Published on April 20, 2022

Roundabouts: An Effective Transportation Tool

Have you noticed an increase in roundabouts while driving within St. Albert? As the city grows, roundabouts are becoming more prevalent and will continue to play an integral role in managing traffic.

St. Albert currently has six roundabouts located throughout the city with two new roundabouts planned for construction in 2022. Three of the city’s six roundabouts were constructed in the past five years, with two of these recently built roundabouts being part of neighborhood developments.

What are the Benefits of Roundabouts?

A roundabout is a type of circular intersection that has drivers travel counterclockwise around a centre island. There are no traffic signals or stop control in a roundabout. Instead, drivers entering the roundabout yield to traffic already in the roundabout.

Roundabouts can increase traffic capacity while improving intersection safety by eliminating t-bone and head-on collisions, decreasing speeds in and through the intersection and decreasing the overall speed differences between vehicles. They are effective at maintaining pedestrian safety and may be used to calm neighbourhood traffic by encouraging reduced speeds. Roundabouts are also more environmentally friendly and cost-effective as they remove maintenance and electricity costs affiliated with traffic lights.

Roundabouts are constructed as part of improvements to existing intersections to improve operations and/or safety, or as part of new development.

Current Roundabout Locations in St. Albert:

  • Everitt Drive North and Ebony Way
  • St. Anne Street and St. Anne Promenade
  • St. Anne Promenade and Tache Street
  • Jensen Lakes Boulevard west of St. Albert Trail
  • Jensen Lakes Boulevard and Jubilation Drive/Joyal Way
  • Versailles Avenue and Villemagne Road

Roundabout Locations Planned for Construction in 2022:

  • Villeneuve Road and commercial access at Walmart
  • Villeneuve Road and Dennison Drive/Jensen Gate

Modern Roundabouts vs. Traffic Circles

While drivers must follow similar rules when using roundabouts or traffic circles, there are slight differences between the two. The centre island of a modern roundabout is smaller and designed with a tighter curve to encourage lower speeds. Roundabouts may have a mountable curb to accommodate movements of larger commercial vehicles and can vary in shape and size. Pedestrian crossings on roundabouts are typically located further away from the intersection for safety, which also improves sightlines for motorists and pedestrians.

Navigating Roundabouts

Roundabouts can be intimidating for both new and experienced drivers, but they don’t have to be. The following 7 steps can help you safely navigate roundabouts as a motorist or cyclist:

  1. When approaching the roundabout, choose the correct lane that corresponds to your intended exit.
  2. Slow down as you approach the roundabout and be aware of crossing pedestrians.
  3. Looking left, yield to all traffic inside the circular lane and enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic, traveling in a counter-clockwise direction (to the right). 
  4. Maintain a safe speed, as indicated by the posted speed limit signs, through the roundabout.
  5. Never change lanes within the roundabout.
  6. Signal for a right turn as you approach the desired exit while maintaining a safe speed and be aware of crossing pedestrians.
  7. Cyclists follow the same protocol as vehicles. It is recommended that inexperienced cyclists dismount and cross the roundabout as a pedestrian. 

Did you know?

If an emergency vehicle approaches, do not pull over in the roundabout. Drive through the roundabout, exit, and pull over when it is safe to do so, just as you would at any other intersection.

More Helpful Information

For more information about driving through a roundabout please visit the links below:

AMA Traffic Circle & Roundabout Rules in Alberta

Government of Alberta Traffic Circles and Roundabouts

Video: Rules of the Roundabout

Source: Federal Highway Administration

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Last edited: April 20, 2022