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The school newspaper of Oakville High School

myOHSonline

The school newspaper of Oakville High School

myOHSonline

Roundabout Solutions

Saint Louis County residents share concerns, offer solutions to proposed roundabout
Saint+Louis+County%E2%80%99s+Transportation+and+Public+Works+has+proposed+a+roundabout+at+the+intersection+of+Yaeger+and+Milburn+Roads+to+replace+the+current+4-way+stop.+%E2%80%9CThey%E2%80%99re+nationally+recognized+as+a+traffic+calming+measure%2C+and+they+have+been+installed+to+great+success+in+many+locations%2C%E2%80%9D+acting+deputy+director+of+Transportation+and+Public+Works+for+Saint+Louis+County+Joseph+Kulessa+said.+The+roundabout+aims+to+do+more+than+just+prevent+accidents%2C+as+it+can+also+lower+congestion+during+peak+traffic+times+and+make+for+easier+pedestrian+crossing.
Emma Neuhoff
Saint Louis County’s Transportation and Public Works has proposed a roundabout at the intersection of Yaeger and Milburn Roads to replace the current 4-way stop. “They’re nationally recognized as a traffic calming measure, and they have been installed to great success in many locations,” acting deputy director of Transportation and Public Works for Saint Louis County Joseph Kulessa said. The roundabout aims to do more than just prevent accidents, as it can also lower congestion during peak traffic times and make for easier pedestrian crossing.

On Nov. 15, OHS hosted a meeting for Saint Louis County to discuss the possibility of a roundabout at the intersection of Yaeger and Milburn Road. 

Currently, the intersection is one of Saint Louis County’s Transportation and Public Works’ top 10 crash locations per capita. This prompted the county to take action to make the intersection safer. The proposed solution would be to add a single-lane roundabout, replacing the 4-way stop intersection. This project also includes updating the sidewalks to be ADA-compliant. Construction is currently scheduled to begin in 2027 if the project proceeds. However, at the meeting, the proposal was met with pushback from a majority of people attending and many shared their concerns. 

The most common concerns included an increase in traffic, school buses not being able to maneuver around the center island, an increase in crashes due to people not knowing how to navigate roundabouts and pedestrian crossing. 

“This roundabout seems dangerous and not thought out. There is not nearly enough space, and I genuinely do not trust people to obey the ‘take turns’ rule in the roundabout if they can’t manage to do so in a four-way stop,” English teacher Elizabeth Pfitzer stated in a survey. 

With these concerns, many people provided alternative solutions they feel would better help to solve the problem including speed bumps, adding flashing red lights onto the stop signs or installing a stoplight. 

“I am against the roundabout,” Mazie Menkhus (11) said. “I think more stop signs, or maybe a light, would be a better solution.”

Despite these claims and worries, statistics have shown that roundabouts are often the safer option and can even benefit drivers by reducing fuel consumption and auto emissions. According to the Saint Louis County Transportation of Public Works, roundabouts reduce crashes by 35 percent, injuries by 75 percent, fatalities by 90 percent and pedestrian crashes by 50 percent. With this intersection having 48 crashes and 10 injuries between 2017 and 2020, the county feels it will be a good fit for a roundabout. 

“This location is a good spot for a roundabout and the roundabout will produce the kind of results we’re looking for as a safety improvement,” acting deputy director of Transportation and Public Works for Saint Louis County Joseph Kulessa said. “Roundabouts, they’re nationally recognized as a traffic calming measure, and they have been installed to great success in many locations.”

With those statistics applied to the 48 crashes and 10 injuries at the intersection, approximately 17 of those crashes and four of those injuries never would have happened. In addition, when accidents do occur, they’re most likely going to be much less severe than if one were to occur in an intersection. In an intersection, t-bones and head-on collisions are much more common. These can be some of the most severe and dangerous accidents. In roundabouts, sideswipes are the most common accident to occur, which are usually less harmful than other kinds of accidents. 

Roundabouts are a modern development that emerged in the United States in the 1990s after seeing the success of roundabouts in other countries. They can be confusing to learn, but the goal is that a single-lane roundabout at this intersection won’t be particularly hard. According to Kulessa, Carmel, Indiana, has approximately 120 roundabouts today. Since their construction, injuries caused by accidents have decreased by 80 percent. While many people in the community are against switching to a roundabout, some do feel the roundabout would address the traffic and safety concerns.

“Roundabouts are awesome,” Dr. James Kreyling stated in a survey. “Once people get used to them, the traffic moves far more efficiently with much less space needed than a stoplight with left turn lanes.”

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About the Contributor
Emma Neuhoff, Reporter
Hello, everyone! This is my first year as a reporter for The Prowl, and I am also Copy Editor-in-Chief of the Tiger Paw yearbook. In my free time, I love to watch movies, listen to music, go to concerts and thrift. I'm excited for all of the stories to come this year!

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