Carmel celebrates 100th roundabout

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CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – 19 years in the making, a milestone was celebrated in Carmel on Thursday.

On Thursday, the city opened its newest roundabout at Rangeline Road and Carmel Drive. This is the 100th roundabout in the city of Carmel.

“This is exciting,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said. “It’s a great milestone for the city of Carmel.”

To celebrate, the city threw a party. More than 100 people were treated to food, prizes and fireworks.

But not all roundabouts received this fanfare, especially the first one.

“In 1997, I was teaching music choir at Carmel Middle School, and enjoying it,” Carmel resident Karen King said.

“I remember that used to be an old farm house right, but there were no other houses,” King said. An area now filled with this unique traffic feature.

It’s where the city built its first roundabout two decades ago. “I didn’t have much thoughts about it because I didn’t know much about roundabouts,” King said.

Throughout the next 19 years the city added roundabouts across the city. King got used to them, but not everybody has.

“Just the other day, for first time I saw somebody stop on a roundabout, and I thought, no,” King said. “You just have to be careful and watch.”

It’s a growing pain the city said was worth it. Studies show the roundabouts have reduced accidents with injuries by 80 percent, and accidents overall at those sites have fallen by 40 percent.

That’s a big reason why the city is adding more. A concept that would surprise some 19 years ago, but they’ve come to embrace the title as roundabout capital.

“It’s going to be a milestone,” King said. “I will say that, and it’s been many miles to get here.”

There’s no slowing down. Over the next two years, Carmel will add 28 roundabouts.

As for reaching the 200 mark, don’t count on it. The city only has about 130 intersections.