Northwest NEWS

May 6, 2002


Roundabout? Look behind you

The saga continues with the proposed roundabout.
   I was born in a large country south of the border, where roundabouts were so popular and large that public parks were put in the middle of them with fountains and playground areas. The problem was to cross the roundabout to get to them, you literally had to run and beat the cars to get there.
   Some of these roundabouts (called glorietas) had major streets coming into them; four, six and in some cases eight streets! Believe me, the traffic jams were terrible, the backups horrid.
   The joke was: If you could get into the "glorieta" and come out on the other side untouched, you had just learned how to drive!
   So what did the city do? They ended putting traffic lights, yes traffic lights, as you approached the roundabout, to control the entry of traffic into the roundabout. This defeated the whole purpose. This happened all around the city, a large city. Even today these roundabouts are still present with their traffic lights at the entry points.
   The roundabout at SR 203 and Northeast 124th will not work. Look at the other side of Northeast 124th right behind you, where they just installed the new traffic light. I do not see large lines of cars backed up all the way to the bridge and beyond any more! The morning was terrible at that spot now there is an effective flow. I am not saying there is not traffic, but it moves.
   I suggest to the people who are planning this roundabout to move into the area for a couple of weeks and try it themselves. You need to live it to appreciate it.
   A traffic light with adequate turning lanes which can be managed would be way better than the proposed roundabout experimentation.
   Traffic lights are a flexible solution; a permanent roundabout is not unless you later want to spend the money to add the traffic lights.
   G. Varela, Duvall