The discussion of roundabouts, also known as traffic circles, has been discussed for many years at Lakeland City Hall and the topic was recently pursued by city engineer Emily Harrell as a viable option due to grant funding. The hope is to establish a system of roundabouts along several corridors throughout Lakeland.
Vice Mayor Wesley Wright, who has been a proponent of roundabouts for many years, says that other elected officials are also entertaining the idea. Roundabouts, which are more common in the northeastern United States and in Europe, are regarded by many as the safer option compared to the four-way stop sign, traffic light, or other conventional intersections. Proponents also say auto accidents are reduced when using roundabouts and maintenance is far less costly. Vice Mayor Wright said not only are they safer, but they also look better. “It gives an aesthetic appeal that lends this option (roundabouts) greater leverage,” he said.
The intersection of Seed Tick and Memphis-Arlington Road, which is currently a four way stop, has a roundabout in the design phase. Officials say there is also a proposal for another roundabout which would be located just north of that intersection at Seed Tick and Highway 70. Based on a suggestion from Lakeland Mayor Josh Roman, city officials are also looking into adding a roundabout at other locations, including one at Highway 70 and Adagio Lane as well as a new entrance for Lakeland Prep School which will also be located on Highway 70. No formal action has been taken on those additional roundabout locations, but a serious proactive discussion is taking place. Mr. Wright said the intersection with the highest priority is Seed Tick at Highway 70. However, that roundabout would require some financial help from the Lakeland Town Square developer which is located on the southwest corner of that intersection.