One of the innovations for getting trolleys and streetcars to co-exist was his adoption of France's ronds-points traffic device, something we call the Roundabout or Traffic Circle. Intersections with roundabouts no longer required stop signs. Traffic entering the roundabout yields to traffic already in the circle. Sadly our modern day implementation uses stop signs on two of the four cross streets instead of yields on all four. I think this was done to reduce the learning curve on how to navigate them.
Next time you are driving (yes, some experiences are better experienced driving than walking) down the Alameda I encourage you to venture down Martin Avenue and discover the 5 circles of the Shasta Hanchett Park Neighborhood.
The Trolley Roundabouts of Martin Avenue
If you look really closely at the North East corner of the intersection you'll find a short mystery crumbling concrete sign post missing its sign. I'm guessing it had some basic instructions on how to navigate the roundabout, maybe a Yield sign?
The Automobile Circles of Tillman Avenue
Maybe with the next door Race Street Seafood High density project, funds for a joint PeaceNik Tillman Memorial Park could be found. Ideally the gates should be restored and a bike path entrance, playground and green space should be made.
I'm amazed that Hanchett Residence Park area still doesn't have it's own city park yet! A good start would be to get a different Tillman involved. Let's get the 408K Pat Tillman Memorial Race to run down Tillman Avenue each year. It's the perfect tie in! Thousands of runners navigating thru the Park entrance past the circles.
I like how one Mariposa Avenue resident has this sign out in front! $10 gets you your own version of this sign at: DriveLikeYourKidsLiveHere.com
I really have to give kudos to the neighborhood for their tireless effort in keeping the five circles weed free, mulched, and trimmed without city help.
Hanchett takes its name from Lewis Edward Hanchett who developed the neighborhood and was San Jose's "Transit Tycoon." Selling lots in the Hanchett Residence Park was a way to profit off the San Jose and Santa Clara Railroad Street Car system he ran. Eventually he sold the street car system to Southern Pacific Railroad and vacationed at his Capitola beach house, known today as the Monarch Cove Inn.
Ideally the stop signs should be removed as the goal of a roundabout is to prevent traffic from stopping. If you doubt the ineffeciency of 4 way stop signs vs roundabout traffic circles check out this episode of Myth Busters. With the Martin Avenue trolley car service gone, and Tillman Avenue's entrance closed at Park the real use of the roundabouts are for attractive green space than any real traffic control!
The Sixth Circle...
As a pedestrian trying to cross at a busy roundabout I think it would have been pretty hazardous so I'm happy that crossing the Alameda isn't made more dangerous by cars that don't have to stop at intersections, but then again some folks in the UK claim roundabouts are safer for bicyclists and pedestrians and saved their neighborhood. It's all in how they are designed!