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City plans to build roundabout at Rich Beem-Edgemere intersection

The City of El Paso plans to build a new roundabout at the busy intersection of Rich Beem and Edgemere.

A construction date for the $2,026,964 project has not been set. City officials said the roundabout will be equipped with a bicycle and pedestrian crosswalk, as well as landscaping.

The intersection, which experiences heavy congestion during the morning and afternoon rush hours, is a few blocks away from El Dorado High School.

“There’s like three schools here and the traffic in the mornings gets really bad,” said Russ Franco, who does not believe a roundabout will solve the problems at the intersection, which currently has a stop sign.

“They need to install lights. I don’t agree with roundabouts anywhere in the city because, for a lot of pople, it’s a bit foreign” said Franco.

The planned roundabout is also raising concerns over safety response times in the area. A firefighter ABC-7 spoke with said he believes roundabouts make it harder for emergency vehicles to get to where they need to go. The firefighter asked not to be identified.

“The fire trucks are a lot bigger than a normal car. They have to slow down, and sometimes, they have to stop to make the turn so it is difficult to maneuver around them,” the firefighter said.

Steve White, Policy Director at Velopaso, believes roundabouts could be effective when it comes to reducing traffic. White, however, believes the best way to reduce congestion is to simply reduce vehicle traffic in that area.

“We are causing extra congestion that we don’t need, “White said, “It’s causing a lot of air pollution and costing us a lot in infrastructure in our city budget to build new and maintain those roundabouts.”

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