FLORENCE, S.C. – The city of Florence will soon have something it has never had: a traffic circle.
A one-lane traffic circle is planned to be placed at the intersection of N.B. Baroody Street and East Evans Street as part of a redesign of the intersection funded by tax increment funds from the city of Florence. The redesign will also include some on-street parking and beautification efforts.
N.B. Baroody was a Lebanese-American business and community leader in Florence.
City Manager Drew Griffin said the traffic circle would create a more continuous flow of traffic through the intersection to and from the McLeod hospitals nearby.
The intersection would also allow hospital workers easier access to downtown for lunch and dinner, which should increase the viability of the downtown market and create more growth in that area of Florence.
Currently, traffic flow through the intersection is awkward and made difficult because of the nature of the intersection as it is “off center” in the words of Griffin.
Tax increment funds arise from the downtown development district. When a business opens downtown, the tax revenue in the district increases in increments, and those tax revenues are used to fund infrastructure building in the redevelopment area including road paving, parks, and plazas like the planned Cultural Gardens Plaza that will feature a fountain.
Griffin said the project either was out to bid or was about to be out to bid. He added that the city had budgeted $450,000 in tax increment funds for the project.
Traffic circles, also called roundabouts, are circles of roadway placed at the intersection of two or more roads designed to allow continuous flow through the intersection as no stop signs or traffic signals are needed for traffic control. Instead, a driver yields then enters and exits the interchange.
The traffic circle is expected to be complete around the time of the opening of the Hilton downtown.