Local News

Roundabouts cause confusion along Hillsborough Street

Posted May 7, 2010 9:49 p.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2010 11:21 p.m. EDT

— 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.

“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.