Roundabout has locals up in arms

A proposed roundabout at the FM 3237 and FM 150 split near Driftwood is drawing criticism from residents who are concerned about its necessity.

The furor comes after the News-Dispatch reported earlier this month that the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) added the project to its recommended list for state and federal funds.

Angie Nettles-Pereira, a resident of Plum Creek in Kyle, sees drivers struggling to use roundabouts in her neighborhood daily and does not think a roundabout will work in the area, which is near the Hays City Store. 

“I lived in this neighborhood for a decade and you could literally pull out a lawn chair and a bucket of popcorn and watch the stupidity,” Nettles-Pereira said.

People driving through Plum Creek do not understand the concept of roundabouts and are either distracted, forget to yield, come to an unnecessary complete stop, or end up going the wrong direction, according to Nettles-Pereira.

Nettles-Pereira owns a family store in Wimberley and drives out there almost every day and says she has not seen a lot of traffic issues. 

“It’s not as big a problem as the county is making it out to be. I think people need to obey the traffic laws. The problem is not the influx of traffic, the problem is the drivers,” Nettles-Pereira said.

She says a traffic light out there would be more feasible and would cause less confusion. Putting in a roundabout in a “high traffic and high speed area is not a wise thing to do,” Nettles-Pereira said.

On social media, 16 others shared similar sentiments, namely about safety concerns and questioning the necessity. 

However, Terri Thompson, who has lived in Hays County for 24 years, likes the idea of a roundabout at the FM 3237 and FM 150 intersection. Thompson says people are afraid of them because they lack experience with them.

“I think they’re great, it keeps me moving,” Thompson said. Thompson added traffic lights waste gas and time, especially out in a rural area where the lights would be set on a timer.

Thompson said there are several successful roundabouts that prove they can work smoothly. Examples include one at the Shops at Arbor Trails in Austin, and one in the Main Plaza in downtown New Braunfels. The city of Kyle installed a roundabout at the intersection of Burleson Street and Marketplace Avenue in 2017.

The roundabout has been discussed in public meetings for the FM 150 Character Plan and 2016 Bond Election as a traffic solution for the intersection for several years.

Pct. 4 County Commissioner Ray Whisenant says any comments or complaints can be directed toward his office.

The county is still in the design phase of the project and the roundabout is not expected to be built until around 2020.

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