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Monday breakdown: Park Circle

June 30, 2013

The traffic circle at the entrance of Hagerstown’s City Park came up in a reader-submitted question this past week, specifically asking why motorists in the circle have to yield to incoming traffic.

Norine Dagliano, a city resident who lives near the park, said in an email that “every other traffic circle I have ever encountered in my travels throughout Maryland is engineered the opposite way,” with entering traffic required to yield to motorists already in the circle.

“The set-up at City Park may require a driver to stop and yield as many as four times to get around the circle,” Dagliano said in her email. “I imagine there is some logical answer for why this circle is different, but I haven’t a clue as to what it might be.”

In an email Wednesday, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said Park Circle operates as an “older-type” traffic circle, although most of the city’s other circles, or “rotaries,” operate like the more-popular roundabout that requires entering drivers to yield.

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“Traffic circles were popular in the early 1900s, but new ones are not being created much anymore,” Tissue said, noting that the city monitors traffic counts and accident data in the circle. “... In the past, the numbers of accident are fairly low.”

Tissue said the city plans to revisit the issue of converting the traffic circle into a roundabout at an upcoming meeting of the city’s Board of Traffic and Parking, and could subsequently bring a recommendation for the change before the mayor and city council.

The city recently had two pedestrian islands built at Park Circle and a third is currently under construction, all of which would work well if it were converted into a roundabout, Tissue said.

A staff recommendation to convert Park Circle into a roundabout was denied by the city council in April 2006.

— Compiled by C.J. Lovelace


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Monday Breakdown
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