FISHERS, Ind. - People driving in Hamilton County have been tested for years by the exploding number of roundabouts, but they are now encountering a new type of intersection-- a roundabout with a traffic light practically on top of it.
The stated purpose of roundabouts is to speed traffic through intersections by eliminating red lights.
Fishers took out the red light at the intersection of Fall Creek and Brooks School Roads and replaced it with a roundabout.
But then officials installed a new red light only 200 feet to the west on Fall Creek for pedestrian use.
People here said it makes no sense.
"No, not really. I don't feel it does," one pedestrian said.
"If you put a roundabout in here, that keeps traffic flowing smoother,” said another pedestrian. “And then if you put in another light, that would, like, take away the point of the roundabout."
Fishers Engineering Director Jeff Hill said the light will be inactive 95 percent of the time.
Only when a pedestrian pushes the button to cross the street will it turn red.
Some wondered if that will defeat the purpose of a roundabout.
"Well, for a few moments, I suppose, it would cause vehicles to stop near the intersection,” Hill said. “But, all in all, the crossing maneuver is fairly short. And we see a lot of pedestrian activity here on weekends or in the evenings when traffic has lowered itself."
Hill said it would help pedestrians cross the street to shop.
But the owner of one of those businesses, Mama Bear's Cafe, said he expects a lot of rear-end accidents from drivers coming out of the roundabout expecting a clear path and running into red-light backups.
"We have a lot of people running and riding,” Tim Toby said. “And they'll probably push that button. And then all the traffic will back up. And somebody's probably gonna get rear-ended."
"Well, I suppose something like that is always a possibility. We hope that folks are alert and attentive, whether it's at a roundabout intersection, a stop intersection, a signalized intersection," Hill said.
The cost of the new roundabout is about $700,000.
It's all part of a $1.1 million project that includes an extensive repaving of Fall Creek.
Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6