Mid-Shore Towns and Traffic: A Counterintuitive Solution for Intersections


From the intersections of Cross Street and Maple Avenue in Chestertown to Harrison and Goldsborough Streets in Easton, small Eastern Shore communities are increasingly confounded with growing automobile congestion in their towns,  particularly at critical traffic intersections.

In fact, many municipalities are facing somewhat of a zero-sum game by trying to keep a healthy traffic flow for drivers at a time when those same downtowns seek more pedestrians and bicyclists to improve their retail sectors and general quality of life.

As a result, the conundrum of how to make a workable intersection remains for most.

That was one of the reasons the Spy initiated a conversation with Chris Velasco and Elizabeth Bowling, co-founders of the urban planning consulting group PLACE, who are currently doing work on the Shore, to see if there were any new solutions in other small towns across the globe that significantly has reduced traffic congestion at these critical crossroads.

As just like the last time the Spy asked PLACE for insights on new thinking for town planning, Chris and Elizabeth not only came up with a unique model to share but an exceedingly successful one from the small village of Poynton (population 15,000) not far from the city of Manchester in England. One of the first towns in the world to install a “double roundel” or double roundabout, the new junction reduces the four-lane approaches to two lanes, allowing pedestrians and bikes to cross quickly, and at the same time eliminate traffic signals. The results, according to town reports, indicate that businesses have seen increased foot traffic, and congestion has been considerably lessened as a result.

And while it was intriguing to hear about this in concept, it was only after one looks at actual video footage of the double roundel that the pure magic of this solution can be seen in real time.

This video is approximately three minutes in length and was produced in partnership with the Easton Economic Development Corporation.  Additional video provided by Martin Cassini. See the full documentary here


About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Nancy Wells says:

    Harrison and Goldsborough, truly Eastons worst intersection followed closely by Washington and Goldsborough. True, traffic is heavy but both these intersections suffer from ill timed traffic light devices which the town can fix, but won’t. They like the congestion and bottle neck produced by both locations.

  2. OMG – We lived in England (North West London) for 7 years and I’m very familiar with roundabouts. They work very well in England because most everyone knows the rules, especially rules about merging. Here NO ONE knows how to merge. That said on my driving test another driver missed me by inches me going through a double mini roundabout. He was on his driving test; he failed and had to walk back to the examination station. Also notice how wide the intersection is in the video, lots of room to maneuver – an intersection such as Harrison and Goldborough doesn’t have the right configuration. There are several ‘magic roundabouts’ in England, Swindon being the most famous (to see it in action just Google Swindon Magic Roundabout). It’s nervewracking and there are souvenirs to buy saying you’ve driven it and survived (I did it). If roundabouts become common here I’d hope all drivers would be required to take lessons in how to negotiate them.

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