Redesigned Hillsborough Street traffic circle opens

Posted July 29, 2012
Updated July 30, 2012

— The roundabout at Hillsborough Street and Pullen Road near North Carolina State University reopened early Monday with only one lane.

After a nearly 48-hour delay due to rain, workers got started on the roundabout Sunday evening and reopened it by 5 a.m., more than an hour ahead of schedule.

The new one-lane design got mixed reviews from drivers.

"I enjoyed the old way. I think people just needed to take their time, pay attention, watch were they were going," driver Kitty Banks said. "It was fine. It was simple to me."

Driver Michael Opdyke approved of the new traffic pattern.

"It really speeds up going around the curve. You don’t have to stop and think which lane am I going to be in, who’s coming," Opdyke said. "It’s much, much simpler and should have been done like this in the first place."

The intersection was made into a two-lane roundabout in 2010 as part of a street improvement project on Hillsborough Street from Oberlin Road to Gardner Street along the NCSU campus.

After 132 fender-benders in two years, though, the city and North Carolina Department of Transportation agreed in June to reduce the circle to one lane in hopes of improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

"Somebody almost creamed me, because they came into the roundabout and never even bothered to slow down or look," driver Pat Spakes said.

"Everybody's always weaving in and out. People blow their horns all the time," driver Colby Chance said.

Hillsborough St. roundabout goes one lane Hillsborough St. roundabout goes one lane

In comparison, two two-lane roundabouts in Davidson County had 10 and 12 crashes each over three years, and another in Winston-Salem had 13 crashes in four years. In those roundabouts, one inner lane goes completely around the circle, while outer turn lanes go from road to road.

Some Raleigh drivers said the problems at the Hillsborough Street roundabout seem to lie less with design and more with drivers who don't understand how to navigate a traffic circle.

"People will stop, and they'll wait too long. They don't understand you have to yield to each other, but you can still keep going if you notice that somebody is coming in your path," said driver Kirsten Parrott. "Some people think that it's a stop sign."

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

"We're feeling that this will simplify that and hopefully take some of the guesswork out of it," Sandor said.


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  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Jul 31, 2012

    City of Raleigh it never needed to be built. But alas its not your money so spend on even make a roundabout work...good grief

  • Bendal1 Jul 31, 2012

    Single lane roundabouts will work to handle traffic until the volumes reach about 22,000 vehicles per day; after that they get clogged up and stop working. By reducing Hillsborough St. to one lane each direction west of the roundabout, NCSU guaranteed the traffic volumes would never reach that high, making a 2 lane roundabout unnecessary. The "fix" still won't hide the fact that NCSU fumbled the design of this project very badly though.

  • ncdixie1 Jul 31, 2012

    I've been thru this traffic circle (and others) a blue zillion times, never had a issue.
    What's more I would bet 500 NC natives out of 500 could care less about how "it" was done in OH,PA or in Europe. Traffic roundabouts are single lane on Hillsboro Street in Raleigh NC and in Wake Forest too.

  • GK N.Ral Jul 31, 2012

    They need to redesign the drivers mentality. As long as speeding, ignoring stop signs, ignoring rules of the road persist, things will not change.

  • Crabbit Cratur Jul 31, 2012

    "This needs to be fixed with a bulldozer and common sense."

    Anyone with common sense can manage a roundabout.........perhaps its just time for you to stop driving....

  • Crabbit Cratur Jul 31, 2012

    LOL, in Europe we have two and three lane roundabouts everywhere which are negociated at highway speeds.....

    "In Cleveland, there are stop signs which force people to actually stop and look before entering the circles."

    half the point of a roundabout is that you do not have to stop, only yield if you are joining....that way the traffic keeps moving and is not always stopping and starting.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 30, 2012

    This needs to be fixed with a bulldozer and common sense.

  • RandolphBloke Jul 30, 2012

    I'm sure there will be complaints about a single lane version as well. We have such terrible drivers and horrible driver's education in the US that it must be expected. As mentioned above, slow down, pay attention and things are fine. Go in with cell phone on, running your mouth, and seeing other drivers as obstacles to overcome and of course it's going to see difficult and confusing.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jul 30, 2012

    common sents - Like Eustice on Mountain Men said a show or two back, "Seems like common sense isn't so common anymore."


    And I often wonder too if the more people get educated, the more they lose that common sense...or what!?!

  • Dark_Horse Jul 30, 2012

    Im curious to see the stats on those accidents. Were they mostly on the weekend? Was alcohol involved? How many were students?
    It didnt take alot of sense to figure out how to navigate that roundabout.