Missoula considers utilizing more roundabouts - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula considers utilizing more roundabouts

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MISSOULA -

Though roundabouts were unfamiliar to many drivers not long ago, Missoula city planners are now suggesting they become a normal part of traffic planning.

If you live in Missoula, roundabouts are probably common in your daily commute.

Tuesday, the city Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board proposed increasing the number of roundabouts around town.

City Planner Tara Osendorf said while drivers needed time to get use to them, roundabouts are a tried-and-true method of regulating traffic.

"Encouraging the community to say, 'This is okay. This isn't something that's scary or too new for us. It's something that’s is proven and can be accessible as a safety measure,'” Osendorf said.

She said roundabouts will help the flow of traffic and reduce crashes as more people are moving to Missoula.

A national study shows a 35% reduction in crashes and a 75% reduction in fatal-or-injury related crashes when stop lights are replaced by roundabouts. 

For some Missoulians, the roundabouts may seem confusing at first but ultimately reduce congestion.

"I think that when you come into Missoula you see all of these strange looking roundabouts on the streets, and wonder, 'What the heck?'" says resident David Kratochvil. "But they actually do seem to improve traffic flow significantly."

City leaders will evaluate the use of roundabouts along with additional changes to Missoula's infrastructure. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board agreed to hear more about this proposal in their next meetings. 

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