Traffic Circles Coming Full Circle

Traffic circles, roundabouts coming back

By Chris Van Horne
|  Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011  |  Updated 8:29 PM CDT
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Roundabouts and traffic circles aimed at slowing down traffic and making neighborhoods safer are making a comeback.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News

Roundabouts and traffic circles aimed at slowing down traffic and making neighborhoods safer are making a comeback.

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More roundabouts and traffic circles could be on the way back across the Metroplex.

In one century-old Fort Worth neighborhood, traffic circles have been wanted for nearly a decade to ease traffic.

The Ryan Place Improvement Association has fought for traffic-calming measures for the last seven years because of drivers cutting across the neighborhood from Hemphill Street to the east and Eighth Avenue to the west.

"We had a lot of speeders in the neighborhood; people not stopping at stop signs" said John Kline, chair of the association. "And 70 percent of the traffic was cut-through traffic through the neighborhood."

The city and neighborhood worked together and decided to replace three four-way stops with three traffic circles that will have grass and flowers. One of the circles will feature a piece of public art that will light up at night.

The traffic circles should slow down drivers and deter the cut-through traffic to go somewhere else.

"It's new to Fort Worth, but it's not new to the concept of trying to make your streets safer throughout the country," Kline said.

And the area could see more traffic circles in the future.

"I think we're starting to see more and more of them," said Randy Burkett, Fort Worth traffic engineer. "We're also building roundabouts in the city that are similar to the traffic circles, so I think that people will start seeing more and more of those throughout the Metroplex."

Data on the success of such changes isn't available right away but, in other cities, they have proved successful in slowing the flow of traffic and making streets safer.

Residents said they can't wait for the project to be completed by the end of the year.

"A lot of people worked hard to make this happen," Kline said.

But the city of Fort Worth won't be adding any more new traffic-calming projects any time soon. Burkett said the money ran out for such projects two years ago.

However, the traffic circles on Elizabeth Boulevard aren't the only elements in the Ryan Place project. Chicanes are also being installed on Cantey Street to stop cut-through drivers.

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