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Chapman Mills Drive: A perfect site for some roundabouts

October 11, 2010 @ 11:17 By: gordon Category: General

The Ottawa Citizen has a story today about one of the lingering problems that resulted from the cancellation of the north-south rail plan a few years ago. A right-of-way for the tracks that runs between the lanes of Chapman Mills Drive in Barrhaven has gone unused. There are breaks in the resulting median at intersections with the side streets that are protected by stop signs.

The problem is that because the intersections are so large due to the width of the median, the stop signs aren’t as effective as they would be if the intersections were smaller. Gloucester-South Nepean councillor Steve Desroches says that the roadway is confusing and dangerous for both pedestrians and drivers.

It strikes me that these large intersections are ideal candidates for roundabouts. They would keep traffic flowing nicely, provide space for safe crosswalks for pedestrians and reduce the amount of time vehicles would spend waiting for traffic lights, which means fewer greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions. And there’s also the added benefit that the city wouldn’t have to buy the traffic light equipment or pay for its on-going operation and maintenance.

The City of Ottawa’s website has a great animation of how roundabouts work. You can select the type of vehicle you’re driving and the route you’re wanting to take through the roundabout. If you’re not familiar with the way they work, you should check it out.

A tip o’ the hat to Wikipedia Commons for the animation of the roundabout.

2 Responses to “Chapman Mills Drive: A perfect site for some roundabouts”


  1. Ken says:

    I know that street very well. Driven down it a number of times, and never had an issue with stop signs or anything.

    This councillor and others, IMO, are making a mountain out of an anthill. There are other even busier streets in Barrhaven that don’t have roundabouts, have large medians and have schools on them, and I’ve never heard anyone say something should be done about those.

    Crestway is a perfect example. Large median there as well, with a school not far from Strandherd. That’s the street that’ll tie into Strandherd after the bridge is built.

    Put in some bigger stop signs, or maybe even one on each side of the street, have 8 in total, paint the crosswalks and I’m sure people would feel better.

    Of course also getting rid of all the parking on the street might help as well, enforcing speed limits, drivers acting more responsibly… There are other solutions to look at before redesigning the intersection for roundabouts.

    • gordon says:

      Funny you should mention Crestway. When I first read the story, I thought the street being referred to was Crestway before I looked it up on a map. Having driven along it myself, I’d have to agree that Crestway is another candidate for roundabouts.

      Bigger stop signs probably wouldn’t be as effective as roundabouts and there are sign standards which might preclude using a larger stop sign. Still, looking at less expensive options is not unreasonable.


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