Mini-roundabout causes some confusion for drivers in Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. -- A mini-roundabout installed Wednesday in Lancaster is causing some confusion for drivers.

It's located at the intersection of North Plum, Park Avenue, And East New Streets.

The roundabout was installed to slow folks down which FOX43 saw, but other times, we saw something else: Utter confusion.

Some drivers totally stopped before the roundabout, some failed to yield before it, and others drove in the wrong direction.

"It's confusing!" yelled one driver from his vehicle.

One driver ignored the yield sign and almost hit our FOX43 news crew.

The intersection is known by many drivers, bikers, and pedestrians as a nightmare.

"It's horrible," said Beth Dewalt of Lancaster. "You can't see and people come speeding along on a blind curve on Plum Street."

"Oh, I've seen accidents here," said Ed Sutton of Lancaster. "Speed is the big thing. People try to pull out, but they're speeding up the street here."

City officials say there were five accidents here in 12 months. Thankfully, they say no one died.

"We came up with either, looked at two alternatives. Either an all way stop or a roundabout," explained Cindy McCormick, an engineer for Lancaster Public Works.

The mini-roundabout clearly won, and Beth Dewalt says she feels safer to dog walk every day.

"Well, any roundabout is always going to slow people down, makes people a little more aware of what's going on in their surroundings, looking for pedestrians, which cars don't always do around here. I think it's a great idea," she said.

Sutton, a 32-year city resident, isn't sold though; he thinks it could cause accidents.

"This roundabout isn't going to work. It's going to cause more confusion here," said Sutton. "If you're leaving the hospital just a few blocks away, and people is confused anyway leaving the hospital at different times, I think they're going to see this and it's going to cause more havoc."

McCormick says just follow the signs, make sure you're driving counterclockwise, and folks will be just fine.

"There are yield signs on the approaches, so that means if anyone is in the roundabout, you know you wait until they exit the roundabout, it sort of operates like an all way stop, sort of take your turns traveling around," explained McCormick.

Officials say the cones in the roundabout could stay or the cones could go once people get used to the roundabout.

The entire traffic circle could be scrapped in a few months as this is a trial period or officials say it could become a more permanent thing with concrete barriers in place.

Officials say they welcome drivers' feedback.

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