South Memphis testing traffic circle to improve safety

South Memphis testing traffic circle to improve safety

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Could a circle be the solution to slowing down speeders in a Memphis neighborhood?

It's one thing being tried after engineers found some drivers were going 60 mph near IDA B Wells Academy.

In the heart of South Memphis at Walker Avenue and Wellington Street, an experiment’s underway.

"We've been receiving a lot of complaints from citizens about speeding traffic on the street,” said Nicholas Oyler, City of Memphis bike and pedestrian manager.

The City of Memphis installed a temporary traffic circle.

"People are really excited about change on their street,” Oyler said.

The circle is designed to slow down drivers, prevent stop sign runners, and reduce T-bone crashes.

"We don't see it very often in Memphis, but it is a common design in other places,” Oyler said.

Oyler and his team will go door to door this week, asking neighbors how they like the traffic circle.

Memphians watching this project with curiosity weighed in on the concept.

"Go to Conway, Arkansas," tweets Blues City Garage. "They got sold this idea a few years ago. OMG, it's a mess."

"LOVE roundabouts", tweets Rebecca Badgett. "Make so much sense once you get used to them."

"Roundabouts are dangerous,” tweeted Tamika. “This will only cause more confusion for drivers."

But Monique tweets: "These are all over Britain. I think they're great."

"The traffic circle you see behind me is one element, but down the street, down Walker Avenue, we have other designs we're testing,” Oyler said.

High visibility sidewalks, bump outs with decorative details, and pinch points pulling traffic away from pedestrians are all being tested here.

“It's all toward the same thing: seeing what can we do to make the streets safer,” Oyler said.

Neighbors and students from Ida B Wells helped the city install the temporary traffic circle.

The project was paid for with a private grant, not taxpayer dollars.

If the data show it works and neighbors like it, the city will install a permanent one.

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