Previous   Next

Have you gotten used to using the roundabouts in Lawrence?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 29, 2008

Browse the archives

Photo of Jessie Boswell

“There were roundabouts where I grew up, so I was already used to them. But I’ve noticed people here are still a little unsure about using them. I understand their frustration, but it’s kind of amusing to watch.”

Photo of Robert Hurst

“I have. I don’t mind them at all. They pretty much work the same way as a four-way stop, so I don’t have any problems with them.”

Photo of Deana Bowen

“I’m still not sure how to use them in certain situations. I just go when I have an opening.”

Photo of Vinh Nguyen

“Yeah, I really like them. You never really have to stop, just yield. I think it saves a lot of time.”

Related story


Joe Hyde 9 years, 6 months ago

When vehicles arrive at the same time at intersections controlled by 4-way stop signs, the law states that the vehicle on the left must yield to the driver on the right. This is what everyone grows up doing at intersections; it is how we are trained, it is how we've been conditioned to drive. And this law -- this 4-way stop sign driving rule -- protects the public safety quite well.Roundabouts function exactly the opposite of 4-way stops. At a roundabout the driver on the right must yield to any vehicle approaching from the left. If the traffic is moving slowly enough for drivers to think through what they're supposed to do, sometimes this does not pose a problem. But after years of experiencing right of way priviledge over vehicles to your left (at 4-way stops), all it takes when entering a roundabout is for one driver to have an instant of forgetfulness. Then you have a collision. Maybe it won't be a true T-bone collision, but something pretty close to it.The hazard here is not associated so much with the intelligence or attitude of drivers. Rather, it stems from the brief instant of confusion that even a safety-conscious driver feels when a long-practiced conditioned reflex (from 4-way stops) suddenly becomes the WRONG thing to do...merely because of the roundabout intersection's design.I'd love to see every single one of them in Lawrence torn out.

EarthaKitt 9 years, 6 months ago

Thankfully it doesn't appear that Jessie was standing near Deana when she mentioned laughing at those who are confused.

George_Braziller 9 years, 6 months ago

Gootsie - It's just like a regular intersection that doesn't have any stop signs. If you are driving west and I'm driving south and we hit a roundabout at the same time I'm assuming that you're going to continue on to the west so I stop and wait only to have you turn and head north. Same thing is true if you are making a left hand turn. The cross traffic can't read your mind.That's how you use a turn signal at a roundabout.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 6 months ago

I say just treat the round-about like double dutch jump roping..... wait for the right moment, jump in, go, and remember to get out before you get hit in the butt with the rope.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 6 months ago

...roundabout.I still have Monty Python and the [roundabouts being a] Flying Circus. Knights. Roundtables.Mondays.....

killjoy 9 years, 6 months ago

left turn / right turn, use your signalThey're still poorly built and used in the wrong places

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

I love the roundabout at 19th and Barker. I used to live near there ages ago, and remember several wrecks. Now, I just get annoyed at those who don't understand how to use it, including the hubby. For the most part, people get it, I think.

average 9 years, 6 months ago

I can't imagine 19th and Barker any other way. Many others are good, but some are too small and low volume.

carmie 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, it is about time we got them here. When I was studying in England in the 70's they were popular even in the little town of Durham. It seems we are extremely behind the times but at least we have them.Drivers resistant to change are getting used to them. Lawrence could have visibility in mind when designing some as some are a joke but drivers are suppose to slow down. Hopefully more will be built as the traffic lights in Lawrence are a joke. If one travels the speed limit on 23 or 6th, one is forced to stop. If one speeds then green lights the entire route. It seems that scenario should be reversed as it is in many cities, NO wonder the nation makes fun of Kansas as backwards and out of sync.

hujiko 9 years, 6 months ago

"I'm still not sure how to use them in certain situations. I just go when I have an opening."What 'situations' does she mean? Either you go because the roundabout is empty, or you don't and wait for it to clear up. It's this notion that people get that it's too complicated for them to operate that makes them apprehensive, and which angers me because it isn't that complicated or a maneuver.

tonythetiger 9 years, 6 months ago

I have but I still think they are a bad idea.

George_Braziller 9 years, 6 months ago

What is there to "get used to" about a roundabout? You approach it and you drive around it or you turn. If you can't figure it out then you shouldn't be driving a vehicle. What drive me crazy is the drivers who don't use their turn signals at a roundabout.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 6 months ago

RDS, roundabout derangement syndrome. It's a curse.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 6 months ago

KEEPER: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?ARTHUR: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?KEEPER: What? I don't know that! Auuuuuuuugh!BEDEMIR: How do know so much about swallows?ARTHUR: Well, you have to know these things when you're a king you know.

jplanet 9 years, 6 months ago

The roundabout at 19th and Barker was the worst in the mornings. I used to work in that area and traffic would be backed up from Mass. St. to east of the roundabout. The dumb people traveling west on 19th would just sit in the roundabout blocking all of the north south traffic.

conservativepunker 9 years, 6 months ago

Oh come ON, people!!! They ain't rocket science!!!

acg 9 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I mean, it's driving around in a circle. It's certainly not rocket science.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 6 months ago

Please tell me how you can use your signals at a roundable?

sgtwolverine 9 years, 6 months ago

The law may state that the vehicle on the left yields to the vehicle on the right at a four-way stop, but I'm pretty sure most drivers don't actually have that piece of information ingrained in their minds; in reality, most times there are two cars at a stop sign at the same time, there's brief confusion until somebody just hits the gas pedal. I just don't see the left yielding to right in everyday driving. So in theory, your objection to roundabouts is valid, but in reality, I don't think it's particularly relevant.

jonas_opines 9 years, 6 months ago

They're not. . . terribly difficult to navigate. Certainly no harder than a four-way stop.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 6 months ago

TOB, isn't it also important to know whether or not you want your rocket to explode at some point?

Steve Mechels 9 years, 6 months ago

Based upon my (unscientific) observations, at least half of the people haven't. I guess that is to be expected since a greater number don't understand what a yield or stop sign means.

acg 9 years, 6 months ago

The_Original_Bob (Anonymous) says: Sarge -That question is above my pay gradeOne of the best responses I've read in a long time. Thanks for the belly laugh TOB.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone else think about the movie, National Lampoon's European Vacation when they use a round-about? Look kids, Big Ben! Maybe that's just me.........nevermind.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, you use your signal to indicate when you want to exit the roundabout. It makes the roundabout more efficient.

Kyle Neuer 9 years, 6 months ago

They're great in the Winter.Especially if you're in the front-end realignment biz.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.