Back in April, before a traffic circle a couple blocks from downtown Sioux Falls was originally drawn in paint, traffic in the Cathedral Historic District was particularly dangerous.
“We did have a stop sign on Duluth here, but the traffic would just blow through the stop sign. And, so, we saw accidents regularly,” said resident Bob Tryzynka.
…Drivers used 9th St. as a shortcut to avoid 10th St., a busy main road.
”Working with the neighborhood, they wanted to slow down traffic in the area,” said Heath Hoftiezer, city principal traffic engineer.
So, in April, the city set up a temporary traffic circle at 9th and Duluth, and another two blocks away at 9th and Prairie, and waited for feedback from residents.
“You know, there’s some negative feedback, but it was overwhelmingly positive,” said Hoftiezer.
“I think the circles have been very effective. It’s really slowed down traffic. It’s caused, I think, fewer accidents. We haven’t noticed one since they moved in,” said Tryzynka.
“Less people cutting through the neighborhood, and using the other streets such as 10th instead,” said Hoftiezer [John Gaskins, “Traffic Circles Improving Safety in Cathedral District,” KSFY, 2023.09.06].
Some complaints persist, although they seem to focus less on the eminently sensible and empirically proven safety of traffic circle flow and more on the stupidity of drivers. But the 9th Street circles are keepers—the city is making them permanent.
And remember: even though the circles may slow down traffic, they actually allow more cars to get through intersections in a given time.