Traffic circles improving safety in Cathedral neighborhood

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 5:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - One of many realities of an ever-growing city like Sioux Falls is the construction of traffic roundabouts at major intersections and smaller versions called traffic circles at smaller crossroads.

Back in April, before a traffic circle a couple blocks from downtown Sioux Falls was originally drawn in paint, traffic in the Cathedral Historic District was particularly dangerous.

“We did have a stop sign on Duluth here, but the traffic would just blow through the stop sign. And, so, we saw accidents regularly,” said resident Bob Tryzynka.

“We have children. We have people that love to walk their pets. We have people that love to take walks,” said resident Lura Roti.

Drivers used 9th St. as a shortcut to avoid 10th St., a busy main road.

”Working with the neighborhood, they wanted to slow down traffic in the area,” said Heath Hoftiezer, city principal traffic engineer.

So, in April, the city set up a temporary traffic circle at 9th and Duluth, and another two blocks away at 9th and Prairie, and waited for feedback from residents.

“You know, there’s some negative feedback, but it was overwhelmingly positive,” said Hoftiezer.

“I think the circles have been very effective. It’s really slowed down traffic. It’s caused, I think, fewer accidents. We haven’t noticed one since they moved in,” said Tryzynka.

“Less people cutting through the neighborhood, and using the other streets such as 10th instead,” said Hoftiezer.

After four months, crews came back last month to make, literally, a more concrete structure.

“What we had, like that, wouldn’t hold up during the winter. It’d basically revert back to a regular intersection during the winter,” said Hoftiezer.

The next step — smoothing the edge of the outer circle with asphalt to make a ramp, so bigger vehicles can drive up on it, while keeping smaller cars from zipping through.

“You can drive over it, but if you drive over it at a high rate of speed, you’re probably not going to drive over it at a high rate of speed a second time,” said Hoftiezer.

The city will flip that bill, while the neighborhood association will pay for the planting of flowers to beautify both circles.

“It shows a really great interest and opportunity for the city to invest into a neighborhood where other people are investing into,” said Tryzynka.

There are three traffic circles including two on 9th St.

There are a total of seven roundabouts in Sioux Falls.

Harrisburg is currently building a roundabout at Willow and Cliff, and Sioux Falls will be building one at 95th and Western next year.