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Roundabouts cause confusion along Hillsborough Street

Posted May 7, 2010

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— Drivers are still adjusting to the roundabouts recently built on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

“Actually, we’ve had a couple of fender benders out here already,” said Mai Mclean, a business owner at the corner of Hillsborough and Oberlin streets.

Hillsborough Street is being converted to a two-lane section with a median from Gardner to Oberlin roads, according to the project’s Web site. A two-lane roundabout is being added at Hillsborough Street and Pullen Road. A single-lane roundabout is being added at the Oberlin Road and the extension of Pullen Road.

The roundabouts are part of an effort to revitalize Hillsborough Street, but the new traffic pattern is enough to make some drivers head spin.

Roundabouts cause confusion in Raleigh Roundabouts cause confusion in Raleigh

“You see a lot of cars just stop in the middle of it when they’re supposed to keep going. It’s crazy,” said Samantha Smith, a worker at Wing Zone on Hillsborough Street.

“When people stop and you’re not expecting it, that’s when the issues occur,” city engineer Ken Dunn said.

Drivers need to pay attention to the traffic signs while navigating the roundabout, he said.

“Pay attention to the yield signs. Pay attention to the one-way signs. Make sure when you enter the roundabout you’re going slow and once you enter the roundabout continue moving through,” he said.

For some drivers, though, that's easier said than done. WRAL News cameras caught a number of drivers slowing down once they entered the roundabout on Friday.

Richard Sathoff, owner of Electric Scooter City along Hillsborough Street, said he has seen several wrecks.

Sathoff said he expects drivers skills will eventually improve.

The Hillsborough Street project will also make on-street parking available on both sides of Hillsborough Street. More than 100 parking spaces will be added to the 77 currently available.

New sidewalks will be installed and there will be more crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signals. Bicyclists will be able to travel on a 5-foot-wide buffer lane between parked cars and street traffic.

Construction is expected to be complete by September.

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  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness May 10, 2010

    The roundabouts are not hard: if you come up to a roundabout, yield. If you are in the roundabout, you have the right of way (translation: if you are in the roundabout, DO NOT STOP to let other people in).

    I live off of Oberlin Road, so I use the roundabouts on a regular basis. During peak times (AM commute, lunch, PM commute), they can be rough. But so were the stoplights.

    During off peak times, the roundabouts are pretty cool. When coming from Mission Valley back to home, that awkward right turn onto Hillsborough followed by an immediate left onto Oberlin is now gone.

    Plus, making Morgan a two-way road is actually pretty cool.

    People will eventually get used to the roundabouts. They require you to be extra careful during heavy traffic times but make up for it when traffic is light.

  • cary1969 May 10, 2010

    with the drivers in this area, nothing surprises me