Traffic circles not all they’re cracked up to be

A recent interview with Brian Crist - director of operations for the City of Whitehorse - suggested yet another traffic circle is being considered for the intersection of Black Street and Sixth Avenue. Mr.

A recent interview with Brian Crist – director of operations for the City of Whitehorse – suggested yet another traffic circle is being considered for the intersection of Black Street and Sixth Avenue.

Mr. Crist stated that: “Traffic circles do serve as a tool to slow down traffic.”

Now, I don’t have the most fuel efficient vehicle but I recently moved my daily work commute away from a recently installed traffic circle that interrupted a previously effective route. My carefully monitored average fuel consumption has gone from 16.6 miles per gallon (17 litres/100km) to 19.03 miles per gallon (14.7 litres/100km). There may be some other terrain influences on this improvement – but it is a noticeable and interesting study.

Traffic circle construction and maintenance does cost more. (Translation – your tax dollars.) Also, I have to wonder about efficiencies. A vehicle that slows down to the standard 30 kilometres per hour to navigate the circle then has to speed up again once it is through the obstruction.

Basic physics says that any time a body is “accelerated” it takes energy. (Translation – your fuel dollars.) If this law of physics is carried forward, Whitehorse residents, in total, burn thousands of litres of extra fuel per year just navigating each installed traffic circle.

I do not profess to be an expert in the area of effective traffic management, but perhaps somebody can answer my question: “In our age of increased fuel costs and greenhouse gas awareness – are traffic circles the best answer to our traffic-flow requirements?”

John Rogers

Whitehorse