Lancaster County residents skeptical of roundabouts might need to come around to the idea.
Motorists in Columbia Borough and East Hempfield Township will need to maneuver the traffic-calming measures beginning next week. A temporary roundabout opened in Lancaster city in June.
On and on the trend goes. Roundabouts are increasing statewide, with nearly 40 in use on state roads and more than 40 more in the design phase, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
By the end of next week, the county will have eight. And more roundabouts are proposed for Lancaster County.
The first state road roundabout — just south of Lancaster city — is in the engineering phase, and plans are in the works for two in Warwick Township.
“Roundabouts are safer, more efficient and less costly than conventional intersection types,” PennDOT spokesman Dave Thompson said.
PennDOT reviewed 2000-2018 crash data from 19 state intersections where roundabouts were installed and found the total number of crashes decreased by 34 percent, from 138 to 91.
Roundly accepted or criticized?
Time will tell if motorists become fans of roundabouts.
Lancaster city residents who live near a temporary roundabout at the intersection of North Plum Street, East New Street and Park Avenue remain skeptical of the one installed there in June.
“Nobody respects it,” a resident told LNP last week.
The city said it’s studying the roundabout for about six months before deciding whether it should be permanent.
An East Hempfield official said he doesn’t expect any problems for motorists at a development where a roundabout should open by the end of next week.
The concrete roundabout at Running Pump Road and Noll and Old Tree drives is part of the Lime Street Square development.
The developers agreed to install the roundabout “to provide for a safer intersection,” said Jon Beck, the township’s director of development services.
Columbia Borough officials hope a temporary roundabout being installed Monday at the intersection of South 12th Street and Central Avenue will help reduce speeding and accidents along a stretch of South 12th Street.
Mayor Leo Lutz said he hopes the roundabout will reduce speeding.
“I want to drive it myself. The biggest thing is for people to get used to the directions they have to go,” Lutz said.
Traffic at the roundabout will be monitored for three to six months, borough police Chief Jack Brommer told LNP in May.
“This is our first attempt. If it works it probably won’t be our last (roundabout),” Lutz said.
There are two traffic circles in Lancaster County: one in Maytown at River and High streets and one, at Gay and West Market streets in Marietta.
According to PennDOT, vehicles entering a traffic circle have the right of way or a stop sign. With a roundabout, motorists at each point yield to traffic in the circle.
Sharon Bradnick, Marietta’s secretary/treasurer, said motorists on Gay Street have stop signs before they can go through the traffic circle. Traffic on West Market has yield signs.
“On an official roundabout you don’t have stop signs,” she said.
The Maytown traffic circle has a similar set up; there are stop signs at High Street.
The traffic circle has been around for at least 20 years, Bradnick said based on a survey of her borough co-workers.
She said borough residents don’t seem to have issues navigating it.
“I think the big thing is educating people on (roundabouts),” she said.