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Towson Roundabout

Project Abstract

Towson, Maryland is a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Near the central part of the Towson business district, four major arterials converge at a single location. The awkward, multi-leg signalized intersection caused congestion and safety problems. In addition, the business community and City of Towson sought improvements to the economic viability of the downtown and believed that economic improvements were directly related to traffic improvements. A number of alternatives were developed, and eventually, a signalized roundabout, relatively new to the U.S. at the time, emerged as the preferred solution. The roundabout and streetscape project are considered a major success and are a source of local pride in the town of Towson.



480 towson roundabout2:
Setting Towson, Maryland is a suburb of Baltimore, in Baltimore County, Maryland. Near the central part of the Towson business district, four major arterials converge at a single location. Joppa Road, York Road, Alleghany Avenue, and Dulaney Valley Road meet at a large, complex multi-leg signalized intersection. Towson is the Baltimore County seat. A number of historically significant governmental buildings are near the downtown, including the Baltimore County Courthouse. The town is also home to a number of businesses and universities. Problem to be Solved The transportation problem to be solved was relieving the congestion and improving the safety of the awkward, multi-leg signalized intersection. In addition, the business community and City of Towson believed that improvements to the economic viability of the downtown businesses were needed. The project thus became a combination of congestion relief and local economic enhancement. Stakeholders
  • City of Towson
  • Baltimore County
  • Maryland State Highway Administration
  • Towson Business Association
  • Goucher College
  • Individual business owners
  • Utility companies
CSD/CSS Approach The Maryland SHA took a proactive approach involving substantial public outreach to understand all problems and issues and to develop a plan for the intersection and surrounding street system that would enjoy widespread support. The project became more than just an intersection improvement project, but instead became a downtown Towson enhancement project. The circumstances required both a unique design solution as well as extensive community involvement. Design Flexibility and Application of Design Criteria Original efforts by Maryland SHA staff to solve the traffic operational problem focused on traditional solutions - removing one or more legs of the intersection to simplify operations. These solutions, however, were not well received as they would have produced substantial changes to traffic patterns and would have disadvantaged many businesses. The SHA took another look at the project. A number of alternatives were developed. Eventually, a signalized roundabout emerged as the preferred solution. At the time this alternative was proposed (mid-1990s) roundabouts were relatively new to the U.S. The SHA engaged expert consultants to help development in analysis of roundabout solutions. SHA staff were open to considering a new and "untested" design solution for this difficult location.
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