The roundabout that opened last week helps traffic flow at Llano Estacado Boulevard and Norris Street. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
Frances Brune likes how quiet her street has been since the city’s first roundabout at Llano Estacado Boulevard and Norris Street opened last week.
She lives on Mariposa Drive, one block from the roundabout.
“It felt like someone died the first day it (roundabout) was open. There’s less traffic on the street (Mariposa Drive) now, it’s so quiet,” Brune said.
A roundabout is a way to control a four-way intersection by directing traffic in a counterclockwise direction around a circular median without traffic signals or stop signs.
The roundabout was proposed to the city commission, because it was a cost-effective way of alleviating congestion and controlling traffic. Cheaper than a stop light, it was funded by grants from the state; and the city covered the cost of drainage construction, City Manager Joe Thomas said.
There may be skeptics, but nearby residents, officials and members of an adjacent church agree the new construction has eased traffic.
Faith Christian Family Church stands at the outer edge of the roundabout.
Fewer vehicles are cutting through the church’s parking lot to turn around, said Faith Christian Family Church Business Administrator Virginia McCreery.
“We like it (roundabout),” McCreery said. “It has been a tough intersection.”
The church unofficially met with the city before the roundabout was constructed to discuss traffic problems at the intersection, said Thomas.
“Over the years traffic continued to increase at the intersection,” he said. “The church went to the point of having people assist churchgoers by directing traffic.”
Lily Rousseau has a home on Ben Crenshaw Court, off Llano Estacado Boulevard, and she likes the roundabout because it alleviates congestion.
“Before, you couldn’t cross Norris (Street) when it was busy. We needed a light or the roundabout,” she said.
Clovis Police Lt. James Schoeffel said there have been no accidents on the roundabout since it was erected.
Some were skeptical that the roundabout would work, but concerns are lessening, officials said.
City Commissioner Juan Garza voted in May to construct the roundabout amidst contention.
“It’s understandable when you’re dealing with something new,” Garza said. “Obviously people will be skeptical.”
Thomas likes the way the roundabout has turned out, and believes skepticism is waning.
“There’s always skepticism, but we’re hoping skeptics like it (roundabout), and many (skeptics) said they’re receptive to it,” he said.
One skeptic was Commissioner Fred Van Soelen. As one of two commissioners who voted against roundabout construction, he thought a four-way stop sign would have been a quicker fix to congestion problems.
“I’ve been through it twice, and it works pretty well. I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Faith Christian Family Church will fund the greening of the roundabout’s center, officials said.