Coming ‘Round to Roundabouts

Despite drawbacks of roundabout construction in  Carmel, benefits should be acknowledged. Story by Adhi Ramkumar

As we traverse through the city of Carmel to get to school each day, it is hard not to notice the large amount of construction currently taking place. Over the past few years, Carmel has developed into a wealthy, urban environment full of flourishing local businesses and stores. A natural part of this growth is increased construction of buildings and roads to aid the ease of traveling within the city.

Starting with the construction of Keystone Parkway to the transformation of U.S. 31 into a highway-like road, Carmel has undergone significant change, which has significantly reduced travel times within the city. However, there is a highly disputed topic over the rapid construction of roundabouts in Carmel and whether or not they are necessary.

Some common arguments on this topic include that roundabouts can make navigation very difficult, especially during bad weather, albeit the most widely-held argument against the construction of roundabouts is that they yield confusion for drivers. Specifically on dual-lane roundabouts, there is a significant amount of confusion over entry as well as the vehicle path for each turning movement. As a result, the costs of property damage rise significantly despite a decreased number of injury damages. Personally, while my older brother was driving in Carmel, he was a victim to this exact problem with roundabouts; there was confusion between him and another driver, a newcomer who was unfamiliar with roundabouts, over yielding, and this resulted in a significant amount of damage to the car. This incident is just one of many that occur on a regular basis and represents a major disadvantage of roundabouts and their increased construction.

Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits to the construction of roundabouts. According to a study conducted in 2014 by the Department of Transportation in Minnesota, the construction of new roundabouts resulted in over 30 percent fewer car crashes and over 65 percent fewer injuries caused by such crashes. These statistics justify that despite some of the cons, roundabouts contribute to the safety of drivers.

As a result, it is important to accept the drawbacks of roundabouts and recognize the relative importance they have for the safety of drivers. Although it may be irritating to deal with the increased amount of construction and the confusion they cause, we should realize that in the long run, roundabouts will not only make our travels safer but will also facilitate smoother intercity travel.

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