Carmel City Council mulling 20 mph roundabout speed limit

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Carmel leaders are studying if they should set a speed limit to slow motorists as they approach and drive through the city’s famed roundabouts.

The Carmel City Council introduced an ordinance Monday night that would establish a 20 mph speed limit for each of the city’s 150 roundabouts. The ordinance next goes to the city council’s Finance, Utilities and Rules Committee for more discussion.

City Council President Jeff Worrell told his fellow council members that Mayor Jim Brainard originally proposed setting a speed limit for the city’s roundabouts.

“I’ve heard from councilors who say, ‘I cannot support this’ [and] I get that,” Worrell said. “What I would like to do is to get it to a hearing, get it to a forum … where we can have people who we’ve all seen have very strong opinions about this both for and against, and we can give them their opportunity.”

Worrell, who said he is not currently for or against the ordinance, added that he rode with Carmel Police Department traffic officers last week and he came away with the impression that it would be possible to enforce a roundabout speed limit.

“What is probably misleading, and I’m going to have to work on in committee, is that we’re not trying to control the speed in the roundabout. It is the entry into the roundabout, which is 225 feet where everything is signed,” Worrell said. “So, if we could slow traffic down, that may or may not be of value.”

Indiana law does not allow a speed limit lower than 20 mph, so the city cannot consider a slower speed limit for its roundabouts. Carmel does not currently have a city-wide roundabout speed limit.

Carmel, the self-proclaimed “Roundabout Capital of the United States,” has more roundabouts than any other city in the United States. The city prefers roundabouts over traffic lights because studies show they decrease serious crashes.

Carmel opened its two most recent roundabouts in late October at the intersections of Matt Street and Millgate Drive and Grisham Drive and Twain Drive in the Courtyards of Carmel community.

The city only has eight remaining traffic lights.

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29 thoughts on “Carmel City Council mulling 20 mph roundabout speed limit

  1. The fact that this has to go through the finance committee shows that this is more about a money grab than safety, although slower speed limits on surface streets aren’t a bad thing.

    1. No, that’s a bad take. Carmel City Council only has two committees, “Land Use and Special Studies” and “Finance, Utilities and Rules”

      This is a rule. It goes to the Finance committee.

  2. “Twenty is Plenty”, especially on these intersections that have adjacent pedestrian pathways and sidewalks, are near a school. It also allows that extra half-a-second for a more timid or inexperienced driver to calmly approach and exit a roundabout.

    1. I went by that sign the other day and its a stupid sign. The problem is the 4 lane road designed like a highway, and placing a sign there isn’t going to change that.

  3. Whiners. Some of us in Indianapolis see speed limits enforced the old fashioned way, via roads that are in such bad shape that you have to slow or risk damage to your car. Doesn’t take law enforcement and the nearby homeowners occasionally get a free hubcap to help compensate for their troubles. Indiana, A State That Works ™.

  4. I don’t know … maybe if they had *designed them correctly*, people wouldn’t be able to speed thru them, or feel comfortable going fast. A stupid sign isn’t going to do anything.
    It’s time to hold the designers / traffic engineers accountable for dangerous streets and roundabouts.

  5. What problem are they trying to fix? If it’s revenue, then I fully agree with most of the comments and full steam ahead.

    If there is some other issue, then they haven’t made a strong case for what it might be.

    1. It’s much harder for pedestrians to safely use the crosswalk when people are whipping around the roundabout at high rates of speed (and they are).

  6. I always find it curious that people will criticize Marion County road repair issues, but won’t support having the legislature fix a big part of the problem…a six lane road in Marion County (and the surrounding counties) is treated the same as a two lane road in rural Indiana. Much higher traffic volume, 3 times the lane miles, but it doesn’t matter. Marion County build the roads decades ago, and they require repair and upgrade. That means public revenue…taxes.
    And we should remember to tip our hats to years and years of infrastructure neglect, because it would have meant higher taxes.
    And lest people forget, those higher taxes are coming to the donut counties. My Hamilton County neighbors complain about taxes going up to make these two lane rural roads between new developments capable of handling the new traffic volumes. And schools, police, fire, ambulance, street maintenance, sewers, hospitals…all the infrastructure that Marion County has and has to pay to keep up. It’s all come, and more coming, to the donuts. Many of my neighbors can’t make the connection between the services they demand and their tax bills.

    1. Hogsett has been making this case for a couple years. What’s more curious is why Marion County Republicans don’t fight for their constituents on road funding.

      Aaron Freeman made a “technical” fix that found $8 million bucks. It beats a kick in the shins but it not nearly enough given the thousands of miles of roads in Marion County.

    2. This can has been kicked down the road so much it won’t roll anymore. The road issue is a policy issue. If a road is paved, it must have a maintenance plan. When the cracks in roads are sealed, they last much longer. The quality of the paving can also have a lot to do with it, and I’m sure the contracts go to the lowest bidders. Look at Kesler on the east side. It is crap and was just paved. I watched DPW employees drive by a dismantled crosswalk in their new trucks for two years while on the phone. A couple of hours and some bricks would have made the ADA crosswalk usable, but they couldn’t care less.

      How about the cluster of four to eight scooters that block crosswalks all over the city. I wonder who gets paid there?

      One person can not fix the issue. It is a people thing and not a person think. Show some pride in your city, people!

    3. Matt … maintenance plan, sealing cracks, quality of the work done ….that’s a fine list of things that take MONEY to do.

      You can argue we should fix less roads and fix them better, but that’s a hard position to advocate from when you’ve got nine figures in deferred maintenance.

  7. If it is truly about safety and not just writing tickets, then before making and installing all of those 20MPH speed limit signs, they should put them in one roundabout and see if they make a difference. If a road is 40MPH, then I expect people will go through the roundabouts as fast as they can regardless of whether there is a 20MPH sign or not. It would also be interesting to see how this would be enforced.

  8. I’m on Carmel City Council and I support this ordinance as a multi-layered strategy to protect pedestrians and cyclists, as well as to reduce accidents within the RABs. The best solution is a Safe System approach where the road design actually slows traffic to the desired speed, and Carmel has made some advances including adjusting the entry angle into the RAB and in some cases adding speed tables (elevated crosswalks) for pedestrians. While there are challenges to enforcing this, it is another layer to add for reducing speed and therefore reducing or mitigating potential or actual injuries that can occur. The comment about going to Finance Committee was correct- it is the committee where virtually everything except land use/ rezoning goes for deliberation.

    1. For all the reasons TJH mentions, I’m in favor of this ordinance. Thanks to all city counselors willing to favor safety over reckless driving.

    2. If this is Tim Hannon, as a Democrat I was disappointed you didn’t run for re-election. Your integrity on this legislative body will be sorely missed.

  9. Everyone is in a hurry these days and so many run through these roundabouts like they are on a speed mission and just about cause serious accidents. Why is everyone so anxious to go through life at such a rage. Roundabouts are just adding to the mission to get somewhere in a hurry because they don’t like stopping at traffic signals. This younger generation is like this in all walks of life today. They join the society of self-centered, all for me society and the H with anyone who gets in their way and just are hell bent on rushing. Where is it that they are going in such a rush? Did anyone ever tell them to slow down and enjoy the roses and be courteous and respectful of their fellow man? Carmel has diet sized range line and built the round a bout at 116th, Carmel Drive and Medical drive and you take your life in your hands, SAFETY what is that? They. built all three round abouts to allow traffic to move faster and now they see what has happened. That one roundabout at Medical Drive is a disaster and now that we have Fresh Market open, we find ourselves at risk trying to navigate that thing. Now when the MUSE is occupied with Tenants and businesses, just imagine them exiting the building onto 116th and Westfield (Rangeline,) with all that traffic on the diet sized Rangeline and an extremely busy intersection. DUMB DUMB DUMB. Safety is not in their vocabulary.

  10. Careful what you wish for Carmel, Aaron Freeman will introduce a bill next session to ban your ability to set your own speed limits because, you know, he and the rest of General Assembly’s super majority support home rule.