August 12, 2002
To find out how roundabout is working, ask the drivers
In your article about the proposed roundabout at the Hollywood Hill intersection (July 29), City Engineer Joseph Seet indicated the existing roundabout in Monroe was "super," according to the WSDOT. Of course the DOT would say that. By having the City of Monroe install the roundabout at Tester Road, it saved the DOT millions of dollars because they no longer had to redesign and rebuild the SR 522 interchange at 164th Street SE.
I drive through the roundabout daily on my commute, and that intersection is now more dangerous than before. According to the City, there are "rules" for using this two-lane roundabout (enter the outside lane when going one or two exits beyond your entry point, and enter the inside lane when going more than two exits, etc.).
Unfortunately, not many people know these rules, so there are near-accidents daily Ñ drivers making right turns across traffic from the inside lane, dump trucks using both lanes, and even drivers going the wrong direction on the roundabout!
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had to take evasive action to avoid being hit by another driver. I once had a City of Monroe vehicle force me off the road because he was turning right from the left lane. If the city's own employees can't safely and correctly use the roundabout, how do they expect other drivers to figure it out?
In addition to the increased confusion and danger, the city regularly has to spend money for maintenance and repair of the center circle as some drivers choose to drive over the curb and through the center of the roundabout causing damage to the landscaping. If you really want to find out how well the roundabout is working, ask the people who have to drive through it.
Joel Schleppi, via e-mail