Frisco adding more roundabouts

Frisco adding more roundaboutsConstruction for the planned roundabout at Warren Parkway and Ohio Drive has been put on hold, but the city is moving forward to build two other multilane roundabouts.

A roundabout at John Hickman and Gaylord parkways as well as one at Teel and Rockhill parkways are both scheduled to be complete next summer.

The Ohio Drive roundabout project has been delayed because the city received bids for construction contracts that were more than the city’s budget for the project, said Brian Moen, Frisco’s assistant director of transportation. A new construction timeline has not yet been set.

“Right now we’re just looking at what our options are,” Moen said. “We’re not sure what we’re going to do yet. We’re just going to continue to evaluate what that’s going to be.”

The city of Frisco decided to install roundabouts because they outperform traffic signals in both efficiency and safety, Moen said.

Frisco already has 19 roundabouts installed, mostly in neighborhood developments. Neighborhood roundabouts help control vehicle speeds on residential streets, Moen said.

The city is working on an education campaign for the fall to help residents understand how a roundabout works for drivers and pedestrians,
Moen said.

“You’re going to see a more concerted effort here in the fall to deliver that message to people on how you should drive a roundabout, what you should do with emergency vehicles approaching,” he said.

A roundabout is a one-way traffic circle at which vehicles travel counter-clockwise around a center island. Rather than using traffic signals or stop signs, a roundabout uses yield signs for vehicles approaching the intersection. Roundabouts force drivers to slow down while going through the intersection, increasing the safety of the intersection, Moen said.

Roundabouts can also save on commute times, reduce air pollution and increase fuel savings, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

The city has held public meetings in the past about the roundabouts. Moen said the general thoughts toward roundabouts following the public meetings were positive.

“There were some people who I think were reluctant or nervous about it or had concerns about it, but they were willing to try,” he said. “There was only a small group who were, ‘No way, no how.’”

The roundabouts opening next summer will both have two lanes. Both roundabouts will be built as part of the new roadway construction.

Ohio Drive has roundabouts planned at four intersections: Stone Crest Road, Gaylord Parkway, Warren Parkway and Prestmont Place.

A few other neighborhood roundabouts are also in the works.

Roundabouts would work well at the Ohio Drive, John Hickman Parkway and Teel Parkway intersections because they are minor thoroughfares, Moen said. Major thoroughfares would not work well with roundabouts because of the traffic density, he said.

The city will continue to look at the roundabout at Warren Parkway and Ohio Drive to find ways to reduce construction costs, Moen said.

For the roundabouts at John Hickman Parkway and Teel Parkway, construction costs should be less because the roundabouts are being built into the new roadways rather than retrofitted to an existing intersection, he said.

The city is continuously looking for locations for future roundabouts, Moen said. The city just needs to find intersections that would be the right fit, he said.

“What we don’t want to do is build [a roundabout], then find out 15 years from now that traffic grew too high, and all of a sudden it doesn’t work,” he said.

Moen said as drivers become more familiar with roundabouts, they will become more comfortable with them.

“Many of those who have been to Europe and experienced [roundabouts] or have been elsewhere in the country and seen their success know that this could be a good thing for Frisco,” he said.