Harford County is no stranger to roundabouts, but is currently under construction in Bel Air.
The closed to traffic last week for the construction of the county's first mini-roundabout.
According to a release from the county, a mini-roundabout "functions virtually identical to a roundabout, except it is slightly smaller and does not have landscaping in the central island."
The release states that these small roundabouts often fit in existing intersections and right-of-way designations, thus saving money and causing less impact to area residents and businesses. This particular mini-roundabout will save an estimated $400,000 because there is no need to move utilities to accommodate it, according to the release.
There are 21 roundabouts in place throughout the county, the first of which was installed at Marketplace Drive in Bel Air in 1996, according to . There was a strong outcry against the roundabout at the time.
The county Department of Public Works reports these 21 roundabouts have had a combined total of 38 accidents involving three injuries within the past ten years.
Three of these intersections had a total of 78 accidents with 24 injuries and three fatalities within the ten-year period between 1995 and 2005 when all of them were controlled by stop signs, according to a release from the county. Since 2005 and the installation of roundabouts those intersections have had a total of only 13 accidents with two minor injuries.
A number of Harford County residents feel the roundabouts are not a safe traffic solution.
"Roundabouts, large or small, only work if everyone knows how to use them and if they want to abide by the rules. My husband almost was in an accident at Tollgate and Marketplace while he was in the roundabout. The car coming westbound on Tollgate did not stop and almost broadsided him. These roundabouts are dangerous and a waste of money. Put in a stop sign or a red light—we all understand how to use them," Patch user .
Other county residents feel the area is being overrun by roundabouts and another seems excessive. This is the seventh roundabout on two segments of Tollgate Road between U.S. Route 1 and MD Route 24.
"Is another roundabout really necessary? I don't usually travel through that particular stretch of Tollgate, but when I do it doesn't seem to be an issue," Patch user .
So, you tell us: How do you feel about this traffic device? Is it necessary, why or why not? Leave a comment below to start the conversation.