Roanoke city manager calls attention to traffic control in latest blog

City manager inspired by recent trip to China

ROANOKE, Va. – Driving down Colonial Avenue past Virginia Western Community College, you'll go through two roundabouts under construction.

Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell says they are a perfect example of the ongoing effort to improve the flow of traffic in the city.

"We've taken a couple of intersections, which were signalized, which are no longer going to be signalized. We're absolutely convinced we'll move more traffic through there in volume and do so in a safer manner than what existed when the traffic lights were there," Cowell said.

A recent trip to Beijing got him thinking about how other countries control traffic.

This was the topic of his most recent blog on the city's website.

"As I saw in China, they've got their own problems with traffic management and stuff, but some of those intersections worked very well even though they lacked a number of things we take for granted here in the states or that there's often calls for," Cowell said.

He'd like to see the city try implementing a concept called shared streets, where cars, bikes and pedestrians use the same space rather than having a designated area for each type of transportation.

Roundabouts and shared streets are welcome ideas for some people 10 News spoke to in Roanoke Wednesday.

"I've seen a couple that they've got in the city that I personally like. Some people don't like them, but I do," Bill Kopcial said.

"I think Roanoke is all about outside activities and walking and biking, and I think it's something the city needs to take into (account)," Adam Neal said.

For now, though, Cowell is just hoping his blog will get people thinking about ways to keep people moving safely and efficiently.