current project – Pinebush Rd – Franklin Blvd – 401 – MTO rooundabout – Yet today August 3 – I have not heard from anyone – I have emailed the region – Can you email me the current me the update information – I want to be involved since my larger Big Rigs use this intersection everyday. Email Sandra2@sympatico.ca – Sandra Hill 519-621-9053

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