Rare Toronto roundabout a challenge for dozy drivers: The Fixer

Rare Toronto roundabout a challenge for dozy drivers: The Fixer

A roundabout can be confusing for drivers, and apparently a challenge for some who aren’t paying close attention.

Roundabouts are common at intersections in Europe and occasionally used in Canada and the U.S., but are very rare in Toronto.

Two of four signs that direct traffic at a roundabout have been knocked down, at the intersection of Yeomans Rd. and McAllister Rd. One of the downed signs is in the middle of the roundabout, next to a piece of grillwork from a car.
Two of four signs that direct traffic at a roundabout have been knocked down, at the intersection of Yeomans Rd. and McAllister Rd. One of the downed signs is in the middle of the roundabout, next to a piece of grillwork from a car.  (JACK LAKEY)

Of the few in service here, some still have stop signs at the approaches; why bother having a roundabout, if drivers must obey a stop sign at the approach to it?

They’re so few and far between around here that they can sometimes rattle drivers who aren’t used to them, and can even be overlooked, if they’re as small as the roundabout at Yeomans Rd. and McAllister Rd.

A reader who lives in the area, near Bathurst St. and Sheppard Ave., told us that one of the four signs directing traffic to circle the roundabout was snapped off long ago by a vehicle, and that another was recently hit by a car.

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The roundabout is down to just two signs with circular arrows on them, he said, adding that it seems useless, since east-west traffic approaching the intersection on McAllister must still obey stop signs.

We went there and found a round blue sign with white circular arrows on it in the middle of the roundabout, right next to a chunk of grill from a black car, probably the vehicle that hit it.

With no stop signs for north-south traffic on Yeomans, a much busier street than McAllister, drivers approaching the roundabout are going a lot faster than those edging away from the stop signs on McAllister.

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It’s no stretch to conclude that drivers on Yeomans who aren’t paying close attention have mounted an edge of the roundabout, just enough to clip the sign poles facing east and west.

Or maybe it’s a four-way thing after all. A 2015 Google Street View image shows that both north-south signs, facing drivers on McAllister, had been clipped.

We wrote about another small roundabout on Yeomans, at Bainbridge Ave., in 2012, as well as the one at McAllister; a city official told us they were part of a pilot project 20 years earlier, but stop signs were left at both because the roundabout made some community members uneasy.

Maybe it’s time to get rid of it and revert to stop signs only.

Status

Allen Pinkerton, who’s in charge of traffic signs and markings, replied to our email in 90 minutes, saying he’d send someone right away to make it safe, adding, “depending on the availability of signs, complete repair may take slightly longer.”

What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Email jlakey@thestar.ca or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter

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