News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meanwhile, in the Anti-Reston: Traffic Circle Threatens to Turn Herndon into France, or Maybe New Jersey

evil spock.jpegIt's been a while since we've checked in with our tolerant neighbor to the west. What's been doing? Apparently, along with their fear of the other Metro, folks in Herndon are now up in arms over another invader from faraway lands: traffic circles.

In July, the town informed residents near the intersection of Dranesville Road and Park Avenue, which is really more of a curve in the road than an intersection, that it was looking at some traffic calming measures there, just south of Herndon Parkway and Herndon High School. And then, in a work session in October, the council made its decision for a roundabout without any further public input. The move is legal — it’s technically only a road improvement and doesn’t require anyone’s land or a new ordinance — but shocking to those who live nearby.
Maybe they're worried about Herndon looking like some exotic place, like England, France, or New Jersey. Actually, the folks who live near the intersection have valid concerns about the appropriateness of building a roundabout at this particular intersection, plus in a very Reston-like way, the potential loss of trees. So there's a public hearing tonight, which ought to go well.

If they decide not to build the roundabout in the middle of what's really a residential neighborhood, we think they should just turn Elden Street into a series of concentric traffic circles, each funneling into the Big Lots parking lot, and call it a day.

Update: So much for the traffic circle.


  1. Having lived in New Jersey for a number of years, I can attest that a nice 6-way traffic circle adds a certain level of anticipation and excitement to an otherwise boring daily commute. A bit too much for the typical Restonite I'm affraid. Maybe they should start out with a couple of "jug handles" first -- just to test the water.

  2. Contain your excitement everyone. The Herndon Town Council has voted against a circle.

  3. I was just enjoying a traffic circle or two up near the exotic Route 32 in Maryland today. And my excitement for Herndon has returned to the default state of derision and pity (mixed with envy at the variety of dining options there). I can understand the concern if the circle was going to be rather small. In Europe, I love the tiny traffic circles which are only marked by a sad yellow painted circle in the center of a slightly bulbous bit of pavement. Buses don't fare so well on those. I enjoy driving in NJ, as the gas is cheap, they pump it for you, and the jug handles are cool. I agree with the Garden State posting: those big circles make it interesting!

  4. Circles are effective (and make interesting viewing) if people know how to actually drive in them. In Northern Virginia, and Maryland folks think they're like some kind of sleeping bear and need to sneak up on it.

    My favorite are the handful of circles that have stop signs at all entrances to it.

  5. Too bad the town didn't go for it. Traffic circles are much better way of moving traffic along than all of these stupid traffic lights at intersections.


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