By 2015, drivers in Frisco may need to master the art of yielding. If the proper funding comes through, Brian Moen, assistant director of engineering, said the city is planning to break ground on its first multilane roundabout.
The project is slated for Ohio Drive at Warren Parkway, which is a four-way stop right now. "We’ve been having a few issues in how that operates,” Moen said.
While the city considered putting in a traffic light, Moen said roundabouts are becoming preferable nationally to lights when a stop sign isn’t properly helping with traffic flow.
Frisco originally was planning on three roundabouts, all in the Ohio Drive corridor, however, after years of internal discussion and public meetings over the past year, it has decided to start with one.
Officials said some of the benefits to roundabouts include less idling time for drivers, keeping traffic flowing and decreasing injury crashes.
Moen said studies show that in a roundabout, if a driver is involved in crash, it was likely a 15 mph sideswipe as opposed to being T-boned at a four-way intersection. He adds roundabouts are becoming increasingly popular.
Within city limits, developers have presented designs for residential neighborhood roundabouts in areas of new construction. Those intersections are on a much smaller scale than the one the city is designing.
However, one of them is right in front of Rebekah Hickman’s home in Philips Creek Ranch.
"In a neighborhood where there aren’t many people and it’s still being built up — I can understand," she said. "I don’t mind it at all."
Other neighbors said the roundabouts help control traffic speeds without having to install unsightly speed bumps. However, Hickman said she has concerns about using the design in high traffic areas, mostly because drivers aren’t used to them.
"People don’t get them — and even in a regular situation, they’ll fail to yield to you,” she said.
Driver education will be a top priority for the city during pre-construction and after the intersection changes.
"A lot of times, human nature is resistant to change," Moen said. "I think a lot of people are cautious and anxious to see how it’s going to turn out."
Construction may begin as early as January 2015.