SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Some Sioux Falls drivers are still adapting to roundabouts. These circular intersections have had a presence in the city for more than a decade and another one is under construction on the city’s east side. Traffic engineers praise roundabouts as an innovation to reduce the number of serious crashes in the city. But some drivers say they’re still too confusing.
The roundabout at 69th & Southeastern is the busiest in Sioux Falls with 12-hundred cars curving through the intersection every day. But some drivers steer clear of roundabouts as much as they can.
“I’m just not sure if I should keep going, or if I should stop. I’m used to stopping so it’s just confusing to me,” Sioux Falls driver Gail Flaa said.
A roadmap for navigating a roundabout includes slowing down, always yielding to any cars coming from your left, and never take a left turn, yourself. Traffic engineers say the city’s roundabouts average just over half a crash a year, far lower than if traffic were regulated by a signal light.
“Typically, on a signalized intersection that would be about that size, we would probably typically see somewhere from 5-10 crashes a year,” Sioux Falls Traffic Operations Engineer Health Hoftiezer said.
Right now, there are five roundabouts within the Sioux Falls area. They were built on the edge of the city, so drivers can ease their way into using them.
“We didn’t necessarily throw them right down the center and tell everybody to drive through it, so I think that we’ve seen the learning curve, we’ve seen a lot of them get used to them over the years,” Hoftiezer said.
And as the city adds more roundabouts in the future, even reluctant drivers will have to come around to roundabouts.
The new roundabout under construction east of Veterans Parkway, at 33rd and Town Place Circle should be finished later this year. Another roundabout is planned for next year at 95th and Western, near North Middle School.
Next week is designated as National Roundabouts Week.