RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Drivers in north Richmond are going round and round with concerns about a new traffic circle under construction. They contacted NBC12 about Westbrook and Crestwood avenues in front of the Westminster Canterbury retirement community.
People are getting a little wound up by a traffic circle on Westbrook Avenue. Jean Castle drives through here for work nearly every day.
"It's a hazard right now. To get through here you really have to be paying attention," she said. "This was a perfectly clear smooth road that went through before all this happened and now it's like an obstacle course."
Jean is not alone. The neighborhood blogs are also filled with concerns. One person writes... "This improvement has created a huge traffic flow issue." Another says, "Having navigated this new 'improvement' I cannot see that it does much of anything."
"I said, you know, 12 On Your Side will be glad to take a look at this and take care of it for us," said Castle.
The circle is about 15 feet across. The city is also adding new medians along Westbrook leading up to the circle. A few drivers did seem confused by the new feature.
We watched as several people come out of a nearby retirement community trying to make a left turn, and they went on the wrong side of the traffic circle. But the city traffic engineer Tom Flynn says that's to be expected with any feature. He insists these new circles are actually safer.
"We've installed a number of residential circles in the area. We're very comfortable, they're very effective. They add aesthetics to the community. And also they reduce accidents," said Flynn.
According to Flynn the city was having a problem with people speeding down Westbrook. And the circle and medians are a way to slow you down.
"If you drive through 25 miles per hour, 20 miles per hour which we want you to -- you won't have any problems, but if you're used to driving through 35 mph you'll have to slow down," Flynn said.