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America is not falling in love with roundabouts

Illustration for article titled America is not falling in love with roundabouts

The BBC's recent profile of Carmel, Indiana, the "roundabout capital" of America, suggests those of us here in the colonies have "started to embrace the free-flowing British circular." Nick Greene at the Village Voice viscerally believes — despite the mountains of evidence otherwise — that's just bullshit.

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I couldn't agree more, Nick. (Hat tip to Wayne!)

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DISCUSSION

The ONLY downside of roundabouts is that there's no allowance for pedestrians. Able-bodied types could figure it out and cross anyway, but the elderly and people with mobility scooters and the like are kinda hosed if there's any traffic at all.

Aside from that aspect, I LOVE roundabouts, and would like to see many many many more of them here in the US. The few that exist in southeast Michigan serve to make traffic flow a whole lot more smoothly overall. And honestly, part of why people don't get them at present is because they're still largely unfamiliar. Clear signage and more of them will make them as easy to handle as a traffic light.

Oh, and we need much much more driver's ed, because things like Michigan's "50 hours" requirement (which usually involves a parent filling 50 hours into the book and driving for 1 so they can get their brat a license and stop playing taxi) don't really serve to teach anybody anything, except gaming the system a bit. I'd love to see a system where kids have to actually drive those 50 hours with an actual instructor, and then has to take a driving skills road test EVERY TIME THEY RENEW THEIR LICENSE NO MATTER WHAT AGE!