I live in a quiet neighborhood. Our house is just over 70 years old. We’re typical of the community. We like it here. It offers a good mix of ages, people are friendly, there are sidewalks (a must for me as a walker), conveniently located to things, and over all it’s a slice of Americana. One problem was high speed traffic cutting though on our promenade street. It’s a street where the median separates the two directional lanes. The median is wide and has grass, gardens, and is edged by ancient walnut trees. This runs diagonally through the square of our neighborhood and complaints of people speeding (going above the posted 25 mph) have been a normal chorus among residents. Requests for speed bumps or speed tables or other traffic ‘calming’ devices fell on deaf ears. Then one day construction started. After neighbors that live on that street questioned workers they learned a round-about was being installed to slow traffic flow. No hearing, no public debate, just being done. It’s an answer to the speeding problem.
Now, don’t get me wrong I’m glad to have an answer. I was mildly annoyed by the cut-through, and made a point of holding them up by driving 23 mph when on the road. Nope not faster than going on the main roads now is it cheater! I was for repaving the place and putting speed tables in. We had them in our neighborhood in Tampa and they worked like a charm but didn’t disrupt traffic flow.
You see I’m not a big fan of roundabouts. They were diminishing in popularity when I was getting my driver’s license. Many communities were paying to take them out and install traffic lights. I can remember driving to Kingsport when I was learning to get experience with them. All of those are now gone to except Church Circle. But it seems roundabouts are making a resurgence in popularity at least in this area. I can think of four that have been installed in the past three years (not counting the one in constructions just two blocks away). I strongly object to them because I find they don’t help traffic flow but hinder it. I think a light is more helpful and you don’t have people starting, stopping, cutting you off or riding your butt because they aren’t sure what the hell they are supposed to be doing.
Now back to my neighborhood, the road is closed and torn up now. The project was budgeted to take 4-6 months depending on the weather. Some residence can’t get in or out of their driveways for days during construction. My days with the windows open are fill with back-up beeps, shouts of construction workers, clangs of construction, and loud machinery. When I work on my porch I get to watch speeders slam on their breaks at the road closed sign then speed down my street to blow the stop sign on their cut through. There’s been two wreck there so far despite the added warning signs.
I’m left wondering is this the most cost effective way to address the problem? I watch the large crew work as I walk Rappy and wonder if this is less expensive and more effective than speed bumps/tables in ‘calming’ traffic. Really do we need this BIG production and expenditure? I guess the city fathers/mothers thought so and we’re getting it. I’m just wondering how many decades before they fall back to the thoughts of that were popular when I was learning to drive – then go around removing roundabouts that are being installed now.
Until Next time!