As Bryan mentioned yesterday, people are always talking about Morgantown’s newest addition to the Mileground. Whether you like the roundabout, hate it, or have no idea what it is, it’s now a part of Morgantown and several residents’ daily commute. We all knew it was coming due to spending countless hours in traffic due to the construction of the traffic circle on the Mileground; but on June 26, 2013 the roundabout became a reality for Morgantown.
When WVU students are in Morgantown nearly 135,000 people occupy the city often causing major traffic issues. Roundabouts are known for reducing large amounts of traffic. In fact, the City of Morgantown reported that the Mileground Roundabout is projected to carry about 30,000 vehicles a day reducing traffic significantly.
So what’s the problem with something that reduces the traffic issue we face everyday during rush hour? Most residents say the issue is confusion on how to use it which causes safety concerns.
“It’s not that bad,” said Morgantown Resident Tyler Elliot. “The biggest problem is that people don’t know how to use it.”
“I love the roundabout,” said Morgantown resident Sara Boppe. I find that it keeps traffic moving which is something the Mileground really needed. While the roundabout is safe, those who don’t know how to navigate it and refuse to really learn how to, make it unsafe. However, in the many times I’ve used it, I’ve never seen any unsafe driving while using it.”
While there have been no reported accidents yet as a result of the roundabout, some residents say they’ve had some interesting experiences while using it.
“I had to come to a dead stop in the middle of it because someone blew through a yield sign and almost hit me,” explained Morgantown resident Alyssa Casalino.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation issued a video that explains the roundabout and how to use it properly to those who’ve never used one. In addition, the city of Morgantown has come up with a few rules on how to ensure safety. The city says when approaching the roundabout, look for signs and pavement markings showing which lane you should be in. The city also says to slow down, obey all traffic signs and yield to pedestrians an bicyclists in the crosswalk. When using a roundabout, you should always yield to traffic on your left already in the roundabout. The city is also very clear that you should never make a left-hand turn into the roundabout. This is dangerous and could cause safety issues.
The key to solving the “problem” of safety involving the roundabout is to educate yourself on how to use it. Once you know how to use it, go slow and use caution each time you use it. Remember, not everyone will know how to use it, but more people will learn with time.