Managing Roundabouts

The use of roundabouts to control intersections instead of traffic signals or stop signs continues to grow in the United States. The first modern roundabout in this country was constructed in Nevada in 1990, there are over 4,800 today. Roundabout growth is a result of a number of factors, but three main advantages have fueled their growth.

1. First, they have a significantly superior safety history when compared to signalized intersections. In Golden we compiled before and after data on roundabouts. When we switched South Golden Road to roundabouts, our accidents dropped 67%, and injury accidents were reduced by over 99%. This makes sense because traffic speeds in roundabouts are 15 to 20 mph.

2. Second, they provide significant pedestrian safety benefits. Research completed by North Carolina State University for the US Department of Transportation cited a 50% reduction in accidents, which makes sense because a roundabout has 8 points of pedestrian conflict with cars and a typical signalized intersection has 16. Again the data clearly shows that injuries are reduced because of slower speeds. A pedestrian has an 85 percent chance of death when involved in a motor/vehicle collision at 40 mph, a 45 percent chance of death at 30 mph, and a 5 percent chance of death at 20 mph.

3. Finally, roundabouts have more capacity than a signalized intersection. This reduces delay, idling and pollution. This means even though you are driving slower, on average you spend less time because you are never waiting for a light to change.

Old Golden Rd & Moss St Roundabout
Kimball and Heritage Roundabout
G Road & 23 Road Roundabout in Grand Junction, CO

Two Frequently Asked Questions about Roundabouts

  1. Why does the city put landscape, statues or other things in the center of roundabout that restricts sight distance to the other side of the roundabout? One of the important issues in designing roundabouts is to control entry speed, sight distance is provided to the left at entry so vehicles in the roundabout can be seen, but sight distance through the roundabout is limited which reduces speed and force drivers to look for vehicles that they need to yield to on the left at entry.
  2. In some roundabouts there is actually a slight curve to the left before bending to the right at entry. Without that curve, entry would be smoother, so why not remove it? That small curve is designed to control entry speed, particularly in what are referred to as mini-roundabouts, to insure sufficient entry deflection. It actually aligns the driver’s vision to the left as they approach, and tighten the entry radius which reduces entry speed. This is an evolution in design guidelines from the Federal Highway Administration, and that deflection is not common in older roundabouts. You can see the deflection in these three newer roundabouts, on Heritage Road, in Jefferson County and in Grand Junction.

Features of the new roundabout at 19th and Elm Street

Traffic Circle GraphicThe new roundabout that is part of the Linking Lookout project has three unique features that make it slightly different from other roundabouts in the city.

  1. First it has two lanes as you approach down the hill on 19th from the west. This is a result of future traffic modeling that showed additional capacity would be needed in that direction during peak hours. For drivers that are heading farther down 19th, or plan to turn right into the CSM parking lot to the south they simply stay in the right lane. If the driver is planning to turn left on to Elm Street or are making a U turn, they will take the left lane as they approach the intersection.
  2. That brings us to the second unique aspect of this roundabout, we expect more U turns than normal. When we modeled the interchange at US 6 and 19th St., one of the things that we learned was if there was a left turn from 19th coming down the hill on to the westbound US 6 ramp, we would need to install a traffic signal. Introducing that signal would cause an 83% increase in delay time for all intersection motions, and queue lengths of 200 feet over not having the traffic signal. This was discussed at the public meetings, and the recommendation was to not permit the left turn, and use the roundabout for a U turn to access the westbound US 6 ramp for vehicles coming out of Beverly Heights. This increases the delay for those drivers by just over 16 seconds, but vehicles making that motion represent only 4% of all intersection users.
  3. The third difference is there is now only a pedestrian crossing of 19th on the east side of the roundabout. This location provided the safest crossing location because there is only one lane in each direction, and we can slow entry traffic from the east to appropriate speeds using approach deflection. This provides the safest crossing situation for CSM students and staff that park on the south of 19th St.


Walkability within a community is enhanced by the ability to easily cross streets and highways. These crossings lead to a more connected and livable city. The City has adopted a Crosswalk Manual pdf download to help guide both the community and city staff in determining whether a marked crosswalk should be installed and if it is, which specific features should be included.

Snow/ Ice Control

Snowplow ArtThe City of Golden is a foothills community that typically requires snow and ice control of all City streets during a storm event. Streets are plowed on a priority basis; primary, secondary, then residential. There are over 241 lane miles of streets within Golden that are maintained.

For snow removal route maps, please visit our Maps page.

Street Sweeping

The Street Division sweeps the entire city an average of 12 times per year. Sweeping is performed year-round.  During the winter season, we pick up any sand residue material that may be left from de-icing material. In the spring, we have our “Spring Street Sweeping Cleanup” of all City streets that allows residents to sweep their sidewalks into the street prior to us coming through with a sweeper. Summer sweeping consists of sweeping the downtown area every Tuesday and the rest of the City on a rotating basis. In the fall, leaves are swept.


Crack sealing is performed in the spring and again in the fall to minimize potholes from forming.

Right of Way Permits

“Right of Way” or “ROW” is typically considered the back of the sidewalk on one side of the street to the back of sidewalk across the street. Any work within the City Right of Way requires a permit. This would include utility work in the street, sidewalk replacement, or placement of a dumpster or landscaping materials in front of your home. Please email all ROW permit applications to  or call 303-384-8151 if you have questions.

Street Lights

The City of Golden contracts with Xcel Energy for all street light repair and maintenance. There are two ways to report street light outages: Please provide the ID Number from the pole.

1. Call 1-800-895-1999Street Striping

2. Visit the Xcel website

Other Street Division Maintenance Duties:

Signage – damage, graffiti removal (new signage is performed by the Engineering Division)
Pavement Marking
Guardrail / Barricades
Edge of Road
Community Events

COG Mesa

 Did You Know?
Golden was originally chosen as the territorial capital of Colorado in 1862.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa