Grand Forks’ First Roundabout

For those of us excited about new things in town, or just for those excited to see people get totally confused while driving, here’s some news: according to WDAZ, Grand Forks is getting a roundabout:

The city will turn the intersection of 24th Avenue South and South 34th Street into a roundabout. The only similar one here in town is currently at the airport. [“similar” because it’s more of a wide spot in the road than a roundabout; one additional road merges through the circle to exit the airport.]

Construction is scheduled to begin next summer and it’s estimated to cost more than $500,000. Federal funds will cover 80 percent and the city will pay the other 20 percent. 

There has been increased traffic along 24th Avenue South and drivers trying to turn onto that street have experienced more delays and traffic congestion.

Roundabouts, traffic circles, and rotaries (not all the same thing), are obviously confusing to a driver or cyclist who is not familiar with how they work, but then again, so is driving around any new kind of structure or local custom.  People will get used to it, and we’ll get where we’re going faster, without having to waste money and electricity on signals (or time and fuel sitting at a stop sign or light).

My only real criticism of this plan is that it might encourage faster driving through the 25 mph residential area to the northwest.  Thoughts?

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