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Yield patterns changing at smaller traffic circles to match roundabouts

Hopefully alleviating some of the confusion for some drivers, over the next few months traffic patterns at the smaller traffic calming circles throughout Richmond will change to match the larger roundabouts (PDF).

New signage that gives traffic in the circle the right-of-way over cars approaching the circle from side streets is in the works for the smaller traffic calming circles throughout Richmond. Additional yield signs are being erected at each of the more than 40 calming circles in the city. The modification comes as a result of changes in the Code of Virginia that mandate the same treatment for roundabouts, traffic circles and rotaries, which the code collectively refers to as “circular intersections.”

Once the changes are implemented over the next several months, all drivers will know to yield to the circulating traffic, whether in a roundabout or a traffic circle. The change will make the smaller circles, designed to reduce speed, operate in a similar fashion as the larger roundabouts, designed to replace traffic signals.

35 comments

Michael Bacon 04/12/2016 at 10:01 AM

About freakin’ time.

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Lt. 04/12/2016 at 10:34 AM

Keep the roundabouts, bulldoze the circles. So basically because you are never really “in the circle” on the traffic circles when you approach and someone from the opposite direction is approaching a little ahead of you, you then must stop because you have no idea until the last moment whether they are going straight through or turning left. Kinda sounds like a 4 way stop sigh that is only there when other cars are around. Don’t plan on me turning left on Jefferson in front of someone who I have beat to the circle expecting them to yield to me. Jefferson is now a freeway, at least until you get to the hybrid circle roundabout. Still no complaining about the 2 roundabouts on 25th st. they are working.

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Mister F 04/12/2016 at 10:38 AM

I’m going to miss not knowing whether the right-of-way car will come to an awkward full-stop, or the yielding car will pursue setting its land speed record.

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neighbor 04/12/2016 at 1:50 PM

I agree with the sentiments raised here. As Lt. mentioned, the circles are too small to actually know if someone is traversing through or making a turn and I need to yield.

What I have seen is the circles did not solve the traffic problem. All they did was allow people to drive through the intersection without having to do a rolling stop like they were doing at the previous stop signs. I can’t remember the last time I actually saw someone stop at a stop sign by the way, but I digress.

The round-a-bouts are a failure and additional signage, cluttering up the aesthetics of what could have been a nice feature, I fear will not solve the issue.

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Lee 04/12/2016 at 2:30 PM

I have complained about this a lot, usually to blank stares/confused responses, but I’ll try again. Under the current setup, If traffic on one street does not have to yield, but traffic on the other street does, what happens when someone on the primary/non-yielding street wants to make a u-turn or left turn when someone is approaching from the other side of the intersection? (I.e. Neither driver has to yield)

Is the driver turning left supposed to have the right of way if they make it to the intersection first? Or are they supposed to yield to the oncoming car?

They also seem to create confusion on Chimborazo (presumably, on wider streets in general) because a driver coming from the side street does not necessarily know that drivers on the primary street do not have to yield. Nor is it inherently obvious / it’s perfectly reasonable to expect it to function like a traffic circle since it looks like a traffic circle.

Sounds like this could fix those problems.

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JessOfRVA 04/12/2016 at 2:39 PM

My new hobby is counting the number of people who drive clockwise in order to get from Jefferson to 22nd or Clay. Not even an attempt at understanding the traffic pattern, just *guns engine* left turn at the traffic circle.

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Terry Peters 04/12/2016 at 8:03 PM

I like the traffic circles – they are working to make people slow down a little bit on Jefferson.

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Patrick 04/12/2016 at 8:50 PM

The smaller circles are awkwardly placed in the intersections and too small. They should be considered and treated as medians, and slightly elongated into an oval or teardrop shape (at least at 24th) to help with this.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 04/12/2016 at 9:15 PM

@17 Marion Groth, AMEN! I have said for years that people slide by calling themselves educated drivers when in fact they are distracted aggressive slackers driving on auto pilot. It happened to me this morning… when the light changed, me and someone on the other side of the light moved when the light changed. I was driving straight through while the other person was making a left turn, cut me off when I had the right of way. Either rude or have no knowledge about the rules of the road. I say make people at least take written driving tests every time they have their drivers license renewed.

Next, that traffic circle at Alamo’s on Jefferson is an accident waiting to happen. They need more signs up. People coming from the Mosby area along that short bit of 22nd to Clay, have to backtrack to get around the circle to get up Clay Street by going down 22nd, up Jefferson, and then back to Clay. But those traveling along Jefferson don’t have a yield sign any longer so don’t let people trying to get around the circle out to get to Clay – while people behind you are blowing their horn.

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John M 04/13/2016 at 7:40 AM

Richmond installing signage to clarify more than 40 traffic circles
http://www.richmond.com/local/city-of-richmond/article_e0c5a72f-2382-573f-9e87-071ec2038672.html

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Mr. Neal 04/13/2016 at 8:56 AM

I’m all about the roundabouts, but these traffic circles are useless.

People fail to slow down. If slowing vehicles down is the intended purpose, then the city is literally wasting thousands with each installation.

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nadine 04/13/2016 at 1:07 PM

I would really like to see the statistics and how they were derived that claim these circle reduce accidents. They just seem to totally contradict the actual observed impact of these installations. Statistics should be based how drivers/pedestrians/cyclist actually behave in the circles and not on how they are “supposed” to work.

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K 04/14/2016 at 7:34 AM

Build ’em, and then put up signs later? Yeah, that’s smart.

What I’m waiting to see (if I live that long) is signs reminding drivers about pedestrians and how, absent crossing lights, they have rightaways.

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Clay Street 04/14/2016 at 9:10 AM

The phenomenon of people turning left by going the wrong way around a circle is proof that they are too small (been seeing it a lot on Jefferson)

If people don’t have a clue as how to properly navigate, then they will make up their own rules…

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