Tracy Talks: City roundabouts don’t calm drivers
by Anne Marie Fuller
Aug 16, 2013 | 4873 views | 7 7 comments | 213 213 recommendations | email to a friend | print

"Here we go, loopty loo," plays in my head each time I drive through one of our local roundabouts.

Beyond the ascetically pleasing nature of them — what does the community think of the roundabouts and what is their function?

To find out, I started an online poll on the Tracy Talks Facebook page. The majority of the comments were not positive.

"I know few people including my husband that have almost gotten into accidents with people going the wrong way through them," Tina Vieira stated. "They are dangerous, especially with the fog we get and a waste of money."

"Against them," commented Jolene Ingersoll. "Especially the one on 11th Street going out to the freeway, someone is going to get hurt out there.... Yes the road needed to be fixed but it didn’t need to be a roundabout, especially in a busy intersection."

"I’m ok for the roundabouts downtown," commented Jeffery Durant. "The one at 11th down by the highway entrance is stupid. That is a high truck traffic (area) and the lanes are narrow and confusing."

I have heard roundabouts referred to as a traffic calmer and they do seem to be quite popular on the East Coast and in Europe, but are they safer than having a standard signal light?

There are five roundabouts in the city, according to Kul Sharma, assistant director of development services for Tracy. He said they "are more efficient long-term" because maintenance and operational costs for signal lights are eliminated. The roundabout at Sixth Street and Central Avenue prevented the installation of two signal lights at that intersection, Sharma said.

Since January, there have been 16 vehicle accidents at the 11th Street roundabout, east of Tracy, according to statistics provided by the California Highway Patrol Tracy office. It was completed in October 2012.

From January to July 2012, prior to the roundabout being constructed, there were two vehicle crashes at the same intersection.

So what are your thoughts on the matter? Does the roundabouts help or hinder our community? 

• Anne Marie Fuller is a Tracy arts commissioner and the television host of "Helpful Hints with Anne Marie" on Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. Contact her at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 06, 2013
When my 85yr old Mother negotiated the 11th St. circle of confusion, I had her pull over and let me take the wheel. ppl stop at the yield signs. I start taking that mess way before I get there. On my bike, I can straighten it out. Nice if the curb was
August 24, 2013
I believe round-a-bouts in residential areas, where roadways are only 2 lanes, works fairly well, as does the one on 6th St and Central. The round-a-bout on 11th St is another matter. Too many people become confused when there is a 2 lane round-a-bout. When the one on 11th St was first proposed I told my wife that it was a stupid idea to put one on such a highly traveled roadway. If the county had done their job, and surveyed it thoroughly before constructing it, they would have found that the stop light controlled traffic far better. Too many drivers are confused when they enter that round-a-bout. Case in point: entering the round-a-bout from west bound 11th St and wanting to turn south on...oh what the heck is the name of the street? Will a driver entering the round-a-bout from east bound 11th St know who has the right of way? Will the other vehicle be in the correct lane of traffic to continue south? It's a confusing thing to have a round-a-bout on a busy roadway. I am extraordinarily careful when I enter the 11th St round-a-bout but if I'm ever in a collision, knock on wood it never happens, I'd consider suing the county.
September 10, 2013
yeah, they can't possibly work on multi-lane roads that see lots of traffic, I mean that would be like putting one around the Arc de' Triumph in Paris -- oh wait, there already is one there
August 21, 2013
Been through them almost daily. No issues. Do I see folks going too fast? Sure, but that isn't unique to the round about is it?

People need to understand that the folks in the circle have the right of way and not those trying to enter.

Ms. Fuller doesn't mention what the leading causes of accidents were although, as Wobbley mentioned, speed is likely one of the major contributors as is failure to yield.

I look at it from the perspective of I'm not having to wait through a red light anymore.
August 16, 2013
I have been in a near miss virtually every time I enter the roundabout out there in the middle of nowhere on 11th street. People in California DO NOT KNOW HOW TO NEGOTIATE ROUNDABOUTS.

The first time, I was in the inside lane entering the roundabout. The car in the outside lane, slightly ahead, proceeded straight through at about 40 MPH, cutting into my lane.

The second time, a car entered in front of me from the right while I was in the roundabout west bound in the inside lane. The vehicle proceeded into the inside lane directly in front of me in order to go east on 11th (the shortest route to navigate the roundabout is cutting across two lanes. Perhaps he thought he had the right of way?

Both occurrences are fairly common at this intersection. BUT on the bright side, the city 'saved' a few dollars on stop lights. Oh, wait, the stop lights were already there, they tore them out.
August 19, 2013
The downtown roundabouts are rather innocuous. The 11th street roundabout, not so much. I can't count how many near-misses I've witnessed or experienced since it was built, likely due to the traffic volume and speeds. I know the county had proposed building them at the other 11th Street intersections (Chrisman, Banta and Bird Roads) and pray that they've dropped those plans. I'm not surprised the accident history has increased as much as it has.
August 16, 2013
Ignorant, selfish, inconsiderate, benighted people affect our community.

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