Payson's Roundabout Gets Its Close-Up

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The Town of Payson's roundabout got a compliment Thursday.

The Arizona Department of Transportation was in town Thursday to film the roundabout in front of Home Depot located next to the Beeline Highway from various angles, recording its impacts on traffic.

Other communities in the state are considering similar projects that will mirror the Payson roundabout, and ADOT representatives were in town to film the site and gather some additional input.

ADOT first drove around the roundabout various times, while operating a video camera that was attached to the roof of the vehicle. In the middle of the afternoon, ADOT hoisted one of its employees in a cherry picker, about 75 feet in the air so he could film the traffic on the roundabout from above.

Patricia Powers-Zermeño, who works in the communications department for ADOT, said Arizona communities have come to ADOT with questions about modern roundabouts as a way to help traffic move more smoothly.

She said the goal with Thursday's filming was to educate communities on how they work.

"It is designed to slow (drivers) down," Powers-Zermeño said. "Slow is not a bad thing."

ADOT believes the Payson roundabout has been and is still being well-received by the community of Payson.

"We will use the (taping) to help motorists understand how to use the roundabout," she said.

Initially, the taping will be used to help a project to be built in Mesa off of the Loop 202 at the intersection of Brown and McKellips.

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Steve Rideau, director of photography for ADOT, helps Nick Plaazo, a member of the swing team, with the harnesses before he hoisted into the sky through the use of a cherry picker to tape the roundabout from above.

A couple of draft designs were presented to residents, and the community liked this project over other options.

Powers-Zermeño said she is hopeful that the end product from Thursday's filming will be finished by the first of the year.

She said roundabouts are designed mostly for safety reasons while keeping traffic moving smoothly.

"Part of our job is to safely move products and people throughout the state," Powers-Zermeño said.

She said the Payson roundabout is not going to be a model for what will be done in Mesa, but will instead give the basics on how people will navigate through the project once it is finished.

Before construction can ever begin on a roundabout, a lot of analysis and data needs to be compiled.

"It's a new method of travel that has proven to be very successful," the ADOT spokeswoman said.

Alvin Stump, resident engineer for ADOT, said there are about a dozen roundabouts in the state with another two-dozen in the planning stages.

Powers-Zermeño said roundabouts are relatively new in the state. ADOT has been involved in roundabouts for five to six years.

She said the education portion of these projects is one of the keys since they are new to a lot of people.

"This (Payson) roundabout is a part of the education process on how they work, she said.

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