February 25, 2002
Why would anyone want one more light added to the commute?
I've been following the proposed roundabout debate (at State Route 203/ Northeast 124th intersection) with great interest and some dismay. The arguments against its installation just don't stand up to the test of reason. I can't see how slowing down for a well-marked roundabout is more dangerous than stopping entirely for an unpredictable stoplight. Think about someone running a red light at that intersection. The argument that trucks will have difficulty negotiating the circle is countered by the many times I've had to back up for trucks negotiating turns at stoplights or being cut off as they make wide right turns.
I've also done my share of driving in France, England and Ireland, which are very difficult places for an American to drive, but it is the roundabouts that make driving less difficult and I came to love them. In Britain and Ireland they refer to them as traffic movers and point to them when explaining why certain areas of town don't have congestion.
I've also noticed that in other countries drivers cooperate with each other while driving, as opposed to competing with each other as we do here, and I theorize it is the roundabouts that help to shape that.
We race to our lights, feel upset if we miss them, annoyed if someone takes too long to turn left, and we occasionally run into them. Roundabouts require cooperation; there's no need to race, and the worst accidents are minor, not at all like getting hit smack in the side by someone running a red light or turning left into oncoming traffic.
I can't imagine why anyone would want one more light added to the daily commute. I previously lived in Redmond and commuted to Kirkland, and by the time I moved I was going through 13 lights to go a mere few miles. We don't need any more lights. Let's give a roundabout a try; it's the perfect place and time, to try it. Local residents who support a roundabout plan can e-mail me at email@example.com and I will collect your letters and get them to the DOT (Department of Transportation) meeting suggested in a previous letter to the editor. If anyone wants to help me get these to the right folks, please let me know.
Heidi Bohan, Duvall