Roundabout? No harm in talking traffic transformation
September 07, 2013 11:25 PM | 2251 views | 4 4 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Would traffic flow better through downtown Marietta if the Square were round? That is, if the traffic pattern around Marietta Square was changed so that all four streets around its perimeter were one-way?

That’s what Mayor Steve Tumlin proposed last week. He envisions turning those streets into a traffic “circle,” albeit one with four 90-degree angles.

“I personally think (a roundabout) can work on the Square and give us the old-time feel,” Tumlin said told the MDJ.

At present, the Square is bounded by a one-way street running north, a one-way street running south, and two streets running both east and west. As anyone who’s watched traffic downtown knows, the present configuration can take some getting used to and is a sure bet to stump many out-of-town drivers. And as those who’ve driven through downtown also know, it’s not an arrangement guaranteed to move traffic swiftly and seamlessly.

The present traffic pattern is not etched in stone. As Tumlin recalled, all of the streets around the Square were one-way when he was a child in the 1950s. And old photographs of downtown show various streets at various times with traffic flows opposite of today’s directions.

Tumlin quickly picked up the support of Kee Carlisle, who chairs the city’s Vision 20/20 Committee, the task of which it is to improve the look and functionality of downtown. Carlisle would couple Tumlin’s proposal with an effort to widen the sidewalk on the north side of the Square to make more room for al fresco dining at the Square’s many eateries.

Unfortunately for Tumlin, support for his proposal seems to start and end with Carlisle, according to the story.

“I think it is a great idea, but I am one person,” said Carlisle. The committee’s other 13 members were not as enthused, he said. At least, not yet, although that could well change as they learn more about the idea. They’re slated to discuss it again at their meeting on Monday.

Though this is not meant as an endorsement of Tumlin’s proposal, it is an idea worth discussing. If there is a more logical and more coherent way — and less confusing way — of moving traffic through downtown, it makes sense to try to find it.

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confuse the elderly
September 10, 2013
If we want to confuse the elderly and convince them to stay in East Cobb, this sounds like a plan! DO IT!!!!
September 09, 2013
I think you're confusing one-way square with 'traffic circle' or 'roundabout'. It would be nearly impossible to make Marietta Square operate as safely as a modern roundabout. Even shaving the corners into a circle would not solve what to do at the current corners.
Diamond Jim
September 09, 2013
Go take a look at LaGrange, or any of a number of other small towns around Georgia that have "round-about squares" in their down-towns before doing something like that in Marietta. They are a pain in the rear!
dont wanna think
September 09, 2013

The reason folks are immediately against making an effective traffic circle of the Square is that it requires at least a tiny speck of thoughtful consideration.

"It's new different scary and/or intimidating so I oppose it due to being entrenced in my elderly ways of not thinking about things!"

As a pedestrian, I fully support this traffic circle concept. Crosswalks are in the center which is where people are crossing the Square anyway because crossing at our "the cars don't ever stop" yield-signed intersections is an exercise in futility or perhaps fatality, one of those, even with the box yelling "WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!" You would think it would yell "WAIT" at the drivers, as they are the ones who never wait.
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