Thousands fewer cars navigate Apponaug following roundabouts

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) - New roundabouts in the Apponaug section of Warwick have drastically cut the number of cars driving through the historic village, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT).

RIDOT Administrator of Project Management, David Fish, said 25,000 cars used to travel through the area daily prior to the start of the $71 million Apponaug Circulator Project in 2014. While close to that same number travel the Veterans Memorial Drive section, RIDOT said the number of cars that take Post Road through the heart of the village has dropped to 6,800 a day.

The drastic drop in traffic, said Fish, was exactly what RIDOT hoped to achieve.

"It really should make the area a lot more conducive to pedestrian traffic, as well as getting rid of that psychological barrier of 25,000 vehicles in that one little section," he said. "Now it's down to 6,800, it will make [people] want to visit the historic center of the city."

RIDOT hopes the increased foot traffic in the area and less congestion on the roads will mean more business, despite having fewer cars driving by local stores and restaurants.

"It makes it more inviting for the people to come into this historic downtown area," Fish said.

RIDOT told Eyewitness News in February that accidents in the area have decreased since the new traffic pattern was introduced.

Fish believes drivers aren't avoiding the area, but are instead being dispersed in a new way.

"I think people are using it," Fish said of the circulator. "It's just a lot easier to get through the area."

RIDOT said they're still moving forward with new signage to make it easier for drivers to navigate the roundabouts. They hope to have those installed within the next few weeks.