Traffic roundabout
The traffic roundabout at Florida and Morely Field drives in San Diego. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

San Diego plans to build 35 new roundabouts by 2035, but the city is already behind on its short-term traffic construction goals it set several years ago.

Roundabouts and traffic circles are generally an intersection where traffic travels in a counter-clockwise direction, usually around a landscaped island. According to the county’s definitions, the difference between the two is that a modern roundabout is a circular intersection on a higher-speed, non-residential street, while traffic circles are smaller and usually installed in two-lane streets.

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These installations are popping up all throughout the United States. 

Many studies have shown that roundabouts and traffic circles help reduce vehicle speeds, prevent traffic collisions and help reduce emissions by minimizing fuel usage. Plus, if a roundabout is replacing traditional traffic light signals, it can also save a city money because there wouldn’t be a need to pay for electrical maintenance of lights.

But despite the goals transportation officials have set for San Diego, only five roundabouts have been constructed since 2015. The city first set out to build 15 roundabouts by 2020 in its Climate Action Plan. The city now aims to build 20 more roundabouts by 2035, bringing the total to 35 roundabouts throughout the city.

However, the city and the San Diego Association of Governments have installed more than a dozen neighborhood traffic circles since 2015.

“We set ambitious goals in the Climate Action Plan and continue to work to implement and achieve them,” city spokesperson Anthony Santacroce said in an email. 

Among the most recent, he said three roundabouts were completed this year at Landis Street and Central Avenue; West Point Loma and Bacon Street; and Morley Field and Florida drives.

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