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Roundabout Arrives at Bellarmine’s Front Entrance

BY CAT TERRELL, STFF WRITER

Students arriving back to Bellarmine for the fall semester were greeted by an unfamiliar sight: a roundabout in place of the familiar, stop-sign-studded intersection between Bellarmine Boulevard and Via Cassia.

Bill Baranowski, a civil engineer and owner and operator of RoundaboutsUSA.Com, said roundabouts were first introduced in the United States in the 1990s and are a common replacement for intersections. Although they are popular around the country, they are fairly rare in Louisville today. They are designed to promote a continuous flow of traffic and reduce congestion caused by stoplights and stop signs. Roundabouts are also designed to reduce T-bone collisions, which commonly occur in standard intersections. Drivers enter the roundabout, yielding to drivers coming from the left, and circle around the center in a counterclockwise direction toward their desired exit.

According to Assistant Vice President of Facilities Jeffrey Dean, the previous design of the intersection of Bellarmine Boulevard and Via Cassia required two-way traffic on both sides and made it difficult for vehicles to turn left on Via Cassia onto Bellarmine Boulevard. Dean said the intersection was redesigned and rebuilt into a roundabout over the summer as part of the Centro construction project “to provide for one-way traffic around the island and to allow southbound vehicles access to turn left at the roundabout, making for a safer intersection.”

Students and faculty had a varied reaction to the roundabout. Many people have little to no experience driving in roundabouts and are unfamiliar with the concept, which can slow or halt the flow of traffic and increase the likelihood of accidents. Sophomore Jillian Shufelt said she is already beginning to grow irritated with people who are learning how to drive in the roundabout.

“A lot of people don’t know how to use it, so it’s kind of annoying,” she said.

Sophomore Moya Fischer said, “I like it coming onto campus because everyone has to yield to me. But I don’t like using it to leave campus because people don’t use turn signals and it stresses me out.”

However, some people are glad to see a change. Junior Erica Reitz described the roundabout as “very efficient” and said she is happy that it has been implemented.

Director of the Office of Public Safety Debbie Fox confirmed that there have been no accidents in or around the roundabout since its completion. Fox said the Office of Public Safety sent out information to the Bellarmine community about the roundabout and how to use it. Fox said there are also officers monitoring traffic during on-campus events.

Bellarmine professor Dr. Susan White views the roundabout as a positive change and said that many of the negative opinions are a fear of the unknown.

“I think when people get used to them, they’re really nice,” White said.

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