City looking to build four new traffic circles

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) - More traffic circles may be coming to Richmond. Mayor Dwight Jones has asked the Richmond city council to consider building four roundabouts: Two in the city's East End and two more on the Southside. The four new proposed roundabout projects will total around 2.7 million dollars.

So how do you slow down traffic and clear up the confusion at intersections like 25th, Fairmount Avenue and Nine Mile Road? City engineers say, put in a traffic circle.

"They significantly reduce accidents. They reduce conflicts and they slow the traffic down," said Tom Flynn, City Transportation Engineer.

Belt Boulevard and Hull Street Road is also on the list for a possible round-about. So is 23rd and Fairfield Avenue. But what's drawing the most attention is the plan for a traffic circle at Roanoke and Forest Hill in the city's Southside.

"The roundabout will improve traffic flow there to some extent but mainly cut down the accidents there," said Flynn.

There were nine accidents here last year. It was number 36 on a list of the 70 most accident prone intersections in the city. Will Herring sees the back-ups daily. He owns a coffee shop a block away.

"I'm still hashing it out in my mind as to what it would look like especially if it's as big as what I'm told it will be," said Will Herring, owner of Crossroads Coffee Shop.

And his customers have a lot of questions and concerns.

"I don't see enough room down there at Roanoke for a circle. I don't see enough room," said Felecia Williams, Richmond resident.

"I think the roundabouts would ultimately help the traffic congestion but I'm worried about the slowdown from the congestion and the impact on the park," said resident Brain Slazyk.

"I don't want any more cement road and roundabouts if it's going to take away from the beauty of the park," said resident Susan Herring.

City engineers say the circle would mean the removal of a few trees and Forest Hill Park would lose about two-tenths of an acre. The apartment complex on the corner would also be impacted.

"We will not proceed until we have a good sense we've got support for this one," said Flynn.

If approved by the Richmond city council the four projects would be paid for through federal grants.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.