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Yield to the Circle: Harrisburg Roundabout Improves Traffic Flow

Harrisburg adds to the evidence that roundabouts work:

Mayor Derick Wenck said the roundabout has done a great job of cutting down traffic congestion at the intersection, especially during the busy hours during the before-school and after-school rush.

“I mean, we anticipated that there would probably be a couple of accidents,” Wenck said. “I know the first day we opened it up, us and some of the city staff sat up here and watched the school traffic for the first time through the roundabout. It was kind of amazing to watch, because everybody was flowing through it so smoothly. Where as that after school traffic before with our four way stop, we were getting traffic backed up a solid city block” [Cooper Seamer, “Despite Two Accidents Harrisburg Leaders See Smooth Transition to New Roundabout,” KSFY, 2023.11.13].

In its first ten days of operation, the traffic circle saw only two accidents, both from folks not following the one simple rule of traffic circles: yield to folks in the circle!

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has been monitoring the intersection since it opened, watching for traffic violations. Deputy Sheriff Garrett Welsh said that the two accidents were minor fender benders, and caused by drivers not properly following the rules of the roundabout.

“So far we’ve seen two accidents since the roundabout opened that were just minor,” Welsh said. ” [What] we’ve seen happen is vehicles that are entering the roundabout, they are not yielding to the vehicles that are in it. Vehicles that are in the roundabout do have the right of way. So that’s where we’ve seen the two accidents that have occurred so far” [Seamer, 2023.11.13].

If you can remember to drive on the right side of the road, you can remember to yield to folks in the circle. Pay attention, and get home faster!


  1. Ben Cerwinske 2023-11-17 08:19

    My negativity towards roundabouts probably just stems from the one we have in Spearfish near the university and my apartment. First, they didn’t leave the middle clear, but put a big sculpture that obstructs one’s view. Second, it’s at the bottom of a hill and then also starts to curve into the roundabout at the bottom. Not particularly safe on icy winter days. Previously, if you hit some ice coming down you would just continue going straight (hopefully) and didn’t have to worry about yielding to someone who just had to use the roundabout at that moment.

  2. V 2023-11-17 08:27

    When in Ireland, I encountered roundabouts and loved them. They were functional, successful, kept the traffic flowing, and made sense. I figured that’s why we didn’t have them here.

  3. Tom 2023-11-17 09:42

    in Belgium, they have 8 in a row anticipating growth…cool…

  4. C 2023-11-17 12:25

    That’s at least three of them that I know of in the Sioux Falls area now.There is one near Target on the east side and one on 69th and Southeastern.

  5. LCJ 2023-11-17 15:01

    2 in Watertown. Almost everyone is good with it except grain carrying semis traveling to or from the ethanol plant or the elevator.
    These guys seem to be self entitled to not yield.
    Ben, I know exactly what you’re talking about. Logic was not put in that plan, Beautiful town and campus though.
    Billings MT must have 12 or so all twin lanes. They also put some in before the surrounding land was developed. Sound decision.

  6. Richard Schriever 2023-11-17 16:57

    Ben, when entering a traffic circle, you only need to look at one place, your immediate left. Nothing in the center would block that view. IMO, driving on icy roads should be avoided in any case, let alone downhill.

  7. Arlo Blundt 2023-11-17 17:06

    I’ve grown to like them. Biggest problem I have is remembering where I’m going and following the signs. Overall, they are a big improvement ovr 4 way stops.

  8. Todd Epp 2023-11-17 19:35

    I’ll beat Grudz to the point. This heterosexual lawyer from Harrisburg would have preferred a normal intersection with four way stop lights. That was also the consensus of my informal Epp Poll of fellow Harrisburgers.

    It’s ok.

  9. grudznick 2023-11-17 21:33

    grudznick is in lockstep with the SLFH.

  10. Lucy M 2023-11-18 10:04

    Also one on 33rd St east of Veterans’ Parkway (Hyw 11). It works for the church as well as the GROWING residential neighborhood all around it.

  11. Ben Cerwinske 2023-11-18 10:07

    Driving on icy roads should be avoided? Any suggestions on how I get to work early in the morning?

  12. Tim Patterson 2023-11-30 14:59

    I love the new round about in Harrisburg. I did meet a car entering it and it appeared they were speeding and not yielding, but I think it was well done!!!

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