Local

A traffic circle is coming to Nipomo, and more could be on the way

Traffic circles, like this one on Chorro Street in San Luis Obispo, have been shown to be safer than conventional stop-controlled intersections.
Traffic circles, like this one on Chorro Street in San Luis Obispo, have been shown to be safer than conventional stop-controlled intersections. Courtesy San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department

A traffic circle is coming to the intersection of South Tejas Place and Ida Place in Nipomo in an attempt to slow traffic after residents complained to the county about speeding in the area.

The San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Works decided to test a temporary roundabout in the residential neighborhood after it learned of the success of a traffic circle installed on Chorro Street in San Luis Obispo, according to Michael Britton, a transportation planning and traffic operations supervisor.

"We'll try the traffic circle. If all goes well, maybe that's something we start to implement in other places as well," Britton said.

Speed bumps aren't a good solution on that road because it is sloped. They're also not that popular.

"They're not loved by fire departments and the people who ask for them, later ask them to be removed," Britton said.

That's not to say everyone is a fan of traffic circles either, although they are increasingly popular with the state Department of Transportation.

Apparently, drivers across the country are befuddled by the intersection design that's popular in Europe. Drivers don't seem to know the rules of a traffic circle, so some just stop their cars in the midst of their trip around.

"I expect there's going to be some consternation over it," Britton said. "As long as you don't let the fact that you're driving in a roundabout freak you out, they're not that hard to drive."

Ultimately, he hopes that it will slow drivers on the Nipomo street to follow the speed limit: 25 mph. South Tejas Place is often used as a secondary route to avoid the Tefft Street and Orchard Road intersection. Speed studies found that 66 percent of the traffic using South Tejas Place were driving faster than the posted speed, Britton said.

Construction will begin this week and is expected to be completed by April 20. The stop signs on Ida Place will stay.

The county will monitor the effectiveness of the traffic circle, and feedback is welcome.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

  Comments