New Mini Roundabout Has Neighbors Worried

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COLUMBIA - The new mini roundabout at the intersection of Fariview and Rollins roads is causing concern among some residents.

The roundabout was part of a project that also included adding sidewalks along both roads as well as in front of Fairview Elementary School.

The project's total cost was $500,000, which was paid for by revenue created by the city's quarter-cent capital improvement sales tax. The roundabout itself cost about $100,000.

Libbie and Nick Couper live on Fairview Road and think the roundabout is a dangerous addition too close to an elementary school.

"We've seen some people drive through it at a high rate of speed and even seen some people drive directly over it without yielding or paying attention to the circle at all," Nick Couper said.

"We're just not sure we understand the need of the roundabout," Libbie Couper added.

A "mini" roundabout is designed for areas with slow traffic as well as at smaller intersections where the construction of a roundabout with a raised center isn't possible.

But with the roundabout being completed so close to the start of school, the fear of confused motorists combined with children crossing the street worries residents like the Coupers.

"It's going to take a period of adjustment," said Libbie Couper. "Hopefully while people are getting used to it, nobody gets hurt."

Nick Couper added that a lot of people have a negative view of the roundabout and question the value it brings.

"The four way stop that used to be at the intersection was fine," Couper said. "We were suprised when we saw the project getting underway."

According to the city's website, the roundabout at the intersection of Fairview and Rollins roads is the city's third mini roundabout and 21st overall.

Despite not liking the roundabout, the Coupers do think the rest of the project was a much needed addition to the neighborhood.

"The addition of the sidewalks has been important and so has been repainting of the cross walks for the kids that go to Fairview," Libbie Couper said. "Both are important safety measures that have been needed for a while."