Neptune Beach intersection could become roundabout

City requests traffic study on 5-point stoplight at Penman Road, Florida Blvd.

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – Growing pains are affecting a busy intersection in Neptune Beach.

With change comes a lot of opinions that are putting the city at a crossroad.

Neptune Beach is looking into turning the five-point stoplight at Penman Road and Florida Boulevard into a roundabout.

The five-point intersection linking Penman Road with Florida Boulevard and Forest Avenue has built up quite a reputation with locals.

Neptune Beach resident Rick Sauls said the intersection is frustrating. 

"If you're coming from the south end, going north, all times of day that traffic light -- you might have to wait three times to go left down to Florida Boulevard," Sauls told News4Jax on Friday. "It backs up pretty good."

During the school year, many of the people coming or going from Fletcher High School, Beaches Chapel School or Neptune Beach Elementary School are all approaching the intersection about the same time. Then, add the commuters.

That's why the city asked for, and will get, a county traffic study to look at ways to improve traffic flow, which may include converting the intersection to a roundabout.

"I think a roundabout is a good way to go if they would educate the public on how to use them," Neptune Beach visitor Rodney Huebner said.

Richard Lewis, who drives through the intersection regularly, approves of the idea, and said he doesn't think it would be too confusing. 

"That's probably a better idea, actually, to keep the traffic flowing," Lewis said.

News4Jax learned that one of the biggest concerns is not for drivers, but for the children going to and from school who use the crosswalks.

Anne Rosario's son and niece aren't old enough to attend school yet, but she loads the children in a wagon to head to the park almost every day.

"It's pretty scary (with) two kids, too," Rosario said.

The roundabout idea has generated a lot of buzz, but Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown said that a final decision won't come until the traffic study, which will cost about $50,000, is complete.

"They're looking at doing it as quickly as possible, and I think that the county's already making those plans and will let us know," Brown said. "But they wanted to get it done as quickly as possible, and so do we."

The study may suggest a dramatic change, such as the roundabout, or just tweaking some lights.

The mayor said the public should know the results of the study in a couple of months.

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