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Posted on: July 16, 2020

Getting Around Town: Roundabouts

Photo of Locke Parkway Roundabout

Learn about roundabouts, their benefits and where the new one in Fridley is located.

What is a roundabout?

Roundabouts are circular intersections that replace two-way stops, all-way stops, or signalized intersections. Drivers move in a roundabout in a counter-clockwise direction to reach their intended street.

Why are roundabouts an improvement?

Roundabouts have lower entrance and exit speeds,gentler crossing angles, and separated traffic flows. Aa result, there are fewer serious accidents andimproved traffic flow. Roundabouts installed in Minnesota have shown a 42 percent decrease in crashes with injuries and an 86 percent decrease in fatal crashes compared to their previous design. There is also less waiting at stop signs or red lights, which reduces the time motorists need to move through the intersection by 50 percent or more.

Do you have to stop before entering a roundabout?

Drivers entering the roundabout must yield to drivers already in the roundabout. In a multi-lane roundabout, you must yield to traffic in all traffic lanes. However, if the roundabout is clear, you do not need to stop before entering. Use your turn signal when exiting. The exception is if there is a pedestrian or bicyclist in a roundabout’s crosswalk. If there is a pedestrian or bicyclists in the crosswalk, you must stop and allow them to cross.

How do pedestrians and bicyclists get through roundabouts?

Roundabouts are designed with crosswalks that indicate where pedestrians and bicyclists should cross. Roundabouts can improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety by slowing vehicle speeds, improving sight lines in crosswalks, and setting crossings farther away from traffic. Bicyclists can chose to cross the roundabouts through the crosswalk or ride within the roundabout. If a bicyclist rides through the roundabout, they must follow the same rules as vehicles and entering cars must yield to them. Pedestrians and bicyclists should never attempt to cut through a roundabout and are not allowed on the center island.

How do school buses and large trucks get through roundabouts?

Roundabouts are designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes. The center island of the roundabout includes a truck apron which allows rear wheels on it when necessary. As with any intersection, please give trucks plenty of room, and do not attempt to pass a truck that is turning. 

Featured Project: Locke Parway Roundabout

Fridley’s first roundabout was installed at the intersection of the University Avenue Service Road and the new Locke Parkway instead of a traditional two- or four-way stop. 

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