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How to deal with thousands of pedestrians at a busy roundabout

Oct 6, 2012 By Abraham

One of the main advantages of roundabouts is that they decrease traffic congestion by keeping vehicles moving. But this purpose is defeated if the intersection is busy with pedestrians as well as cars, since the cars will have to stop for people in the crosswalks.

Shanghai has solved this problem in at least one area with a double-level roundabout…

Landmark architecture in Shanghai’s Pudong, the financial district. The circular walkway gives open access for pedestrians to all surrounding streets. As seen from above, standing at one of the observation decks in the Oriental Pearl Tower.

(via Viktor Lakics)


  1. Paula says:

    This looks so elegant! Please, America, can’t we back off the preoccupation with illusory, puffball financial instruments and make something that will serve the people? Our infrastructure is suffering and nobody seems to care!

  2. Sam says:

    This doesn’t serve the people; it serves the vehicles. The upper level should have been built for vehicles, to allow the people to walk freely at ground level, in straight lines. To force people on foot to hike up and around and down this monstrous bridge is just atrocious. This solution merely conserved real estate, at the expense of the people.

    1. Steve C says:

      Sam, I guess you want to get out your check book because your way would cost ten times more than what was shown. Trust me as I’m a general engineering construction estimator and I’ve estimated similar types of projects. This design for a two tiered roundabout is, or should be the future. Do away with stoplights, keep traffic moving, less pollution waiting for the light to turn green.

    2. BCBud says:

      This does not serve all the people. How would persons with mobility problems (on wheeled mobility devices like Mobility scooters and wheelchairs, power or manual) get onto or exit the walkway with what looks like stairs at most of the exits and entryways… Opps. I suppose they could enter from the ramp at the upper left but all the other exits look like stairs. FAIL!

      1. rev says:

        it’s a bit hard to see since it’s from high above, but I think those aren’t stairs, I think all the entryways have ramps. but as I said, it’s hard to see

        1. Zuruspa says:

          So there’s ramps. That doesn’t change the fact that cars can easily go up and down without need for extra lifts, stairs. Hence people should stay in the ground, and cars could go up & down at will.

  3. Joshua Barnett says:

    Roundabouts are awesome. They are generally faster, safer, and sometimes confusing, which slows everybody down, resulting in FAR fewer accidents, and almost no fatalities. 4 way stops are like death traps. In British Columbia, where I live, we have several roundabouts in town. I have become a believer.

  4. Zuruspa says:

    This thing is atrocious! I don’t doubt that engineers have fallen in love with it, because they love machines more than they love people.
    Roundabouts are indeed awesome, and this one could be awesome if it were for cars! Cars can go up and down without need for extra ladders, lifts, and what-not. Cars don’t mind steepness, people do especially old, tired, with low mobility! And if the upper roundabout were for cars… there would not be any need for a second roundabout *under* it. Now *that* would be cost-saving!

  5. Michelle says:

    This type of thing is very common in China, whether it’s a roundabout bridge like this or just a straight bridge over a busy road. They are not scared of exercise like so many Americans are. Walking is a way of life and even the old are accustomed to it. Remember, up until 10 years ago there were few cars and everyone walked/biked everywhere. Even now in a lot of smaller cities there are few personal cars.

    To those saying how terrible it is for the handicapped – are you kidding? You will very rarely see handicapped people in China who are actually taken care of by family and/or actually have jobs. Most of the handicapped people you see will be beggars on the street, or if they’re lucky, street pedlars. Dirty, dressed in rags and crawling along the ground with their hands, not nicely driving around in a wheelchair. The few lucky enough to be kept by their families are kept at home and rarely seen out in public. Unfortunately, culture and the one-child policy have collided to create a land where no one wants the imperfect.

  6. Loewan says:

    See the vertical rectangular buildings next to the escalators and dotted around? They are elevators that allow people with mobility issues to gain access to the bridge. And yes, I did mention escalators which save people the trouble of ascending flights of steps.

    So instead of something that is cost effective, people are suggesting bridges for vehicles to be made. That’s insane!

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