City leaders in Marion, Ia., installed two billboards last week just off Highway 151 with the purpose to help educate drivers navigate roundabouts as they head into town.
Amber Bisinger, communications coordinator with the City of Marion, said the town has five roundabouts now, but the two new roundabouts located at Seventh and 26th streets have been giving drivers trouble.
"The billboard is just another tool that we are using to help educate those unfamiliar with this type of intersection," Bisinger wrote on Wednesday in an email to the Register. "It reminds people to slow down, yield to the circulating traffic and not change lanes within the roundabout."
The billboards read: “ROUNDABOUTS AHEAD,” “SLOW DOWN,” “STAY IN YOUR LANE,” and “YIELD TO THE LEFT.” Despite the towering instructional guide, some locals admitted they haven't paid attention.
"I've seen it, but really I've only saw it one time and I've come every day that way," Danielle Tiegen told eastern Iowa TV station KCRG. "So I'm not noticing it, I don't know who else has noticed it."
KCRG also spoke with Rebecca Spilger, who has driven the roundabouts. She said she thinks the billboard won't steer drivers the right way.
“I don't think people notice billboards anymore," she told KCRG. "I think that's kinda old-fashioned."
APP USERS: Click here to see an instructional roundabout graphic
KCRG reported that city officials said roundabouts are safer than an intersection with stop lights.The Marion Police Department reported seven crashes in 10 months last year before the new roundabouts opened, and there have been four crashes in nearly five months since.
Almost an equal pace, police said the roundabout crashes have been less severe.
"There's only been one that's been a side swipe or a T-bone accident where it involved two cars," Sgt. Mike Rozek told KCRG. "The other three were single vehicle either they lost control or hit a sign."
Last year, another Iowa city attempted to teach its locals about navigating roundabouts. City leaders in Cedar Falls hosted a "How to Drive in a Roundabout" class in June. It drew criticism on social media leading up to the event, with comments ranging from "LOL" to "Really?" to "It's sad that this is necessary."
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