New south side roundabout a welcome addition

Safer and more efficient commutes.

That's the promise of city officials and the reason the Ballard administration is behind the construction of six new roundabouts in Marion County this year.

A new roundabout is expected to open this month at Edgewood Avenue and McFarland Road on the city's south side.

The two lane roads connect in an area that services two elementary schools, one high school and a church, making for a congested school commute.

The new roundabout is a welcome addition, the end of a difficult construction period.

"When a pretty significant intersection near your school is unavailable it impacts everything we do," said Joe Shelburn, principal of St Jude Catholic Elementary School. "The way folks get to and from school is different, so it's been an added burden to the morning routine of our school families."

It's also an added burden for neighborhoods in the area where the construction is taking place. Commuters create their own detours through otherwise quiet residential streets, frustrating many who live there.

"We were all a little skeptical at first," Shelburn said. "But Gray road opening and having folks experience how a roundabout works, we're all the more excited to have the one at Edgewood open."

The roundabout at Gray Road and Edgewood Avenue opened over the summer, and the one at Edgewood Avenue and McFarland Road is expected to open this month. The city also is constructing or has completed construction on roundabouts at Five Points and Thompson Roads, German Church at 42nd and 46th Streets, and 91st Street and Spring Mill Road.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts reduce intersection crashes by 40 percent. They also result in fewer head-on collisions.

For some drivers, however, they take getting used to.

For that reason, the city's Department of Public Works produced a public safety announcement explaining the proper way to drive through a roundabout.

Find it here.

Answers to Sunrise Roundabout Quiz:

Q: What is the desired speed approaching a roundabout?

A: 15-20 mph

Q: Who has the right-of-way as you enter a roundabout?

A: Yield to the driver to the left and pedestrians

Q: You should change lanes while driving in a roundabout T/F?

A: False. You should try to pick a lane and stay in it