By Brittany Anderson
A few more roundabouts are being planned for Kyle in an effort to ease traffic and prevent accidents.
In a 6-0 vote, Kyle City Council approved two additional road projects on Nov. 1, one of which will likely include the construction of four roundabouts at various intersections in east Kyle.
City Engineer Leon Barba presented council with the two projects, consisting of the extension of Seton Parkway north to connect to Kohlers Crossing, and the extension of Lehman Road north and then west connecting Dacy Lane at the intersection of Seton Parkway.
Roundabouts are being considered in intersections at Dacy Lane, Kyle Parkway, Lehman Road and Bunton Creek Road as part of the Lehman Road extension project.
Map of the Lehman Road extension project. The red circles indicate intended roundabouts. Photo via City of Kyle Engineering Department.
Council member Michael Tobias expressed his already-present concerns with these intersections and the prospect of adding roundabouts, noting that he had witnessed an accident in the Kyle Parkway and Dacy Lane intersection that day. He also cited a recent crash on Lehman and FM 150.
“When people come down that hill, probably at a high rate of speed, there’s nothing stopping them,” Tobias said. “[At least] they’d know there’s going to be a traffic light there. It’s a continuous flow [of cars]. If you don’t have any barriers to stop the traffic and people are trying to get out of some of these areas, these cars are like russian roulette, trying to pull out as fast as they can.”
City manager Scott Sellers said that while both a traffic light or roundabout will be considered, a roundabout is likely to be recommended. A roundabout would naturally slow traffic down and prevent vehicles from trying to “beat the light” by speeding through the intersection as they come down the hill.
“We asked the transportation master plan engineer to look at locations where roundabouts made sense over traffic signals,” Sellers said. “Where there are hills, it does make sense. With these roundabouts, by forcing vehicles to the right, you significantly mitigate the severity of an accident.”
Barba told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch that while the intersections are not ‘set in stone,’ the city’s intent is to encourage the installation of roundabouts wherever they are feasible.
“We will be looking at each intersection individually to determine what type of improvement works best,” Barba said, adding that there are many advantages to having a roundabout instead of a traditional intersection with traffic signals.
While roundabouts have long been an intense topic for discussion across the county, council member Robert Rizo said that he believes most citizens know that the council and those who work on these projects have their best intentions at heart.
“When they look at it, what we’re trying to do up here is not cause a problem,” Rizo said. “We’re looking at saving lives. We’re looking at an intersection that’s dangerous, and now we’re looking to see what we can do as a city to mitigate some of those dangers in that roadway. This is about identifying problem areas, making sure people are safe and moving forward.”