City of Raleigh Distributes Hillsborough Street Roundabouts Tip Brochure

City of Raleigh Distributes Hillsborough Street Roundabouts Tip Brochure

July, 15, 2010, by Jedidiah

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The roundabouts are done, although drivers are still trying to figure out how to use them (Rule 1: If you are in the roundabout, GO! If not, YIELD!) and the City of Raleigh has issued a few rules and a pamphlet on how to use them.

Rule 2: Do not read pamphlet, whilst driving through the roundabout.

Download the full Roundabout Tips Pamphet here.

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Hillsborough Street


  • Dan from Detroit
    07/15 12:03 PM

    This will be useful to the two people that almost obliterated my yesterday.  One on Hillsborough and one on Oberlin - both failing to yield. Americans are too lazy to deal with roundabouts.  Their too hard to navigate when talking on your cell phone, drinking a soy latte and getting your crotchfruit to soccer practice.

  • Dan from Detroit
    07/15 12:10 PM


    /Americans are also not good at proofreading their rants

  • CtrlBurn
    07/15 12:21 PM

    I really like the roundabouts, but people really don’t know how the yielding works.  Maybe in a few years everyone will get the hang of it.

  • T-Plain
    07/15 12:29 PM

    Yeah, people who are already on Hboro seem to not be yielding so much. Maybe some of those cheap screw-down speed bumps in the lanes approaching the roundabout would help.

    Once the City has taken another 12 years to study the idea, of course.

  • Adrian Hands
    07/15 12:40 PM

    City of Raleigh: “Vehicles (including bicycles) inside the roundabout — and pedestrians — always have the right of way.”

  • Manuel
    07/15 12:58 PM

    How hard can it be for people to use a roundabout? You’d think it wouldn’t be, but people always find ways to show their true lack of interest for learning anything.  Ha!

  • Micah
    07/15 01:55 PM

    The interim one-lane roundabout was working OK, with only about one accident a week.  I think, while it looks like it would work great on paper, that they final dual-lane iteration is a mistake.  My hunch is that they will re-stripe it back to one lane eventually.

  • Randall
    07/15 03:16 PM

    There are a lot of painfully stupid people out there, most of whom have no business operating a motor vehicle. This is not going to end well.

  • john b
    07/15 04:30 PM

    The poor placement and confusing use of the circle at the bell tower is evidenced by the reintroduction of the light at Oberlin.  There is too much going on!- fencing, high brick walls, and those STUPID heiroglyphic arrows.  They should have made a 4way traffic light….period.  Greenery would have been nice, too along Hillsborough. Thank you.

  • EE Welch
    07/15 05:10 PM

    If I’ve already yielded and I still have enough time to pull out into the roundabout in front of you, I’m gonna do it.

    Please don’t freak out and honk at me because you don’t think I’m not yielding. It’s just that the opening was in front of you instead of behind you…Just relax, drive defensively and break if you need to.

  • Peter_K
    07/15 07:19 PM

    I live in Cameron Village, and I use Hillsborough Street extensively.

    I think the roundabouts are a good thing. Hear me out:

    When traffic is bad (8 AM, Noon, 5 PM), traffic will be bad regardless of whether there are lights or roundabouts handling traffic.

    When traffic is light, then roundabouts are more efficient. When I’m going from my house to Mission Valley on a Saturday morning, it is a breeze to navigate the roundabout at the PR, on Hillsborough, and on state’s campus. Why have me wait at a 4-way stop light when no one else is on the road?

    As for the roundabout at Morgan, I think that one is great, too. The dogleg turn to stay on Hillsborough was a pain.

    Educating people how to use the roundabout is a good thing. After all, no one was born learning how to drive or to operate a fixed gear bike. So, give it time.

  • MJones
    07/15 11:27 PM

    The circle is an awesome idea in theory, and at low-traffic times of day, it is fantastic not having to wait for five minutes at a stupid traffic light.
    But after watching a near-accident yesterday evening after a pickup truck sailing down Oberlin/Pullen failed to yield to a car that was already in the circle, I have serious doubts about people catching on—especially after they officially open the two-lane configuration.
    I predict one of two things happen within the year: 1) like Micah commented, they nix the idea of double lanes leading into the circle and just reduce the flow of traffic to one lane in/out of the circle, like the roundabout at Morgan, or 2) if they’re hell bent on keeping it two lanes, the city puts up traffic signals at the circle, controlling the flow of traffic into the roundabout as well as when pedestrians can cross (kind of like Dupont Circle in DC, only on a much smaller scale).

  • ct
    07/16 12:34 AM

    Like the conversion of Fayetteville Street to Fayetteville Street Mall, the clock begins ticking on these roundabouts on the day their construction is complete. It’s only a question of time until they’re rebuilt as conventional intersections. My guess is 20 years.

  • ncmyk
    07/16 11:04 AM

    i agree with micah - this roundabout is sized appropriately for 1 lane, not two.

    take care on the oberlin roundabout - i have yet to see 1 single car yeild when coming from the p.r. area.

  • bc
    07/16 12:27 PM

    Yeah, it’s called a ROTARY anyway. Wait until they build some two-lane jobbers like up north. Then you’ll really have something to bitch about.

  • University park resident
    07/16 12:50 PM

    agree with @Randall… you can’t fix stupid

  • corey3rd
    07/16 02:32 PM

    so much for me ever wanting to go near Hillsborough Street again. I get enough near death experiences driving past North Hills

  • Ashe
    07/16 05:57 PM

    I don’t know why everyone is hating on the roundabouts. I go through that area several times a week and I enjoy the roundabouts. I think they’re sort of fun. Also, they are much more efficient than having a bunch of poorly timed stop lights grouped closely together. I’ll admit, we need to teach a few people what the hell YIELD means, but overall I think most of you are blowing this way out of proportion. Once you go through the roundabouts two or three times it becomes like second nature.

    And the streets graphics aren’t “hieroglyphics” as some have suggested. The graphics show EXACTLY what is expected of drivers in each of the lanes going into and out of the main circle. I don’t need to see a stupid brochure to figure it out since I can look on the roadway and figure out which lane I need to be in to go where I’m going. If anything, I might recommend adding additional graphics further away from the actual intersection so that people don’t feel surprised when they get there. But, if you are actually paying attention to what you are doing, rather than screwing around with your cell phones (which is freaking illegal!), you should do fine.

    The whole point of the roundabouts is to be a traffic calming solution for Hillsborough Street to make it more pedestrian/bicycle friendly. In that regard, we’ll see how it works out over time.

  • ct
    07/16 06:28 PM

    The problem is, a driver must take his/her eyes off the road (and especially off the car just ahead) to read the graphics. This will lead to rear-end accidents, in addition to problems with cars not yielding as they enter the roundabout.

    Has there ever been a question about roundabouts on the NCDMV drivers exam? I don’t think so. Oh joy. You know, not everybody who drives on Hillsborough is a Raleigh resident.

    As for traffic calming on Hillsborough, perhaps that’s a worthy goal—but the traffic just gets worse on Western, Wade, and Clark when cars and trucks shift to those streets from Hillsborough.

  • Hillsbilly St. resident
    07/17 12:09 AM

    Growing pains. It’s all going to work out, dudes. Chill.

  • TH
    07/17 12:29 AM

    These roundabouts, or rotaries, will put more emphasis on just how stupid people are behind the wheel.  I’m amazed daily by what I see out there.

  • Ashe
    07/17 03:50 AM

    CT: “The problem is, a driver must take his/her eyes off the road (and especially off the car just ahead) to read the graphics. This will lead to rear-end accidents, in addition to problems with cars not yielding as they enter the roundabout.”

    I’m not sure I follow your rationale here, since the graphics are actually painted on the road surface itself. The graphics are located in the same place on the road as every turn arrow I’ve ever seen at an intersection since I began driving. Do all of these on-street graphics cause rear-end collisions at every intersection? It’s very simple: If you want to go straight through the intersection then stay on the outside (outer) ring, and if you want to turn in any direction get into the inside (inner) ring. Also, if you’re in the circle you have right of way, if you aren’t in the circle then you need to yield. I just summed up the brochure in two sentences.

  • DPK
    07/17 04:08 AM

    I don’t understand what’s so difficult about all this.  There’s a ton of signage.  You have to be damn near blind to screw up driving through the roundabout.

    Also @ct, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.  They painted arrows on the road surface that visually indicate how the lane you are in flows around the circle.

  • Micah
    07/17 01:50 PM

    You guys may think this is being a little nit-picky, but these roundabouts are certainly not anything like rotaries.  Rotaries are generally very large so they can operate at higer speeds, and in a lot of them if you are in the circle YOU yield to incoming traffic.  Rotaries are more like traffic circles, and neither are roundabouts.

  • Behki
    07/17 02:13 PM

    Maybe WRAL should have a segment every day on how to use the roundabout, complete with cartoon drawings. Then, maybe, people will figure out how to use it.

    But people are dumbasses on the road regardless. The other day someone almost hit me as they ran a red light on Hillsborough st. Thank goodness I pay attention when I drive (what a concept!!), so I stopped and watch them fly by me not even noticing that the light was red. Of course, they were on their cellphone.

    Ironically enough, I was only taking Woodburn to go to Cameron Village because I didn’t want to risk almost getting in accident in the roundabout.

  • ct
    07/17 02:34 PM

    Hey, we could install a Magic Roundabout somewhere in the Triangle. See

    I haven’t driven through it. However, I have successfully navigated the hairy roundabout at Junction 8/9 on the M4 heading west from London. Try that in the morning rush hour after just stumbling off an overnight flight into Heathrow.

  • Deb
    07/17 09:09 PM

    Maybe all the mental giants who can’t seem to comprehend the basic of concept of yielding and navigating a roundabout (NOT a rotary or traffic circle - different beasts) or reading traffic arrows painted on the road itself will just avoid the area altogether. That alone should calm the traffic.

  • ncmyk
    07/18 06:05 PM

    Maybe WRAL should have a segment every day on how to use the roundabout, complete with cartoon drawings. Then, maybe, people will figure out how to use it. Behki

    stay tuned for next week’s installment of New Raleigh’s “Hobo in the Roundabout”

  • Lx
    07/19 11:07 AM

    Americans sent a man to the moon in 1969, yet they cannot negotiate or comprehend a roundabout.  So sweet.

  • arthurb3
    07/19 11:13 AM

    The biggest problem is that drivers will not slow down! Everyone drive like 55 on Hillsborough Street!

  • ct
    07/19 11:15 AM

    I worked in the space program. Let’s be clear: a very few Americans stepped on the moon, enabled by the work of a relatively small number of scientists and engineers and technicians, paid for by all Americans. That’s a more accurate way of looking at it.

  • Lx
    07/19 11:17 AM

    I guess the concept of hyperbole/satire is lost on you.  In any case, I hope you get my point.

  • ct
    07/19 11:19 AM

    I do. And I hope you recognize that the bell curve (a/k/a/ Gaussian distribution) has two ends, inevitably.

  • Lx
    07/19 11:22 AM

    Absolutely, but as well: a very large bell.

  • Richard Slater
    07/19 01:42 PM

    I think those roundabouts work great. Some people are not used to them but, just like everywhere else they were introduced as something brand new, it just takes time. I am from Ireland and when they first introduced roundabouts (many years ago) people were also confused at first.
    Fast forward a few months from now and they will be second nature to most people.

  • C
    07/19 02:24 PM

    Thank you for the bit of sanity, Richard.  Some of these posters would have you believe that all Americans are mouth breathing, minivan driving, cell phone yakking idiots.  In contrast, all European drivers navigate expertly through any roundabout while sipping espresso with their pinkies extended.

  • arthurb3
    07/20 10:52 AM

    The biggest problem is that people need to slow down. They shouldn’t be driving 60 through them!

  • pharmacy tech
    08/01 02:03 PM

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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