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San Jose Explores Installing More Traffic Circles And Roundabouts To Curb Sideshows

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Residents in San Jose fed up with sideshow activity have contacted City Hall asking if certain hard-hit intersections could be put on the list of future traffic roundabouts.

The intersection at Tully Road and Ruby Avenue in the city's Evergreen area, which has plenty of skid marks, may eventually be reconfigured.

Zahi Khattab, a principal engineer for the city told KPIX 5 that drivers "won't have any open space or large room in the intersection where they can do the drifting or the sideshow."

San Jose traffic engineers and the Valley Transportation Authority began looking at converting certain large intersections to roundabouts in 2016.

One national study found the main benefits of roundabouts: they cut collisions 35% and fatal collisions went down 90%.

While common in Europe, roundabouts are mostly foreign to drivers here.

"We don't see them too much," said Clyde Floyd of San Jose. "They cause some confusion but once we get used to them, they do seem to make the traffic flow really well."

Besides Tully and Ruby, the intersections of Hillsdale Avenue and Communications Hill Boulevard along with Graham Avenue and Goodyear Street near downtown are all being studied for possible roundabouts.

In one neighborhood near Hedding Street, smaller versions of roundabouts were installed a few years ago as a traffic calming measure because too many people were speeding.

One neighbor told KPIX 5 they are only somewhat effective.

"For people who mind them, they're good," said neighbor Nancy Bouch.

Floyd, an avid runner, would like to see something done to make intersections safer and says roundabouts could be it. He told KPIX 5 that he recently almost got hit by two vehicles despite having the walking signal.

"Safety is a big deal for pedestrians, as well as drivers.  I've seen too many people running red lights these days," Floyd said.

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