A one-line blurb on www.cfra.com said that Hintonburg would have a pilot project for roundabouts between Holland Parkdale. Well, I thought to myself, Hintonburg already has one, at the intersection of Burnside, Slidell and Bayview avenues, so what’s up with this pilot project.

So I looked for more information. I couldn’t find anything on the city’s site, but I did find this at the Ottawa Sun:   (article copied below in case it gets archived or the link changes).

It appears that roundabouts are cyclist friendly. I suppose they are better in that you don’t have to stop, but do cyclists, and for that matter drivers, know what to do at a roundabout?

I remember the first time NosyNeighbour and I visited England and rented a car. Before it was delivered, we walked to the roundabout up the street from our B&B and watched the traffic patterns. The good thing is that if you miss your exit, you can just go around again. If you want to know more about how to use a roundabout, the city has some pretty good information.

Small roundabouts could be built on residential streets to decrease traffic speeds.

Ottawa motorists are accustomed to large roundabouts on heavily travelled routes, but “mini-roundabouts” could be installed on low-speed roads.

The test case would be in Hintonburg on a 250-metre-long road between Holland Ave. and Parkdale Ave.

Tyndall Ave. is a busy passage for traffic trying to get to the Queensway or downtown as an alternative to Wellington St. West or Carling Ave.

And it isn’t just one mini-roundabout being proposed.

There are two being floated at consecutive intersections: Hinton Ave. and Hamilton Ave.

It’s part of a larger consultation on road improvements to help cyclists safely navigate the hairy stretch from Byron Ave. to Gladstone Ave., which requires crossing both Holland Ave. and Parkdale Ave.

Jeff Leiper, president of the Hintonburg Community Association, said residents assumed the proposals would be cyclist-specific. If they didn’t go to an open house last week, they would have not realized the changes affect all road users.

“A small cycling change has become a very large plan that seriously modifies traffic flows,” Leiper said Monday.

The mini-roundabouts — which are currently not used anywhere else in Ottawa — are the most noteworthy parts of the plan, especially for families who live in the six-block neighbourhood around Tyndall Ave.

Leiper lives on Hamilton Ave.

As he observed, the briskness of traffic on Tyndall Ave. during the rush hours isn’t a concern since it’s virtually bumper-to-bumper, but as the congestion eases, the speeds increase.

And for motorists trying to get onto Tyndall Ave. from the side streets during rush hour, it’s a challenge inching into traffic.

The city says small traffic circles were originally recommended in an 1997 transportation study in the area.

One major difference with larger diameter roundabouts is the centre island. Mini-roundabouts have non-landscaped, mountable islands so emergency vehicles can navigate narrow streets.

There are the usual pros and cons. The speeds would drop, but pedestrians would have longer walking distances and they would yield to vehicles at crosswalks.

Leiper said if mini-roundabouts help motorists merge onto Tyndall Ave. during rush hours and decrease speeds the rest of the day, the community association would support the infrastructure.

It’s good the city is looking for solutions that go beyond stop signs and annoying speed humps, Leiper said.

“I have to applaud them for being forward-looking.”