Neighborhood Traffic Circles
Temporary Traffic Circle Pilot: Persinger Rd and Bluefield Blvd
The City of Roanoke Transportation Division installed a three-month pilot traffic circle at the intersection of Persinger Road and Bluefield Boulevard. Persinger Road is a neighborhood collector road that connects two major roads in the City of Roanoke: Colonial Avenue and Brambleton Avenue. Persinger Road is also the backbone for the Bluefield Boulevard community where many residents enjoy walking.
The traffic circle was effective in slowing down traffic along Persinger Road. Two traffic studies conducted during the course of the pilot project showed that average speeds and 85th percentile speed dropped by 10 MPH along Persinger Road in the vicinity of the traffic circle.
The consensus from residents throughout the pilot project was that, despite being an effective traffic calming measure, the temporary traffic circle’s configuration did not make travel in this neighborhood more comfortable. The Transportation Division, in conjunction with the Citizen Engagement Office, will continue to look for other opportunities to use this tactical urbanism design approach as a way to help neighbors who raise concerns about traffic conditions.
The Transportation Division recommends taking the following actions in moving forward with traffic calming along Persinger Road:
- Remove the traffic circle (effective November 19, 2018)
- The curb extensions will remain in place.
- Continue to monitor this intersection, and determine a more permanent curb extension solution if possible.
- Reach out to the residents in the spring of 2019, and determine if there is interest in pursuing a community project at this intersection.
Background and Design
Designed as a “Traffic Calming Pilot Project”, this traffic circle is the first of its kind in the City of Roanoke. The project was proposed in response to residents’ concerns about increasing traffic volumes and speeds along Persinger Road. Recent traffic studies show average daily volumes on Persinger are 2,400 vehicles a day, and the 85th percentile speed is as high as 40 MPH, 15 MPH over the speed limit. Residents along Persinger Road expressed concerns about traffic moving too fast, making it unsafe for walkers.
Local neighbors originally requested stop signs at Persinger Road, but a four-way stop warrant analysis conducted by the City ruled out this option. The Transportation Division identified a neighborhood traffic circle as one option for reducing travel speeds along Persinger Road. For projects of this nature, city staff usually engage with the local neighborhood association to discuss the project. Since this neighborhood does not have a community association, City staff identified a pilot project as an effective way to evaluate the concept and gather public input.
City Traffic Engineers designed the traffic circle. The configuration of the intersection presented some challenges, and curb expansions were necessary to make the traffic circle more effective as a traffic calming measure. The final design considered a personal vehicle to effectively maneuver the traffic circle at a 20 MPH speed. The traffic circle was installed on August 25, 2018. The circle was constructed with circular flexible delineators attached to the pavement. Traffic barricades were used to temporarily hold the traffic circle signs. New signs were installed along Persinger Road indicating “New Traffic Pattern Ahead” and “Yield at Circle” signs at the intersection.
Door-to-door Letter Distribution
- Once the final design and recommendation to install the traffic circle was approved by the Director of Public Works and the City Manager’s Office, the City Transportation staff reached out to residents of the neighborhood via mail (92 letters distributed), to announce the upcoming project.
- On November 1, 2018 staff launched a project survey and invited the neighbors to attend a community meeting (110 letters distributed)
- A sign at the intersection corner with information about the project and the Transportation Division contact information was placed at the site for a few weeks, inviting people to call or email with questions.
- Twenty five (25) local neighborhood residents contacted the Transportation Division during the pilot project.
Public Meeting & Survey
- Forty-one local residents attended the project meeting on November 14. Overwhelmingly, the public meeting audience was against the traffic circle measure for traffic calming in the neighborhood, and the temporary installation was removed following the meeting.
- The city received 32 responses to the online survey from local residents. Of those, 11 responses were positive while 21 responses raised concerns about the traffic circle.