Roundabouts & Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
I have the privilege of working with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) on the Van Buren Street Interchange project, which has generated countless community conversations about safety and traffic flow in the Lower Rattlesnake neighborhood. We go around and around on the subject of roundabouts.
Folks either love roundabouts or express the opinion that “Montanans don’t know how to use them!”
Woah there, cowboy. We embrace our Montana roots as strongly as our neighbors. But as part of our work as public involvement specialists, we need to research the topics we hope to better educate our community about; roundabouts included. In conducting internal research, our friends at MDT continually espouse the values of roundabouts. They’re safer than traditional intersections and move traffic efficiently. After doing more external research, sure enough, roundabouts reduce the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82%, when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Knowing all this, I rounded the corner on roundabouts and was invested in helping my community better understand both the safety implications of these engineering marvels while working to address concerns that my fellow states (wo)men are unsure how to navigate through them.
So. We worked with videography experts to build the Roundabout Utopia; where all know how to drive a roundabout and where driver, cyclist and pedestrian safety is an assurance.
I wanted to make my childhood idol, Mr. Rogers, proud. Our videos have been designed to be different, fun, pragmatic, and an opportunity for engagement. Much like the Missoula community they represent.
Won’t you please be my neighbor .. and give roundabouts a shot? There’s a reason they’re popping up all over Montana. They reduce long-term maintenance costs, move traffic efficiently, and most importantly (to me), are safe.
Looking forward to seeing you “around!"