Letters to the Editor

Road rationale

February 18, 2007


To the editor:

I have made no secret of my feelings concerning roundabouts in the past. I guess you could say I finally made my peace with them at this point. At least I know how to deal with them. You put your foot on the gas and you ram your way through them, disregarding any courtesy you might have felt. You are No. 1, and forget about everyone else trying to get through that intersection. After all, we are reminded by the youngins that us old fuddy-duddies who object to them are against progress.

I have said many times before: I do not object to these things in principle. I object when we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on them when our streets are falling apart and potholes are becoming so big my car could be lost in them.

You who love them can make fun of me all you want. I may be old, but I am not a fuddy-duddy. Before you make that accusation, get to know me. No one who really knows me can say that.

Kathy Schott Gates,



Debbie Guy Spreer 11 years, 4 months ago

AMEN, Sister! I agree with you! I HATE those round-abouts and I can't believe, either, that the city is paying out so much money for those darn things and letting other streets "go to pot!" I'm surprised city busses, fire trucks, etc., don't complain more about them. 90% of the people I talk to hate them. I'm afraid it's going to take a bad accident for the city to wake up and start removing them.

There! I got that off my chest.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 4 months ago

I think they should make bigger roundabouts. Like one for 6th and Iowa. Another @ 23rd and Iowa. Can't you picture it now~~~? Oh and don't forget about the north end of downtown...BIG roundabout there. That way city hall folk could get their kicks watching the knuckleheads crashing and careening around the thing. Seriously though, good stuff.

Honestly, all you have to do is be willing to allow someone to hit you to prove that you are right. When it is "legally" your turnto go, you go no matter what. That'll learn 'em.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

I bet you both are really befuddled by can openers, too.

justsomewench 11 years, 4 months ago

look at the bright side: once all the streets can only be navigated by "T"-sized vehicles, the program might actually start to turn a profit.

redneckwoman 11 years, 4 months ago

I was wondering if the fire trucks or ambulances can fit in those stupid things too?

JayCat_67 11 years, 4 months ago

No they can't. They "bounce" the curb and keep going straight on through. Those itty bitty ones down south of campus are a real issue. I drive a little van-sized bus and have to cut through the wrong way on those all the time. I really don't have a problem with the real roundabouts though, just the idiots that don't know the rules for navigating them, ie. four cars blowing into one in quick succession so someone waiting from a different direction can't proceed. As far as building them while other roads deteriorate, that's just stupid. But, having moved back from MO 4 years ago, Lawrence's roads still seem pretty good to me. BTW did anyone see that thing they are doing with photos of pot holes? I guess if you get creative you can submit a photo and get it in the paper. I was thinking of a pothole filled with water and photoshopping in the Loch Ness Monster. But, alas I have no Photoshop :-( Like to see someone do it though.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

"just the idiots that don't know the rules for navigating them, ie. four cars blowing into one in quick succession so someone waiting from a different direction can't proceed."

Sorry to tell you, but as long as the "idiots" aren't speeding, that's exactly how they are supposed to work. You're trying to inject 4-way stop rules into roundabouts, which defeats the whole purpose.

There are only two basic rules at work in a roundabout-- you yield to anyone to your left as you are entering (even if that means waiting for a line of cars) and the 15 mph max. speed limit. As long as people follow those two rules, roundabouts regulate themselves quite remarkably.

Occasionally you'll have to wait on a few cars to enter the intersection, but the line of cars coming from that direction will eventually have to yield to somebody to their left, creating an opening for you.

Yes, it can be annoying to watch a stream of cars prevent you from entering the intersection, but just as often, you'll be part of such a line of cars. The net effect of this constant flow of traffic is that it moves through the intersection easily twice as fast as it can at a 4-way stop, in which EVERY car has to come to a full stop, EVERY time.

One carryover habit I see from 4-way stops is that drivers don't distinguish between "stop" and "yield." If someone to your left is about the enter the intersection at the same time you are, as long as they are not speeding, you don't need to stop for them. You'll enter just ahead of them, and both of you will go on your merry way.

Personally, I think the ability to negotiate a roundabout legally and safely should be a make-or-break part of the driving test. They do have a way of indicating whether a driver can be properly attentive and have the driving skills and reflexes to be safe behind the wheel of a car anywhere on public streets and roadways.

JayCat_67 11 years, 4 months ago

The Kansas Driver's Manual doesn't really help much.

On approaching the modern roundabout, yield to vehicles and bicyclists within the circulating roadway. Look to your left to see if there is an appropriate gap in traffic. If one is not available, you may need to stop. Always enter the roundabout to the right and proceed on the right side of the central island.

Not very specific.

JayCat_67 11 years, 4 months ago

Well, Bozo, unless I can find something to refute your understanding of the roundabout, I stand corrected. The way everything I've found so far is written, as long as you can get into the circle before anyone else coming from another direction, you have the right of way. Of course, the main rule I like to follow is "err on the side of caution" I'd rather be wrong and safe than right and in an accident, even if it would be the other driver's fault. You are right in one respect, it is frustrating waiting for a line of cars to go through, but the closest calls I've had are from cars not yielding to vehicles already in the circle or someone already in the circle stopping to let someone else in.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

"but the closest calls I've had are from cars not yielding to vehicles already in the circle or someone already in the circle stopping to let someone else in."

Those are my biggest complaints, too, but they are with the drivers, not with the design and function of roundabouts. And as irritating as these drivers are, they aren't any more irritating in roundabouts than at 4-way stops or elsewhere on the roadways where they also regularly display their cluelessness and incompetence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

"I would LOVE to see roundabouts at the intersections of 31st and Haskell and 31st and Louisiana."

That's a great idea, and there is plenty of room at both intersections.

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