Traffic

Raleigh's troublesome traffic circle is getting a makeover

Posted July 27, 2012

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— Raleigh's only two-lane roundabout is getting a makeover.

Crews installed the roundabout at the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Pullen Road near North Carolina State University two years ago as part of a larger street improvement project to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

But drivers have complained ever since, saying it's nothing but confusion.

City engineers agree, and they are reducing the traffic circle from two lanes to one as part of an overnight project Friday that will close the intersection from 8:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday.

John Sandor, a transportation engineer with the City of Raleigh, says they are trying reduce the number of "conflict points" in the area that could potentially cause crashes.

Since the roundabout opened in July 2010, there have been 132 crashes there – all of which were minor.

Reducing it to one lane, Sandor says, should lower that number.

Across the state, there are only three other two-lane roundabouts – two in Davidson and one in Winston-Salem, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

In contrast to Raleigh, there were 22 minor crashes at the Davidson roundabouts from 2007 to 2009.

From 2006 to 2009, according to the DOT, there were only 13 wrecks at the Winston-Salem circle.

64 Comments

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  • momotwins Aug 6, 2012

    The Problem is not the circle, the problem is that people who have never driven in Europe are terrified of these traffic controls. You are not supposed to stop and look to see if anyone is coming. It is not a STOP Sign. You look as you approach if no car is coming around in your lane or even if there is someone is in the circle but on other side of circle, you enter the circle. Got it? It is really very simple.

  • dwntwnboy Jul 27, 2012

    "only fix is a much marger circle (35mph instead of 15mph)"- that would only make it worse. The whole purpose of the circle is to slow traffic down. If people would just pay attention, they wouldn't have any issues with this- but that's not the American way- it's always waa waa waa- it's too hard, make it simple so I don't have to think for myself. If you can't figure out a traffic circle at 15mph, then you should stop driving.

  • dwntwnboy Jul 27, 2012

    "Traffic circles create accidents, period"- actually all the science and studies point the exact opposite way, traffic circles are SAFER than a traditional intersection. It slows traffic down to a point where if there IS an accident, it's a minor one, not some horrific driver's education type accident

  • melanie3 Jul 27, 2012

    dumb drivers cost us money to change perfectly fine roundabout is what the title should be.

  • affirmativediversity Jul 27, 2012

    In regard to everything being made too safe... can things really be too safe? Maybe we need to thrown in some additional hazzards on the roadways to help keep us all on our toes so we're more equipped to handle whatever changing condition may crop up while we driving. per belovedsparrow

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    We have...they are called "traffic circles" where people like In the Clover can play going around and around.

  • tired2 Jul 27, 2012

    uragoner2 "Traffic circles create accidents, period."......100% incorrect - drivers are the highest cause of accidents...unbelievable comment

  • affirmativediversity Jul 27, 2012

    affirmativediversity - "(at some a driver has to physically turn 180 degrees in order to get a clear view of oncoming traffic)."

    Ahhh, that explains it.

    Cleveland's don't do that. They all meet the circles head on. per the Furry Godmother

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    Well a person would have half a chance of actually using one correctly if the vehicles approached from a standard traffic angle. I have no idea why the engineers at NCDOT feel the need to have traffic approach these things at a near 90 degrees which results in the driver approaching the merge with almost his entire back to the oncoming traffic.

    Just as a sidebar...for those of us with serious lower back issues the degree of flex (range of motion) these "merges" require is immediately and always very painful...
    Personally, I've thought about suing the NCDOT for purposely and unnecessarily restricting my ability to access public thoroughfares with these things!!!!

  • uragoner2 Jul 27, 2012

    Traffic circles create accidents, period.

  • belovedsparrow Jul 27, 2012

    In regard to everything being made too safe... can things really be too safe? Maybe we need to thrown in some additional hazzards on the roadways to help keep us all on our toes so we're more equipped to handle whatever changing condition may crop up while we driving.

  • affirmativediversity Jul 27, 2012

    If everything is made too safe it dulls the edge people have to be able to react effectively to changing conditions while driving. per In the Clover

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    This pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the proponents of the traffic circle.

    By God, You'll like it or else!

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