FIVE "calming circles" out of the 30 sprinkled through Winnipeg are going to be modified because motorists aren't slowing down enough.
The City of Winnipeg is reconfiguring the five traffic circles on Grosvenor Avenue in River Heights starting next week.
The problem is small cars are able to zip straight through the traffic circles without slowing down. "We're going to narrow the road a bit to make sure motorists slow down more," said Luis Escobar, City of Winnipeg manager of transportation and public works.
To do that, the city will extend a curving sidewalk farther into the street. The change will also mean less road for pedestrians to cross, limiting their exposure to vehicle traffic.
The traffic circles work much like a four-way stop without requiring people to always stop. The first vehicle into the circle has the right-of-way.
Escobar said other traffic circles in Winnipeg seem to be meeting their objectives. Vehicle speeds there "seem to be more in line with what we were expecting, slowing down to about 30 kilometres per hour," he said. The roadwork should take two to three weeks to complete.
Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike to the Future, a non-profit group working to make cycling safe year-round in Winnipeg, said the changes on Grosvenor are a good step, but more should be done.
Cohoe would like to see special lane markings so drivers know both bicycles and vehicles have the right to drive in the centre of the lane going into and out of the traffic circle.
"The cars should be the ones doing the deflecting into the curb. That would be more comfortable than for the cyclists," he said.
"The goal is to deflect the traffic and slow it down... With these changes, you still have to be cautious as a cyclist, but I think it will be a lot safer."
Archive video: Traffic circle cam highlights - October 21, 2010