The roundabout debate

Students familiar with Cedar Rapids, Marion and neighboring towns such as Mount Vernon are likely familiar with roundabouts. And, those who use the main entrance at Kirkwood Community College drive through one every time they come to campus.  

According to Wikipedia, “A roundabout, also known as a rotary or traffic circle, is a type of circular intersection or junction in which road traffic is permitted to flow in one direction around a central island, and priority is typically given to traffic already in the junction.” 

While the traffic in the roundabout at the main entrance of Kirkwood may not be too congested, the roundabout south of campus, near Prairie Point Middle School, sees backups nearly every day of the week.   

According to the City of Ceder Rapids’ website, the Kirkwood Boulevard roundabout, which was constructed in 2017, alleviated the chronic traffic backups that occurred daily during the morning and afternoon drop-off/pick-up times on the College Community School District campus. 

 Some motorists who wait in the traffic jam at this roundabout in the mornings disagree with the city’s report on the traffic. One driver who did not want to be identified said it was faster when the police controlled the intersection prior to the construction of the roundabout. 

Roundabouts can be confusing to young and older drivers alike. The Iowa DOT website offers the following guidelines. 

Yield to drivers circulating from the left. Look left for vehicles before reaching the yield line. 

If no vehicles are coming from the left and no pedestrians are in the crosswalk, there is no reason to stop. Once a driver is in the roundabout, they have the right of way and entering traffic must yield to them. 

While the traffic problems on Kirkwood Boulevard will likely not be alleviated anytime soon, students, faculty and staff should pack their patience when traveling on the roadway during certain times and the day and consider leaving earlier to account for wait times at the roundabout.

Categories: Feature