Since the end of construction on the Binkley Street improvements, residents have been getting used to the new traffic patterns along Soldotna’s main roadway.
“The intersections that were transformed into mini roundabouts have almost no wait times and very little congestion,” said Soldotna police officer Tobin Brennan.
“The new intersections are doing their job.”
Drivers are still getting used to the new system, so minor mishaps are not uncommon at this point, Brennan said. Around six fender benders have been reported to the police department since construction began in May, he said.
The most common issues Soldotna police are seeing are drivers failing to slow down as they approach the intersection, Brennan said. Officers also notice people who don’t yield to traffic already in the roundabout or acknowledge pedestrians attempting to cross through the intersections, he said.
Once the police department began recording multiple instances of those issues, they started increasing traffic patrols along Binkley Street, Brennan said.
“We knew there would be a learning curve,” Brennan said. “It is to be expected when people are introduced to a whole new traffic pattern.”
Officers who notice drivers committing infractions have given out verbal warnings and tried to offer some information and instruction on how to properly pass through the roundabout, Brennan said.
Particularly at the Wilson Lane intersection, where the Safeway parking lot empties onto Binkley Street, drivers will come to a full stop at the roundabout’s entrance when the intersection has no vehicles moving through it, Brennan said. This backs up traffic and causes congestion outside of the intersection, which does create wait times, he said.
Brennan said the city has plans to install road signs that post the legal speed to be traveling through the roundabouts. He said the city will also erect “Slow” signs to encourage people to slow down as they approach and enter the intersections.
“You can’t travel through those roundabouts at 25 miles per hour,” Brennan said.
Eventually people will forget the intersections were four-way stops, Brennan said. Most people don’t remember that Binkley Street used to have four lanes, he said.
Brennan’s suggestions for drivers having trouble navigating the revised roadways are to slow down and remember to yield.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at email@example.com.