Letters to the Editor

Not safer

October 2, 2008


To the editor:

I disagree with Chuck Soules' contention that roundabouts are the right solution for many intersections. I will agree that roundabouts CAN work efficiently in some situations if constructed properly, but most of the roundabouts in Lawrence work no better than four-way stop signs.

I know the roundabout at 19th Street and Barker Avenue is dangerous. I found it ironic that Channel 6 News on Sunday showed traffic on Barker waiting to enter the roundabout, but was backed up because they were unable to enter safely. My wife and I have experienced the same thing numerous times at that intersection because traffic on 19th Street would not yield. We have to pull out in front of traffic if we want to get through the intersection. Mr. Soules, please explain to me how this is safer?

Bruce Johnston,


mom_of_three 9 years, 7 months ago

I don't think Mr. Johnston knows how to drive a roundabout. triplegoddess explains it well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

It sounds like Bruce doesn't understand how roundabouts work. It doesn't matter whether cars are "on 19th Street." As you approach the roundabout, the only thing that matters is whether there is a car to your immediate left already in the roundabout. If so, then if you can't enter the intersection without risking collision, then you wait. It's a simple as that. If a car to your left is entering the roundabout at the same time you are, there is no reason to wait, because the design of the roundabout means you can do so without risk of collision, unlike a 4-way stop.Sure, sometimes when traffic is heavy, and you might have to wait for a stream of cars to clear enough for you to get in. But that's the result of heavy traffic, not the roundabout. Heavy traffic means waiting regardless of the traffic control method, but on average, waits are much shorter at a roundabout than at a 4-way stop.

BrianR 9 years, 7 months ago

Yes, perhaps some instruction would be helpful. When I'm on the motorcycle, I just avoid roundabouts altogether, too many close calls with cars. You don't have to be a rocket surgeon to navigate one of these things, a little patience will do.

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 7 months ago

It seems like you've answered your own question. The priority is where the people and money (JOCO kids) go: The University.

grimpeur 9 years, 7 months ago

The irony lies in the fact that crappy drivers like to complain about the roundabouts that have been necessitated by their crappy driving. Same for traffic levels and for the condition of our streets--people love to complain about both, but won't make the smart choices that would improve matters.

denak 9 years, 7 months ago

Personally, I like the roundabout at 19th and Barker. When I first moved here years ago, it was Fall and I was driving east on 19th and I couldn't see a thing because of the sun and I drove straight through the stop sign that use to be there at 19th and Barker. I did not see it at all. Luckily, I didn't hit anyone.There is no way you can not see the roundabout and even though it is annoying at times, I would much rather have that roundabout there than just a stop sign.Dena

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 7 months ago

consumer1 (Anonymous) says:"all of you who support the round a bouts are forgetting that most people are idiots."Good. You got right to the heart of the issue. Glad I don't have to say it. Well, maybe with a caveat... most people drive like idiots.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps it's time to ask the LJW, Channel 6,KLWN,KJHK and KTWU to start talking about how to drive in a round-a-about for about 7 consectutive days. I love the fact that I never have to stop at these intersections any longer. It saves time and gas. And round-a-bouts do not malfunction and require computer repair. I seldom have any problem in the round-a-about situations.It's all about taking turns at the proper speed.Some say you cannot see through the landscaping. All that is necessary is that you see what's coming from the left.

drake 9 years, 7 months ago

I know the rule is that you must yield to a vehicle already in the roundabout. What is the rule if you approach a roundabout with a car already in it with 20-30 cars right behind it just following right behind with no gaps? My first instinct is to just sit and wait for them all to clear, but what is the law?

ScottyMac 9 years, 7 months ago

Look at the numbers. Roundabouts are dramatically safer and more efficient than four-way stops. It does not matter if Mr. Johnston and his wife don't understand how or why. The numbers don't lie.

triplegoddess13 9 years, 7 months ago

Traffic in the roundabout is not supposed to yield to traffic entering the circle, hence vehicles in the circle have the right of way. If you want to enter the roundabout you have to take the leap of faith and go. You are not supposed to stop before you enter the roundabout either, that is why it is supposed to work so well. The flow of traffic is not supposed to be impeded.

ScottyMac 9 years, 7 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: "19th and Barker 'circle' is too big for the hole. Simple."How so? Traffic flow has improved dramatically, while accidents have all but vanished. That intersection used to be a nightmare. It would take forever to get through it, and was prone to serious, car-totalling, high-speed injury accidents. Now, even if I am behind folks like Mr. Johnston or his wife, the wait isn't nearly as long. And accidents are way, way down there. In fact, as far as I know, that roundabout has yet to witness a single injury. Too small for trucks? I have watched buses, ambulances, RVs, delivery trucks, dump trucks, and, yes, fire trucks cruise around that thing with no apparent difficulties. What, exactly, is it too small for? The only hole I can think of is yours, and, judging by your posts, it's big enough for about anything.

Grundoon Luna 9 years, 7 months ago

I have nearly gotten t-boned a bunch of times in the 19th/Barker rotary. Yield to those on your left already in the rotary!!

road_to_nowhere 9 years, 7 months ago

For those of you who can read, check out the recently released comprehensive study of Roundabouts in the United States (which includes Kansas!) here:http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_572.pdfFor those of you who can't read (and apparently can't figure out roundabouts either) I'll summarize: roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by about 90% over other types of intersection traffic control, severe injuries by about 70% and all crashes by about 50%. They do this by forcing drivers to slow down (which increases efficiency too), and reduces potential conflict points. They also force drivers to think, imagine that, when you think when you drive you driver more safely.

ralphralph 9 years, 7 months ago

I have trouble texting as I pass through roundabouts.

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