Friday, May 15, 2020

Roundabouts, Cheap, Confusing and Stupid

Tampa Bay, Fl Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:  In Search of Robin
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Sarasota is one of the latest West Coast jurisdictions to try out the traffic-control method of Roundabouts. If you have been to the Sarasota University Town Center, you have had the roundabout experience firsthand.
Check out the Sarasota Herald Tribune By Timothy Fanning Staff Writer: Sarasota U.S. 41 roundabouts set to open this week; advice offered on driving them
These counterclockwise rotating traffic control systems are widely touted in Europe as excellent traffic control systems.
For some further insight into Roundabouts check Wikipedia Roundabouts.
From above, they look simple and relatively easy to navigate. The basic concept of the roundabout is merging traffic with two or more exit points available on the traffic circle. In reality, on multi-lane lane roundabouts, cars are constantly merging with traffic changing lanes frequently.
One of the primary design tenants of a roundabout is the assumption of driver awareness and courtesy. If you have spent much time driving in Sarasota or Manatee County, you have probably noticed a significant lack of both.
Local governments like the roundabout traffic control system for a number of reasons. First, it does not require a lot of sophisticated technology to operate. A roundabout Is simply a road construction project.
Roundabouts seem to be particularly confusing to an elderly or an aging driving population. They are not much of a treat for cyclists either. So, it just seems odd that the County would choose a traffic-control mechanism that is not conducive to its demographic.
Harkening back to University Town Center, you have probably noticed that the roundabouts in the shopping center resemble NASCAR short track racing more than traffic control. Nothing like driving your Hyundai around the roundabout watching well-heeled millennial slide his/her BMW across two lanes of the roundabout to make the exit to Burger-Fi.
If you’re headed out to US 41 and the new roundabout, you may want to read the above article, pick up some tips and tricks on how to navigate a roundabout, and prepare yourself for some real traffic excitement.
Good luck.
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