San Diego has fallen behind on building roundabouts. Find out where officials are planning more.

CITY OF SAN DIEGO — Although San Diego has established a long-term objective of constructing 35 additional roundabouts by 2035, it is already falling behind on its more immediate traffic building goals set many years ago.

At a roundabout or traffic circle, vehicles move counterclockwise around a manicured island. The county distinguishes between the two by saying that a roundabout is a circular intersection on a high-speed, non-residential street, whereas traffic circles are often smaller and installed in two-lane streets.

These installations can be seen in every state in the USA.

Roundabouts and traffic circles have been proved to be effective in reducing vehicle speeds, preventing traffic collisions, and cutting down on pollution by limiting fuel use. In addition, if a roundabout is installed in place of conventional traffic lights, the city will save money on electricity maintenance costs.

Despite San Diego’s transportation officials’ best intentions, only five roundabouts have been built since 2015. The initial goal of the city’s Climate Action Plan was to construct 15 roundabouts by the year 2020. By 2035, municipal planners hope to have built a total of 35 roundabouts across the city.

However, since 2015, the city of San Diego and the San Diego Association of Governments have erected over a dozen traffic circles in residential areas throughout the city.

City spokesman Anthony Santacroce wrote in an email, “We established aggressive targets in the Climate Action Plan and continue to work to implement and accomplish them.”

He mentioned three new roundabouts that were finished this year at the intersections of Landis Street and Central Avenue, West Point Loma and Bacon Street, and Morley Field and Florida drives.

Santacroce noted that the city’s plans for roundabouts have been slowed by a lack of resources and the “capacity to create,” which includes things like labor and scheduling. Additionally, “quick build” roundabouts are feasible, with an installation time of days to months.

Mission Bay Park and City Heights are just two of the neighborhoods that will soon have brand new roundabouts constructed. The intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Loring Street in Pacific Beach is slated to get a roundabout in the near future.

Though some locals may feel otherwise, Caltrans reports that national studies show roundabouts reduce crashes overall by 37% and fatal fatalities by 90%.

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