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What's This?

St. Matthews is the testing ground for a new traffic calming device—a neighborhood roundabout. Two tiny traffic circles have been cut out of Nanz Avenue, at Macon Avenue and Iola Road, and landscaping will soon be installed. The technique isn’t new, but it has been shown to be effective; cities around the country from Portland, Ore., Seattle, and St. Louis, have been using this method for years. The idea is that as cars approach an intersection, motorists will be forced to slow down and pay more attention to navigate around the barrier, making the street safer for everyone.

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“Traffic circles, widely used in many communities but new to Louisville, have been shown to be effective devices for controlling neighborhood traffic and improving the safety of residential streets,” District 9 Metro Councilperson Bill Hollander wrote on his blog. “The traffic circles on Nanz are also designed to attract bicycle traffic away from Willis Avenue, creating a “Neighborway” on Nanz for bicycle traffic. The project also includes sidewalk improvements.”

As we’ve previously covered on Broken Sidewalk, Neighborways is Bike Louisville’s version of a bike boulevard system, a network of “low-volume streets that have been optimized for bicycle travel through pavement markings, signage, traffic calming and intersection crossing treatments,” according to Bike Louisville.

The so-called “Nanz Neighborway” will connect the albeit-less-than-idea bike lane on Westport Road with a shared-use path at Seneca Park. Expect to see sharrows installed on the orange path to the left.

The cost of the two traffic circles and sidewalk improvements totaled $22,000, including $15,500 in District 9 Community Infrastructure Funds. The City of St. Matthews will maintain the landscaping in the two circles and Metro Louisville will invest in new signage and markings in the future. Eventually, stop signs at the intersection will be replaced with yield signs.

[Top image: A roundabout under construction at the intersection of Nanz and Macon avenues. Courtesy John Paul.]
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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

4 COMMENTS

  1. Traffic circles have been used in Europe seemingly forever. This would be a nice additon to many parts of our city.

  2. A neighborhood traffic circle is not a roundabout.
    Many people confuse other and older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triomphe, Dupont Circle), and small neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to http://tinyurl.com/kstate-RAB to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout: http://tinyurl.com/bzf7qmg

  3. Now somebody just needs to teach people how to drive around the traffic circle! Hopefully they don’t do what has been done with the one in Cherokee circle and put a stop sign at every entrance to it. That totally negates any possible benefits of a traffic circle.

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