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Mahoning’s first roundabout opening soon

Published: Tue, August 26, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken



Mahoning County’s first roundabout will open this week at Mathews and Sheridan roads.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday. County officials and officials from Boardman, Poland and Struthers have been invited to attend.

The intersection has been closed since June 16 for installation of the one-lane traffic circle by Parella-Pannunzio Inc. of Austintown under a $696,693 contract with the county.

“We haven’t had very many issues at all out there. The job’s been very smooth,” said Patrick Ginnetti, county engineer.

The project, funded by federal money and local gasoline tax revenues, is designed to improve traffic flow and safety.

The intersection, which formerly was controlled by a traffic light, now has no traffic light or stop signs and will feature a continuous, counterclockwise flow of traffic.

Vehicles outside the circle must yield to those within it, said Ginnetti. “There’ll be yield signs at every entry point,” he added.

One-lane roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by 90 percent, injury-causing crashes by 75 percent, pedestrian crashes by 30 percent to 40 percent and bicycle crashes by 10 percent compared with intersections with traffic lights, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which opened a one-lane roundabout this month near Erie.

During peak traffic periods, roundabouts reduce delays by commonly carrying about 30 percent more vehicles than similar-sized intersections with traffic lights, PennDOT said.

“It’s going to slow the cars down as they get to the roundabout, but they’re going to be continuously moving, so you shouldn’t have the backups. And with the cars slowing down, if they yield properly and allow cars to maneuver in and out, you shouldn’t have any accidents,” or “very few” accidents, Ginnetti said.

Previously, some accidents occurred at Mathews and Sheridan because motorists were “trying to force the left turn.”

He added: “You did have some major delays at that intersection. Any left-turn movement stopped traffic.”

The roundabout “will enable traffic flow to move much more quickly through that intersection,” Ginnetti said.

PennDOT offered some tips for navigating a roundabout:

Slow down when approaching the circle, and be prepared to yield to any pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Approach the yield line, look left for approaching traffic within the circle, and give it the right of way.

Enter the roundabout only when there is a safe gap in traffic, stopping at the yield line, if necessary, until there is a safe gap.

Within the circle, use your right turn signal as you approach your exit, watching for and yielding to any pedestrians in the crosswalk.

“It’s a one-lane roundabout, but you have that concrete truck apron that’s there for delivery trucks, garbage trucks, school buses and fire trucks and things of that nature that have a bigger turning radius,” Ginnetti said of the Mathews-Sheridan roundabout. “They’ll be able to maneuver it,” he added.

A video on safe use of the roundabout will be shown in the county engineer’s booth at the Canfield Fair, he said.

A roundabout education diagram and video are posted on the county engineer’s website.


1CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Traffic might still be held up on mathews with school buses stopping at every house on mathews. What happend to kids walking to the bus stop on the corners ? Now they pick kids up at every house !

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2NoBS(2757 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

From the story: " if they yield properly "

Have you seen how the clueless and self-important types drive around here? Courtesy is a foreign concept to them. There will be fender-bender after fender-bender.

From the story: "Any left-turn movement stopped traffic.”

That's why left-turn lanes were needed. Much less cost to this cash-strapped area, much more effective.

One more question: Who's going to water, weed, and maintain the planter in the middle of this fiasco?

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3jruggieri(2 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I still don't understand how spending $700,000 for a round-a-bout is better then simply buying 4 stop signs.
I'll bet the first accident will happen here in less than a day.

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4YtownSports(306 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Accidents will happen...mostly for the same reason many of them happen...drivers being impatient and/or discourteous.
My question is why haven't more prominent intersections received roundabouts?

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5mrblue(1175 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

That money could have been better spent repairing roads. What should we expect, this is Mahoning County. Soon there will be another tax on the ballot.

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6tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

As a former Struthers resident who's lived in the Columbus area for nearly 22 years, I'm hear to tell you that this is the best thing to happen for you folks for intersections such as this. They put a lot of roundabouts in down here in the last 10-15 years. I have one 700 feet from my driveway, and another about a mile or so down the road from that. Traffic flows so much better, and once people get used to it (which doesn't take long) accidents are few and far between. And, they are low speed accidents. Yeah, you'll get a clueless person or an idiot every now and then, but that happens regardless of the intersection.

They are relatively cheap to construct and cheap to maintain compared to other type of traffic control - 4 stop signs won't do it for that volume of traffic.

My buddy lives on Mathews and he's experienced the roundabouts by me. He's a little skeptical, and he's concerned about traffic flowing upstream since the flow will be improved. He told me people he knows said they are going to set up lawn chairs and watch the accidents. I hope they bring a book and some sunscreen, because they'll be there a while and will get bored.
Give it time and you will like them. They are not for every intersection, but work well with ones like Mathews and Sheridan. One of the intersections by me (St Rt 62 and Morse Rd.) had a light and no turn lane. It was not uncommon for me to wait 5-10 minutes to get through that intersection in the morning. With the roundabout you pretty much get right through, at most waiting a minute or two when things get a little backed up.

I'm coming up there to visit my friend this weekend, so I'll break it in for you :)

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7tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@jrolley325 - Yeah, I don't remember any big fanfare when the ones around me opened. People we just happy the road was opened back up, and that was enough. Seems like a bit of overkill.

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8silentgrandpa(22 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Jruggieri. I guess you didn't see the episode on Myth Busters where they proved that a turn-about moves traffic better than a four-way stop signs.

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9dontbeafool(2055 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I lived in Jersey for a good period, where they are famous for round-a-bouts and jug handles were everywhere. I always felt like there was a good chance that I was going to die everytime I entered it.

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10janeyblue3(85 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

None of you negative ninnies need bother traveling to Europe , epically the U.K. You wouldn't survive 5 minutes. Maybe it's time we caught up with our European "cousins".
Without the fanfare and glad handing of course. At least they didn't hire a marching band and a troupe of clowns in tiny cars.

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11tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Not sure about the Mahoning County Engineer but Franklin County was pretty good about at least trying to educate the locals on what a Modern Roundabout was and how it worked. They had a town hall several months prior to starting the work to show people how it would affect them (those of us who lived close to it) and to get feedback. A couple of the residents were opposed to it, primarily the more elderly folks. However, there was an example of one just down the road, so everyone knew what they were about by the time they built the one close to me. The county had to purchase right-of-way to build it, and I'd venture to guess that they had to for yours.

If you care, you can check out this link:


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12ScottRAB(14 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

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
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA, http://tinyurl.com/7qvsaem

The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://tinyurl.com/6v44a3x).

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13DontBanThisDrone(1036 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Bout time we caught up. Now THESE people did it right...



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14meandoctorx(15 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

what a ridiculous idea !! wait till a few get killed then see what other bright ideas they may have!!! smh.

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