May 9, 2012

Druid Hill Park Roundabout

Roundabouts that actually solve problems

Hopefully, the city is taking roundabouts seriously as a specific tool in solving real problems of traffic and its impact on the environment. The city's proposal to restore the former roundabout at Park Circle, using modern techniques and standards, is a good sign. The jumble of channelized road connections installed there at Reisterstown and Park Heights about fifty years ago to replace the roundabout never worked.

The labyrinthine concrete mess at the other corner of Druid Hill Park - the intersection of Fulton, McCulloh, Druid Hill, Druid Park Lake Drive and Auchentoroly Terrace - has never worked either. I mentioned that in my Baltimore Brew article of November 19, 2010. Now I've drawn up an example of how it might be done, as shown here.

This should be part of a larger step-by-step effort to undo the long-term damage highways have inflicted to the relationship between the neighborhoods and the park. It's about reinvention. It's not just a matter of trying to carve out street space for bikes or anyone else, such as the "complete streets" program which was rejected by the nearby community on Monroe Street.

Hopefully, the city will not just be using roundabouts to make a showy "statement", such as their half-baked plan for Light Street and Key Highway in the Inner Harbor.


  1. These are becoming popular in planning circles (pun not intended) under certain conditions. I assume there would not be a lot of tractor-trailer traffic through there? It would be interesting to see how it would work at peak times. As someone far more cogent than I once said, "Call it morning driving thru the sound and/Even in the Valley..." (sorry)

  2. Yes... In and around the (Druid) Lake, mountains come out of the sky and they stand there, one mile over we'll be there and we'll see you. No... Not many trucks. Roundabouts should be designed with a mountable area for large trucks in the circle next to the inside lane, and they can also straddle both lanes if they're big ones.