Stanford installing fourth roundabout

Underground utility work has begun on a roundabout at the intersection of Galvez Street and Campus Drive.

Bicyclist riding in front of a sign indicating roundabout ahead

A roundabout is safer than a four-way stop or an intersection with traffic signals because motorized vehicles must slow down to the speed of bicycles to use them. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Traffic on Galvez Street between Campus Drive and Memorial Way will be reduced to one lane from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Wednesday, March 23, through Friday, March 25, for underground utility work on the future Galvez Roundabout.

Flaggers will direct pedestrians and traffic along that stretch of Galvez Street, where Montag Hall (Office of Admission and Financial Aid), the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation and the Arrillaga Alumni Center are located.

The Galvez Roundabout is expected to open in September, in time for football season, said Jack Cleary, associate vice president of Land, Buildings and Real Estate. The roundabout landscaping and irrigation are expected to be completed in October. During Commencement Weekend, it will function as an intersection with a four-way stop.  

For regular updates on the construction schedule for the Galvez Roundabout, as well as other projects on campus, visit the Heads Up website, which provides strategies for navigating safely, whether on foot or on wheels on campus.

Over the last two years, Stanford has installed roundabouts at three intersections on Campus Drive: the Escondido Roundabout, which opened in September 2014, and the Bowdoin and Santa Teresa roundabouts, which opened in September 2015.

In each roundabout, the rules are the same: Vehicles and bicyclists must slow down before reaching the roundabout and yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Bicyclists have two options: either ride in the roundabout or walk their bikes in the crosswalks.

At Stanford, all of the roundabouts are single lane, which means that vehicles and bicycles should travel single file around the circle – not alongside each other.

One reason a roundabout is safer than a four-way stop or an intersection with traffic signals is that cars, trucks, vans and buses must slow down to “bike speed,” about 12 to 15 miles per hour, to use them.

Traffic is flowing well through the three existing roundabouts on campus, “with minimal queuing and generally good driver, bicyclist and pedestrian right-of-way yielding,” according to a 2015 analysis by Feer & Peers, a transportation consulting firm.

The university created a website, Roundabouts at Stanford, to answer questions about how to use a roundabout – with instructions for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The website includes handouts, quick tips and an instructional interactive video.

The website also features statistics from the Federal Highway Safety Administration showing that roundabouts improve safety, reduce congestion, reduce pollution and fuel use, and save money. They are quieter – and, with landscaping, more attractive – than four-way stops dominated by asphalt.