“Public art in roundabouts helps calm traffic, create sense of place”

“Public art in roundabouts helps calm traffic, create sense of place”

“At the center of Tampa’s Channel District roundabout, just north of the Florida Aquarium, a 19-ton sculpture known colloquially as ‘The Exploding Chicken’ provides an attention-grabbing vantage point for motorists as it fluffs a flurry of metallic yellow feathers 36 feet into the sky.

George Sugarman’s untitled abstract-expressionist sculpture, which in the 1990s got its enduring moniker from a sardonic newspaper columnist, is a downtown Tampa landmark. Longtime residents remember the eye-catching sculpture when it sat next to what is now Rivergate Tower at the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive for many years before being relocated to the center of the Channel District roundabout in 2013, making it among the first examples of roundabout art erected in the Tampa Bay Area.

As populations swell and roadways clog, local cities must respond to the challenge of moving increasingly multimodal traffic safely and efficiently. The modern roundabout — backed by case studies that indicate over 75 percent crash reduction at intersections, 20 percent reduction in traffic delays and a whopping 100 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities — makes a compelling statistical argument. Add artwork and roundabouts can become an even more attractive traffic calming solution.

That’s why traffic engineering experts are leading efforts across the nation to bring roundabouts to congested intersections with the goal of improving traffic flow and creating safer and more walkable cityscapes.

While cities like Clearwater — the Bay area’s earliest roundabout innovator — continue to focus mainly on function, some municipalities, including Sarasota and Tampa, have begun to explore how art in roundabouts can help calm traffic and contribute to local placemaking efforts…”

— Jessi Smith, 83degrees
Read entire article covering roundabouts in various communities here