Traffic circle

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Anonymous's picture

Note a new traffic circle has been opened at 110th and CPW. The good news is there are traffic lights to coordinate latitudinal and longitudinal flow while the bad news is crossing the circle with a group can be potentially hazardous.

The traffic flows counter clockwise and a group of cyclists heading West on 110th must cross the circle via the inside lane, otherwise part of the group may be cut off by a car on your left turning right.

One solution may be to double up and take the left lane, the only lane, before entering the intersection, thus preventing a car from entering the circle on your left. It appears to be the safest approach, but is it considered proper road manners and is it legal?

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)

See the attached link from the Washington State DOT. It is in the American fashion so the instructions are correct for the 110 CP circle. The lights in the circle actually make things worse, IMO.

Basically, to continue straight through the roundabout, a vehicle (or cyclist group) would wait for an opening on the inner lane or outer lane. After passing the the first exit to the right, the vehicle (cyclists) would exit to the right to continue west on 110th. As the outer lane is only to use the first or second exit, there should not be any blocked traffic flow or cutting across lanes. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Roundabout is not the same as Traffic Circle

"Roundabouts do not have traffic lights, among other differences. The WDOT points out in their presentation that they don't work the same way:

""Roundabouts are not traffic circles or traffic calming islands

""A roundabout is not the same as the older-style rotary traffic circle like those found in some East Coast and European cities. The main difference between older style traffic circles and roundabouts is in how traffic enters the circle and which vehicle has the right-of-way. With roundabouts, drivers wishing to enter must yield to vehicles already in the circle...""

As for Gary's question, the applicable law is Section 1234 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law (and I would argue that similar safety considerations as apply generally to left turns override the requirement to ride on the right of the lane in a traffic circle):

""Upon all roadways, any bicycle or in-line skates shall be driven either on a usable bicycle or in-line skates lane or, if a usable bicycle or in-line skates lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge. Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, in-line skates, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or person on in-line skates and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.""

So, yes, take the full lane to avoid having a car on your left.


Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
"""Driven,"" not ""ridden"" a bicycle? Poor choice of verbs."

"""Upon all reoadways, any bicycle or in-line skates shall be DRIVEN (sic) on a usable bicycle (lane)....""
- §1234 NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law

Yeah, that's good writing. Not.

Anonymous's picture
m (not verified)

still critical

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
What's the point?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but traffic circle or roundabout, what is the point of a traffic circle controlled by traffic lights? Given the location of this one at 110th Street and Central Park, in what way is a traffic light controlled traffic circle an improvement on a standard intersection between two streets that is simply controlled by traffic lights only?

I don't know about this country, but I do know that roundabouts in Britain cause confusion to drivers from the US, until they understand roundabout rules. The whole idea of roundabouts is to do away with traffic lights at an intersection and improve the overall flow of traffic in all directions. They do actually work, but the moment you put traffic lights on them, you defeat the object of the exercise.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Pedestrian access. Here's a record of the decision process:


The circle is Frederick Douglass Circle, which has just been completely reconstructed, including a statue, etc. The main consideration of the type of circle for traffic purposes came down to pedestrian access to the inner park and to Central Park, so they ended up with what is known as the ""Barnes Dance"" solution with red lights giving children and old people enough time to cross. It is supposed to have a ""calming effect"" on traffic by requiring all drivers to travel from 1/4 to 3/4 of the way around the circle to make their turns or go straight ahead."

Anonymous's picture
Jim (not verified)
[OT] Columbus Circle

If anyone has a good plan to get to the park from Columbus Circle, coming uptown on 8th, I'd love to hear it. My strategy is to wait on the east side of the light at 8th and Columbus Circle, for the red at 60th and Broadway, and try to scoot around the circle during the extremely brief pause in traffic. It is impossible to execute this maneuver without breaking several traffic laws.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)

How about following the tail end of the car traffic when 8th Ave goes green?

Keep in mind traffic from 8th Ave (going uptown)generally don't turn down Broadway (heading downtown). So you only need to watch out for those turning into 59th st.

cycling trips