As roundabouts continue to pop up around Gainesville, does everyone properly know how to navigate them?
There is a small roundabout at the corner of NW 7th Avenue and NW 15th street, a few blocks north of Midtown. Virginia Dolder has lived near that intersection for almost 20 years. She said the roundabout replaced a two-way stop sign about five years ago.
“The roundabout was supposed to help kind of slow people down,” Dolder said, “because we do have children in the neighborhood, and we want to be a safe neighborhood.”
Troy Roberts, District 2 spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation, said roundabouts have many good qualities.
“If you look at the benefits — in addition to being cost effective, they reduce traffic crash fatalities since they’re so much slower. It’s better for traffic flow and traffic capacity,” he said.
David Forrestel can attest to those statistics. He lives on the corner of that intersection. In the five years since the roundabout went in, Forrestel said he noticed a decrease in accidents.
“Before with the stop sign, people basically slowed down for the stop sign and then went in,” Forrestel said. “That’s when you had the accidents.”
Although Forrestel and Dolder like roundabouts in general, the neighbors share a common frustration when it comes to people misusing the roundabouts. Dolder said she sees this problem often in town.
The neighbors want to see more of an effort to educate people about how to use the roundabouts.
“It’s not just our roundabout,” Dolder said. “I have noticed as I travel around town, people are not really educated about how to slow down and proceed through a roundabout.”
The proper way to use a roundabout, Roberts said, is for drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection. Drivers must yield to cars already in the circle, then proceed once it is their turn.
This video from the Transportation Technology Transfer (T2) Center at the University of Florida shows more:
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