The roundabout in Downtown Utica regular commuters have witnessed being constructed over the last few years is finally ready to be opened. It will make travel in the area of 5S/Oriskany Street and John Street flow quickly and easily.

The infrastructure project, one of many prompted by the growth downtown, is slated to open on Tuesday, December 15th. With the opening of the new traffic pattern the New York State Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use caution and pay close attention as they utilize the roundabout for the first time.

This new multi-lane traffic circle is 170 feet in diameter. In the middle stands a raised center island, which will feature beautiful landscaping and will eventually be home to the "Essential Workers" sculpture. The roundabout isn't just for vehicles. It includes bike and pedestrian paths around the perimeter that are clearly marked. The State DOT says, "Bicyclists are permitted to ride within the roundabout and should follow the flow of traffic, riding in the middle of the lane to prevent being passed or cut off.  Hand turning signals should be used." All bicyclists are encouraged to use every safety measure possible and avoid interfering with traffic or pedestrian traffic.

The NYSOT also offered a list of tips for those who may be new to or novices when it comes to navigating this traffic circle.

  • Watch traffic signs and pavement markings to determine the correct lane to be in before entering the roundabout. Once inside the roundabout do not change lanes.
  • Use the left lane to make left turns and use the right lane to make right turns. Follow signs and markings to determine which lane(s) go straight.
  • Traffic in the roundabout has the right-of-way.
  • Vehicles wishing to enter should yield at the yield line and look for oncoming traffic on their left.
  • Enter the roundabout when there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic flow.
  • Always yield to pedestrians and keep crosswalks clear.
  • Cars and trucks should yield to bicycle traffic and not pass them.
  • As you approach your exit, activate your right turn signal.

Work will continue to be done on the project and the surrounding areas for the foreseeable future, so everyone is encouraged to slow down in work zones and keep the men and women working there safe.

The completion of this roundabout will be one more notch in the belt of success and growth here in the Mohawk Valley, but specifically in downtown Utica.

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