PULLMAN, WASH –
Construction wrapped up on Tuesday on the new traffic calming measures in the Sunnyside Hill neighborhood.
The city added the measures as a part of the $1.25 million Accelerated Streets 2022 project, with both circles costing $44,000, said Matt Young, city of Pullman communications coordinator.
The circles sit at the intersections of Center Street and Finch Way, and Center and Itani Drive.
Residents complained to the city about speeding cars in 2015 and 2016. The city commissioned a speed study to analyze whether drivers were speeding and what the best solutions were. Initially the city installed a radar sign to remind drivers to slow down.
“Eventually people got used to it and it stopped working to the degree that we needed it to,” Young said.
The city then turned to traffic circles. The circles work similarly to round-a-bouts, where drivers yield to drivers already in the circle. Both intersections with the circles have stop signs coming from
Young said this measure is better than speed bumps and speed tables, which are more difficult to navigate in the winter.
Sunnyside Hill resident Susan Hoard said she believes the circles are working to slow down cars. However, by the time they reach her home, closer to the Grand Avenue and Center Street intersection, they have sped up again.
“I can tell you, by the time they get here, and we can hear cars all night long, they’re just speeding by,” she said.
In the future, Hoard said she would like to see more measures, like the blinking crosswalk lights on the WSU campus.
Other residents are unhappy with the new circles.
Jin Liu and Shu Zhang, a couple who lives on Center Street, said they felt frustrated and disrespected by the way the city went about installing the circles.
The construction lasted an extra two weeks, several trees on the street side of the sidewalk in front of their home were moved, and the sidewalk itself was moved, they said.
The city is able to move the sidewalk because it is a right-of-way under municipal code 13.80.040(19).
Liu and Zhang said that while they received a flyer explaining that there will be construction, they were not informed how it would affect their home.
The city delivered a letter and flyer to homes in the impacted areas, notifying residents of construction, Young wrote in an email. They later sent another flyer, explaining how to drive through the traffic circles.
Young also wrote that members of the Public Works Department met with Liu and Zhang twice, which they confirmed, after they voiced their concerns to the city. The meetings were to provide an overview of what to expect from the project.
While there are no current plans for more traffic circles, they will be considered in future traffic calming measures, and possibly for the Downtown Pullman project.