Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Roundabouts are cool

HANNIBAL IS PUTTING a roundabout by the hospital. This is newsworthy for several reasons. One, Hannibal is looking ahead and being progressive and will have a roundabout before we do in Quincy. Two, people will actually have to use their turn signals.

Basically a roundabout replaces the classic four-way intersection. You can only turn right and you must yield to oncoming traffic. Twice a year I travel to Wisconsin and they have roundabouts in Sheboygan and Oshkosh. They are pretty cool and they work, though it takes a bit to get used to.

Roundabouts get rid of traffic signals, a good thing, and they improve traffic flow. They are mostly used in high traffic areas, and they are not pedestrian friendly. Also, bike lanes in roundabouts are cool but would add to the initial confusion.

There are several places roundabouts would work in Quincy, specifically out on East Broadway, State Street anywhere east of 24th Street, and a few other places like John Wood Community College.

But here’s why they may never be approved in Quincy - we are a Rocking Chair community, and as long as you don’t rock back and forth too fast or too slow, things are fine. A roundabout would slow and speed up the rocking chair at the same time. Personally, I like many aspects of our Quincy rocking chairs, but sometimes I want to throw the damn thing away and try to wake people up.

I think a roundabout at Fifth and Maine would be fascinating. We could sit on the sidewalk and watch all the traffic inch around the intersection, and listen to drivers yell at each other, and help people in wheelchairs who get squashed by people in a hurry who don’t see them. Plus, all the motorized bicycles would have a field day dodging traffic.

Wait a second ... that already happens every day at Fifth and Maine. As my niece Erin likes to say, “Neber mind.”

I have no plans to visit Hannibal’s soon to be roundabout, but I applaud the city and the residents for being progressive and applying new ways to deal with traffic. And that’s a roundabout way of saying, “Good for you!”

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