A picturesque roundabout in Carmel, Ind., has been honored as one of the world’s most beautiful, earning the title “International Roundabout of the Year” by the U.K. Roundabout Appreciation Society.
The traffic circle in the Village of West Clay features a well-landscaped roundabout with a fountain in the center of manicured hedges. It sits in the middle of Jackson Circle, one of the many visual amenities in the village, which was designed and built by Brenwick Development.
“The roundabout in Carmel is beautiful and unlike most cities in the U.S., Carmel truly embraces its roundabouts,” says Kevin Beresford, president of the U.K. Roundabout Appreciation Society. The British newspaper The Telegraph called the roundabout “a rather splendid gyratory.”
The Carmel roundabout will be prominently featured on the cover of a calendar produced annually by the Society, featuring 11 other roundabouts from outside the U.S. that were also nominated for the honor of most beautiful. This is the second consecutive year a Carmel roundabout has been featured.
Carmel is known for its architectural diversity, from a domed, European style Palladium concert hall in City Center to the architectural charm of the Arts & Design District. It tops the list of cities with the most roundabouts in the U.S. with 97 circles and counting, each adorned with a variety of unique landscaping elements. The city anticipates celebrating the completion of its 100th roundabout later this year.
“Roundabouts are not only functional for moving traffic and keeping motorists safe, they are also opportunities to enhance the beauty of our daily drives, lift the spirits of our residents and hopefully inspire all of us to pay attention to elements of design and architecture no matter what we create," says Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.
Picturesque or not, there is one downside to traffic roundabouts in the U.S., according to this Washington Post report: Americans don't know how to navigate them.
What keeps Americans on a straight course regarding street intersections is most likely culture and experience. As Zachary Crockett, a writer at the data analyzing company Priceonomics, explains, "the roughly 3,700 circular traffic intersections in the U.S. are feared, avoided, and even loathed, often without good reason."
"It seems that every time traffic engineers propose to build a new one, there is protest and uproar," Crockett writes.