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Utica Gets a New Roundabout at Rt. 5S and John Street

December 15, 2020

utica roundabout john street rt. 5S

Roundabout entrance from John Street, Utica, NY 12.15.20

The NYS Department of Transportation announced Utica’s newest roundabout. It opened Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at the intersection of Route 5S/Oriskany Street and John Street.

This is the city’s second roundabout. Remember the controversy over the one at Oneida Square? Lots of letters to the Utica OD railing against it. How could the city construct such an abomination?

As it turned out, the naysayers were wrong. For anyone who’s zipped through that roundabout, we’d say they’re pretty happy. It’s almost always a smooth, safe experience. So we’re optimistic that our new one will also satisfy motorist at 5S and John Street.

There is, however, a big difference: our new roundabout is two lanes. The Oneida Square roundabout that we’re used to is only one. We offered some safety tips in our post on the opening of that roundabout. But with this larger one now in service, let’s revisit some of those tips on navigating a roundabout. These are from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

How To Drive Through Utica’s Two Lane Roundabout

  • Know what exit you want to take before entering the roundabout.
  • The key to entering the circle is to always yield to the traffic coming at you from the left. This is what makes entry easier, you’re only looking to the left.
  • Always yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Now that you’re in the roundabout, remember that traffic entering now yields to you. That means you don’t want to slow down to let cars in. Keep moving until you reach your exit.
  • Once you’re in the roundabout, stay left as you travel around the circle. As you approach your exit, signal right. Be sure to check for cars that may be in the right lane. Be aware these may be in your blind spot, so be careful. Then change lanes right and exit.

There will be traffic signs and pavement markers to help you navigate the circle. And a shared use bicycle and pedestrian path around the perimeter. The circle will be enhanced with a raised island at the center with flowers. According to the OD, there will also be an Essential Workers sculpture. We look forward to an honor for our essential workers after the year our community has had!

So this roundabout will be a bit more complicated than the one at Oneida Square. But if you’ve traveled the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, you’ve encountered these larger roundabouts. We’re confident that once you’ve experienced this new one once or twice, you’ll be fine.

The roundabout is part of the NYS Department of Transportation Route 5S corridor improvement. The $18 million project should be completed by the spring.

We refer you to another article we published on our blog about the $66.5 million North-South Arterial Project. That included safety improvements such as a pedestrian bridge, restyled crossings, and ramp configurations. Court Street was also widened and traffic signals upgraded.

All of this has made Utica’s infrastructure safer and easier to navigate. Some good news in the face of what’s turned out to be a pretty tough year!

Until next time,
Your SZW Team

SZW Insurance is your Utica area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here. In Westchester County call Zak Scalzo at 914.246.0315 or email at zaks@szwinsurance.com.