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Residents say Driftwood roundabout may slow traffic as growth continues

With her business situated near the oddly shaped FM 3237 and FM 150 intersection, Hays City Store owner Tamara Tindol has seen her share of minor fender-benders take place.

But with a proposal to potentially install a roundabout at the intersection, Tindol said it could not only make traffic safer, but could make the area more appealing.

The idea of a possible roundabout was brought up at the March 27 Hays County Commissioners Court meeting during an update to the county’s FM 150 Character Plan.

The plan aims to gather public input on how to approach the stretch of FM 150 between Arroyo Ranch Road in Kyle and Ranch Road 12 in Dripping Springs in the future.

Casey Cutler, who is the director of public outreach with the Driftwood Historical Conservation Society (DHCS) and a member of the FM 150 Citizens Advisory Panel )CAP) , said the proposal of the roundabout was created out of synergy between the county and citizens.

He said county officials are working as a team with the CAP to look at what is best at moving traffic through Hays County. One of the ideas was to include a potential roundabout at the FM 150 and FM 3237 intersection, which he believes could slow down traffic.

Cutler, who lives in the Driftwood area, said he could hear the sound of screeching tires whenever he is near the intersection.

“People fly down 3237 and they don’t understand what they’re about to face when they go on 150,” Cutler said. He added newcomers to the area often are confused by the intersection, primarily a right-hand curve that merges drivers on FM 150 to Dripping Springs.

Tindol said there have been near misses at the intersection as a result of increased traffic to the area.

Morgan Spicer, who works at the Mad Rooster’s on FM 150, said she’s noticed motorists not yielding to traffic at the yield sign.

“It’s a dangerous intersection,” Spicer said. “You have to drive pretty defensively around it.”

But Spicer, who lived in England for six years, was apprehensive when learning a roundabout could be the solution for the intersection. She said her primary concern would be teaching American drivers how use a roundabout, which are not common traffic features.

“It’s just that they have never seen them before,” Spicer said. “They sometimes don’t know what they’re all about.”

However, Spicer said adding a roundabout would allow motorists to carry on and avoid having to stop at a stop sign or a traffic signal. 

Cutler, who supports the roundabout idea, said he understood the concern with trying to teach drivers how to maneuver around it.

He believes the roundabout could not only spur more movement and slow speeds down, but could also limit pollution as well.

“It could drop because you don’t have people idling their cars in traffic,” Cutler said. “You’re moving the traffic and that’s a benefit.”

Cutler said a possible roundabout could retain the uniqueness of the area, and could potentially help initiatives such as making parts of FM 150 a Texas Scenic Route.

“We have a living heritage here. It’s not fossilized, it’s transforming,” Cutler said. “We have a potential to be what future communities in rural areas could look like.”

Tindol, who said the current intersection is dangerous, said the space between her business and Mad Rooster’s could be large enough for a roundaoubt that could accommodate large trucks.

Tindol said the roundabout idea could be the preferred solution. She cited a recent roundabout that was installed in Kyle, which she said works smoothly.

“Safety is my concern and everyone in this area’s priority,” Tindol said. “Slowing down speeds and eliminating the need to stop sounds like a well thought-out alternative.”

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