Roundabouts making comeback on San Antonio roads

$600,000 invested by city's Transportation and Capital Improvements Department

SAN ANTONIO – After years of witnessing drivers speed and roll through stop signs in their neighborhood, homeowners living off Sol Trace Road on the city's Southwest Side said their plea to the city for slower traffic has been heard. 

Over the summer, the city's Transportation and Capital Improvements Department installed two roundabouts on Sol Trace, past the road's intersection with Ray Ellison Boulevard.

For more than a decade, homeowner Maria Peecher said she has witnessed cars zoom past her home in the Solana Ridge subdivision.

"We don't have (any) kids, but it is a danger," said Peecher, adding she has witnessed several accidents due to drivers not respecting the traffic signals.

In June, things began to finally slow down after homeowners submitted their concerns to TCI officials. Lilly Banda, manager for TCI, said the department along with the neighborhood's homeowners association, worked together to find the most appropriate solution.

"In this particular situation, a roundabout was appropriate because we did have the space for it and it actually achieves what we need it to achieve," Banda said.

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TCI said roundabouts are once again growing in popularity for its efficiency in controlling speeds, keep traffic flowing and improving pedestrian safety.

As part of TCI's Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program, two roundabouts were built on Sol Trace. According to Banda, the approximate cost of the traffic measure control is $600,000.

Throughout San Antonio there are seven roundabouts designed to force drivers to slow down. TCI said lower speeds can result in fewer accidents.

As drivers approach the intersection, they must reduce their speed as they're slightly deflected to the right around the island. Although neighbors said they have seen a decrease in drivers speeding, they're concerned there isn't enough room for all drivers to safely go around the island.

"The 18-wheelers go (around the island) and they back up a little bit," Peecher said. "Then they try to turn a little bit, but they have to go on top of that curb."

But Banda said that's exactly why the end of the curb is at a slope.

"It is designed with an apron that is intended exactly for that, so that when you have bigger vehicles, they can mount it and traverse the roundabout itself," Banda said.

TCI said it will keep a close eye on the area to assure that the roundabouts are serving their purpose to calm traffic.

Homeowners in San Antonio can submit their traffic concern application to TCI. Click here for the application.

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