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Letters to the Editor

Roundabout fan

October 4, 2008

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To the editor:

Perhaps it's time to ask the local news media to start talking about how to drive in a roundabout for about seven consecutive days.

I love the fact that I never have to stop at these intersections and for other reasons:

¢ It saves time, gas and keeps traffic moving.

¢ Roundabouts do not malfunction and require computer repair.

¢ I seldom have any problem in the roundabout situations.

¢ It's all about taking turns at the proper speed. Most are posted at 15 mph.

Some say you cannot see through the landscaping. All that is necessary is that you see what's coming from the left. Roundabouts come recommended from KDOT and DOT with much research behind them. Roundabouts come to taxpayers for considerably less than more Lawrence police officers and sometimes expensive new traffic lights, which Chuck Soules noted. This is an excellent point. New traffic lights can cost $200,000, not to mention that drivers run red lights daily.

On our way to the Cosmosphere and the Salt Mine Museum in Hutchinson two weeks ago, we came across a roundabout in the middle of nowhere on U.S. Highway 50. 18-wheelers accomplished this roundabout with no problem. Speculation suggests this was a high-accident intersection.

Richard Heckler,
Lawrence

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

The only valid point you make, frwent, is that it's impossible to fully eliminate the potential damage, death and destruction that a stupid, ignorant, negligent, careless and/or reckless driver can inflict on the rest of the motoring, biking or pedestrian public. But the facts about roundabouts are this-- they speed up the flow or traffic, they don't slow it down, and they mitigate the potential damage, death and destruction that a stupid, ignorant, negligent, careless and/or reckless driver can inflict on the rest of the motoring, biking or pedestrian public when compared to other traffic control methods, particularly 4-way stops.

road_to_nowhere 6 years, 2 months ago

I'd rather be driving through a roundabout than stuck at a stupid stop sign...

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 2 months ago

When I come to your city, I hate the roundabouts. I hate the ones in Topeka as well . They are the big fad now, but I predict in time, they will go away just as they appeared. Thank you, Lynn

somebodynew 6 years, 2 months ago

While I hate to agree with Mr. Heckler on anything, he is correct on this and wrote a very good letter. My biggest pet peeve in driving is the 4 way stop. If people do know how to use them, I must always run into the few who don't and just make matters difficult for all. Of course, they are also the people who can't handle roundabouts, so they will always be there.The only comment I would add, is that SOME of the roundabouts (not all) don't seem to be built properly. I think the later ones are, and no you do not need to see through them, just who is already in. If you drive moderately things will go well.

texburgh 6 years, 2 months ago

Heckler is right on. I love the flow of our roundabouts and circles.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 2 months ago

Agnostic, you are exactly correct. Lifetime experience has taught me that the old ways, in many instances, are the best ways. "New" and "modern" has proven, in many instances, to be a shameful deception, but too many people do not have the common sense to realize this. This does not mean one should not avail themselves of modern ways, I am 64 years old, but I am using this computer. But I do not do stupid things like put personal incformation on here for any hacker to check out. Living requires knowledge, experience, common sense and a devotion to maintaining some balance in your life, and way too many people today have completely deserted these values. I will continue to use my phone that has a wire attached to the wall. And my digital answering machine.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 2 months ago

Richard: You said: "It saves time, gas and keeps traffic moving."How much? Show me some statistics. How much gas do you save? Just how "green" is this faddish mantra you quote?? Please translate this into pennies.You said: ¢ "Roundabouts do not malfunction and require computer repair". Stop signs do not require computers. Intersections with stop signs DO require drivers to stop and look for any hazards. You CANNOT see MOVING hazards at these crazy- designed roundabouts. (don't tell me "crazy" is not an adverb, It is illiterate and I know that. Makes me fit in with the average people who have to drive daily) Additional pavement and concrete curbing requires maintenance including cleanup of spilled oil pans from motorists who have crashed into them avoiding the idiot coming around the left side of the hill.You said: "I seldom have any problem in the roundabout situations."Why did you NOT say "never"?? I have NEVER had a problem at a stop light or sign. I have had scares involving drivers coming around the left side, moving at 40 miles per hour, and screeching tires to avoid hitting the curbs.You said: "It's all about taking turns at the proper speed. Most are posted at 15 mph."Agreed. How often to do you see distracted drivers, speeding drivers, just plain dumb and stupid drivers weaving in and out of traffic, instant changing lanes without signal, turning from the wrong lanes, turing in front of you from the opposite direction, ad infinitium? Would you also subscribe to "educating" these dangerous drivers we already have to prevent all these already existing dangers and hazards on the road?Roundabouts suck. They are just another device to obstruct traffic flow. There are places where these things have been removed due to the danger they pose. They require more tax money from a city already bitching about being poor. As soon as someone or several someones are killed at one of these hazards, maybe some damned fool at city hall will wake up. Ditto for all those state wonks you mentioned as also being il love with these faddish European imports.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 2 months ago

Agnostic, Jack, et al. I do not own a cell phone, blackberry, blueberry, red berry, laptop, two way wrist radio or any other "wireless" device or any other of the modern day toys that people use to amuse themselves while they should be paying attention, not only to driving, but walking. riding, or any other waking-hours activity. I hate the things.Roundabouts suck and are a waste of money for some faddish new world order notion.End of sermon. Hope some of you can figure this out.

gr 6 years, 2 months ago

"18-wheelers accomplished this roundabout with no problem."Could it be that those roundabouts are designed whereas most of Lawrence "roundabouts" are just a normal intersection, obstructed? Shouldn't there be a state law about road widths which are being violated by Lawrence?I think most of the objection is to those where you have to carefully maneuver a subcompact car around. Not designed, but a pile of debris dumped in the middle of an existing street.

roundaboutlover 6 years, 2 months ago

gr (Anonymous) says:"Roundabouts are now widely used in Australia - South America - and Asia - and other places"And could you give us an approximate diameter of them and how they compare to Lawrence's?"gr,The roundabouts at Diamondhead Drive/George Williams Way and those on Inverness Drive are around 110 to 120' in diameter. The new roundabouts at the Turnpike will be 120' too. This is a fairly traditional size worldwide for single lane roundabouts - although, in the US, diameters for single lane roundabouts are increasing in order that larger trucks - those with 53' trailers - can make it through the intersection.Internationally - some roundabouts are larger with 3 or 4 lanes (200'-400' in diameter). Some are much smaller - like the mini-roundabouts (36' typical) that have proliferated across England. Sizes vary dramatically - but most traffic engineers agree that, in general, the roundabout should be just large enough to pass appropriate design vehicles - usually tractor trailers - as larger diameters lead to faster speeds within the roundabout.

roundaboutlover 6 years, 2 months ago

frwent (Anonymous) says:"Richard: You said: "It saves time, gas and keeps traffic moving."How much? Show me some statistics. How much gas do you save? Just how "green" is this faddish mantra you quote?? Please translate this into pennies."Check out this link...should provide the data you're looking for...http://www.iihs.org/research/paper_pdfs/mf_1848.pdf

gr 6 years, 2 months ago

"Roundabouts are now widely used in Australia - South America - and Asia - and other places"And could you give us an approximate diameter of them and how they compare to Lawrence's?

roundaboutlover 6 years, 2 months ago

frwent (Anonymous) says:"Roundabouts suck. They are just another device to obstruct traffic flow. There are places where these things have been removed due to the danger they pose."Incorrect. Traffic circles and rotaries - much larger cousins to the roundabout - have been removed from places like NJ. Roundabouts are growing in number due to their safety and efficiency."European imports."The idea of the circular intersection was developed around the turn of the century in NYC...by the 1960's rotaries and traffic circles were failing in the US...and began to be removed. The Brits, who were simultaneously experiencing similar problems with their circular intersections, figured out that requiring motorists to yield to traffic in the circle and making the circles smaller to deflect the path of entering motorists greatly increased both the capacity and the safety of the roundabout. So - to be technical - roundabouts are more of a mut than purely european - although a huge debt of gratitude is owed to British traffic engineers. Roundabouts are now widely used in Australia - South America - and Asia - and other places where people would rather continue moving than sit at a red light at 10 pm with no other traffic in sight.

storm 6 years, 2 months ago

About roundabouts, do you think folks that write something to this effect "They are just another device to obstruct traffic flow " are ever embarrassed? It sounds like they prefer stopping at intersections thus causing no traffic flow.

gr 6 years, 2 months ago

"are around 110 to 120' in diameter."I'm not sure why many would complain about them. My complaints are those that are more like 15'. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but doubling that would seem a little to large for what we have to go through. I feel those (the width of a residential street) are what started the complaints and someone with poor planning should be held responsible for thinking up such an poorly thought out idea of putting them in place.

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