First Town Downtown Windsor CT

Windsor CT Main Street Program
Phone: 860-247-8982

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Road Diet

Road Diet

Why a Road Diet? Why Roundabouts?

To make Windsor Center a safer, more vibrant place by:

  • Reducing vehicle speeds

  • Improving walkability

  • Improving traffic flow

  • Improving foot traffic to local businesses

Reducing lanes and vehicle speeds makes the road way safer for all users. This is especially true for young and disabled pedestrians, who are often unable to use multi-lane roadways with high speeds and lighted signals.

We also want to support local business. People will spend time in a place that feels pleasant and safe. One of the best ways to do this is to reduce vehicle speeds and improve walkability. Local business thrives on foot traffic. Safer places encourages people to spend time there, which encourages more foot traffic, which encourages more retail business.


How does a road diet work?

How does a roundabout work?

What happens there is an accident on 91 and traffic is diverted through town?

Roundabouts allow for 30% greater throughput of automobiles.1 While these traffic incidents are relatively rare, the road diet will be able to accommodate them just as well as the current configuration while providing year-long safety and livability improvements to residents.

How do pedestrians navigate roundabouts without signals?

This is one of the most common concerns and it's difficult to picture if you haven't done it before, but it's actually much safer to cross at a roundabout than at a lighted intersection. These safety benefits have been documented by decades of research and countless case studies.2

A roundabout's design intrinsically reduces speeds. Approaching drivers know they will need to merge into the roundabout, and so they slow down and begin observing their surroundings for possible hazards. Compare this to a driver who is looking up at signal lights while accelerating to beat a yellow light.

The pedestrian now has to communicate with a single driver to cross a single lane of traffic at a time, compared to having to cross many lanes simultaneously in a lighted signal while watching for drivers turning on red.

It can seem counterintuitive, but the layout of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down and that makes them much, much safer for all road users. Research bears this out.3

This will hurt local businesses. Where will customers park?

Businesses in a town center like Broad Street rely on foot traffic. When you create a pleasant space where people feel safe, people will spend time there and frequent local businesses.

The road diet will also add dedicated on-street parking to Windsor Center that will be more clearly delineated than current parking.

Many local business owners are in favor of the road diet. A vibrant, walkable community is good for local businesses, as has been demonstrated in many similar projects across the country.4

Won't snow removal be more difficult with roundabouts?

Snow removal is actually easier for roundabouts than will traditional intersections. When plowing a traditional intersection, additional passes are required to clear the center of the intersection in addition to the travel lanes. In a roudabout, the plow simply does the full circle, as it's clearing the travel lanes.

There are many existing roundabouts in places with heavy annual snowfall, and those areas report no additional difficulty with snow removal.

Roundabouts also have a major advantage over lighted intersections in hazardous weather conditions: they don't "go out" when the electricity does!

See The city's proof is in the plowing, Olean, New York

Will emergency vehicles be able to get through roundabouts in a timely manner?

The roundabouts are designed for emergency vehicles to be able to drive through them quickly, or over them in necessary. The higher throughput of vehicles through roundabouts makes them easier to clear than lighted signals when emergency vehicles need to get through.

Roundabouts and road diets also significantly reduce serious accidents, meaning there will be fewer incidents for emergency vehicles to respond to.

How do we know this is going to work?

Many towns have implemented similar road diets and roundabout plans. These plans have met with public support and approval in every case study that we can find.4

Are there going to be more accidents?

Roundabouts and road diets significantly reduced serious accidents and their results; injuries, property damage, and deaths. Property taxes are very unlikely to be effected by increased insurance cost incurred by the town.

Will traffic increase from the new residents at Founders Square?

The improved throughput of roundabouts will easily absorb the additional new vehicle trips, and the addition of bike lanes and improved walkability will mitigate the need for increased vehicle trips in and out of these properties. Greg Vaca, the developer of this project, is very much in favor of roundabouts and the road diet more broadly.

Will traffic be diverted to side streets?

Currently 70% of the traffic in Windsor Center is north-south through traffic. We believe that these drivers are motivated by speed, and so are more likely to divert to the highway instead of taking back roads.

If this turns out to be the case, however, it would make sense to introduce traffic calming measures on those back streets to further encourage through-traffic to arterial road ways.

The road diet is going to ruin our beautiful quaint town center.

Aesthetics are personal, but we believe that slower moving vehicles, more pedestrians, and more bicyclist will not diminish the visual appeal of Windsor Center.

Why now? Has the town asked for feedback from residents.

This process has also taken place through dozens of meetings over the course of a decade, with major revisions made to designs based on local residents' feedback. We continue to welcome comment and concern as the process continues.

Couldn't we do speed bumps instead?

Speed bumps on a multi-lane arterial road way would cause problems for emergency vehicles while also causing damage to private automobiles. If the goal is to reduce speed, a road diet does the same thing while also providing safety benefits to other users and creating space within the right of way for dedicated bike lanes.

What about enforcement? Can't the cops just issue more speeding tickets?

Enforcement can slow traffic, but police time is expensive and the effect is transient. Enforcement does not do much to improve walkability, or to simply the chaotic traffic patterns intrinsic to multi-lane roads.

We believe it would be a better long-term solution to address the underlying infrastructural causes of speeding and free up police offers to serve the town in other ways.

Resources and Footnotes

1. [Roundabouts: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety] : [text reference]

2. [Insights: Traffic Injury Research Foundation] : [text reference]

3. [The Effects of Roundabouts on Pedestrian Safety: National Association of City Transportation Officials] : [text reference]

4. [Road Diets' Economic Impacts: Federal Highway Administration] : [text reference]

Mission Statement
The mission of First Town Downtown is to position and promote Windsor Center as a premier New England town center that protects and utilizes its proud heritage as the basis for developing vibrant recreational, economic and cultural activity.

Become a member of First Town Downtown and be a part of the growth of Windsor's downtown area and Windsor as a whole! Join or Renew your membership in First Town Downtown, Windsor's Main Street program.

  • Address:161 Broad St, Windsor, CT

  • Phone: 860-247-8982

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