KENNEWICK, Wash. - Almost everywhere you turn in the City of Kennewick, there seems to be a new roundabout popping up.
"They've been extremely effective for the City of Kennewick--our first roundabout at 27th and Union reduced injury collision by 90%," said Evelyn Lusignan, the city's spokeswoman.
The city began installing the circular intersections in 2000 after receiving complaints of traffic delays and car accidents. Today, there are nearly 20 traffic circles within city limits, not including the two major roundabouts at the end of Steptoe and near the blue bridge which were installed by the state.
"They provide a high level of safety as drivers going through a roundabout are going at a slower speed," said Lusignan.
Roundabouts are designed to move traffic counterclockwise around a center island, allowing drivers to maneuver in and out of a 4-way intersection more effectively.
While some drivers find the traffic circles useful, others see them as nuisances.
"I think they are very effective. They keep traffic moving and they have a lot of safety aspects too," said Bob Shymatta, a driver.
"I don't think they're really that great. They don't slow the traffic down--they confuse people," added Belia Guerrero, a driver.
City leaders to plan to build two more roundabouts within the year at 45th/Olympia and another at Ridgeline/Zintel Way. A third roundabout is planned for 2014.