TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A different way to drive that not many East Texans are used to is coming to Downtown Tyler.
“Kind of intrigued to see it,” said Tyler resident Casey Duck.
Recently, design plans that included two roundabouts to create a more vibrant downtown square.
The roundabout was approved on Wednesday during a joint public meeting between Tyler’s City Council and the Smith County Commissioner’s Court.
Duck said hearing the news about what’s coming was refreshing.
“I haven’t seen any roundabouts here,” he said. “I’ve experienced them in the Dallas area. I do like them. I’m interested in them, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Back in April when the city and county considered the idea of roundabouts, the city’s Metropolitan Planning Organization Director Michael Howell liked the idea.
“From an efficiency standpoint, they work really well,” Howell said.
Another resident, Casey Fate, said roundabouts could change driving for the better in the Rose City.
“I think it could be good for the area,” said Fate. “Especially after learning more about them and how it can help the flow of traffic and it’s a little bit safer. Driving downtown can be a little bit intimidating. I think it can be helpful for some of the businesses down here.”
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there are around 500 roundabouts across the state.
TXDOT Deputy Executive Director Brandye Hendrickson said they are not only a safer option for drivers, but they also can help reduce impacts in a crash.
“Roundabouts really slow traffic down and also calm traffic in such a way that the crashes when they do happen are much less serious,” she said.
Fate added that she thinks it might take drivers some time to get used to the changes.
“I think people might avoid it at first because a lot of people in this area are kind of unfamiliar with the concept,” Fate added. “But I think after they get more comfortable with it, it’ll just go back to normal.”
City officials said the changes to the downtown square area will come in phases. The construction will be starting for the new voter approved parking garage in late October and will last months.
Officials also expect more changes to come around that time as well.