Bryan building two new roundabouts on Palasota Drive

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - A big project is coming to Palasota Drive that will change how some students walk to and from school.

Bryan's latest capital improvement project includes two new roundabouts on Palasota Drive.

Students coming and going from Jones Elementary School in Bryan will see big changes on Palasota Drive where thousands of vehicles travel daily.

The city will soon build a roundabout one block away at Beck Street and Palasota Drive as well as Groesbeck Street and Palasota Drive on the other end of Henderson Park.

"I understand the city wants to, is very concerned about the flow of traffic," said Roy Flores of Bryan.

"Problem is you're going to have children going to and from school having to dodge cars because there is no safe light on Palasota and so I would like to see a street light on Palasota and Beck for safety reasons," Flores said.

Flores wants to city to reconsider their plan. He voiced his concerns to the city council this week.

"So the children do need a safe place to cross the street and a light would serve that purpose," Flores added.

But city engineers say roundabouts will bring safety improvements and traffic consultants said it was the best option. Besides slowing down traffic to 20 miles-an-hour, city engineers say they reduce potential points of contact between people and vehicles.

"When you cross each leg of the roadway you're really just looking at one direction at the traffic coming at you and then you have a refuge island and then you change and look at the other direction and make that final leg crossing the road. So pedestrian safety is usually considered enhanced at roundabouts," explained Paul Kaspar, Bryan City Engineer.

Kaspar said the roundabout on College Main Street north of Northgate is similar to the new roundabout plans.

"Trying to look out for not just the kids' safety but everybody who's using the roadway and using it in pedestrian mode," said Kaspar.

"Citizen input is very important, in my opinion," said Flores.

Right now, Bryan Police have crossing guards at Pecan Street and Palasota Drive right by the school.

City staff hope their won't be a need for them at the new nearby roundabout.

That project is expected to cost $4.9 million.

Work should start this summer and take 18 months to a year to complete.

Kaspar said traffic counts at Beck and Palasota average 3,737 to 5,288 vehicles per day.

At the intersection of Groesbeck Street and Palasota Drive they average 3,696 to 5,463 vehicles per day.