SALEM (CBS) – An overnight change from a four-way intersection to a mini rotary is being tested in Salem. If it works, a permanent change is in the cards. But first, drivers and pedestrians have to get used to it.
“It’s a very dangerous intersection, and also, it’s very high traffic area right here,” one driver said.
The traffic experiment is at the busy intersection of Summer, Norman and Chestnut Streets in Salem, a place the city says has a lot of crashes and isn’t safe enough for pedestrians.
So, a two month experiment is underway. The city has turned the intersection into a roundabout, mostly due to a painted circle, new signs and white posts funneling traffic. The idea is to slow the traffic down and make the area safer.
“I really like it, I think it’s better for cars to get from A to B, I think it’s a lot safer than what was there before,” one man said.
Others find the rotary confusing and unworkable.
“If anything, they screwed it up,” another man said.
“If it still says ‘red’ on here,” a driver said holding up his GPS, “it’s probably not working.”
Tuesday was only the second day of the experiment and city officials say they’ll monitor traffic and accidents and if it doesn’t go well, they’ll look for another solution.
This one cost only $25,000, a lot cheaper than traffic signals or a re-build. But it could be a tough sell.
“Insane,” one woman said. “And they should cut it now.”
Since no intersection stands alone, the city is also upgrading some of the traffic lights on connecting streets so vehicles will move more smoothly in and out of the area.