Lancaster has completed its first traffic roundabout at Avenue L and Challenger Way. A roundabout is a common traffic-easing technique designed, in the short term, to reduce speeds and collisions through intersections while increasing traffic flow efficiency and, in the long term, reducing street maintenance costs.

The new street design is part of the city’s larger vision to improve the safety and efficiency of local roads.

“The safety of the Lancaster community is the City Council’s top priority,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The introduction of traffic calming mechanisms throughout the city, such as this roundabout, represents one of the first steps on our path toward the improved safety and infrastructure of our entire road network.”

By requiring drivers to slow down rather than stop while crossing an intersection, roundabouts may slow traffic but can significantly reduce congestion and, hopefully, reduce collisions. Roundabouts are widely recognized as more efficient means of traffic management, because they can handle more traffic in the same amount of time as a signaled intersection. And it’s reportedly a good idea for Avenue L and Challenger Way because city officials believe it will more efficiently manage both the influx of cars going toward the popular Lancaster National Soccer Center during tournament weekends, as well as the low traffic flow during other times. The roundabout will reportedly reduce initial installation costs and projected long-term maintenance (as opposed to a traditional signaled intersection) since more than half of the construction cost has been covered by a federal Highway Safety Improvement Program grant.

“Lancaster’s generally wide, flat, traffic-free roads give people a false sense of safety at dangerously high speeds,” said Lancaster Councilman Ken Mann. “Roundabouts keep drivers moving safely and efficiently toward their destination.”

A monument to the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster is expected to be placed at the site in April.

To learn more about roundabouts, visit www.ABetterRoadAhead.com.