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Opening Arguments

Roundabout praise

I recently posted about West Lafayette's intention to spend nearly $24,000 to "educate" residents on how to use roundabouts. Here's a writer who says Americans should get over their aversion to these traffic managers. They promote safety, he says. They don't really add to drivers' overall time on the road. They waste less energy. They make more efficient use of public space.

Luckily, though, there are signs that our national roundabout aversion may not last forever. In places like Clearwater Beach, Fla., residents have actually petitioned for roundabouts to be installed, even holding a party on opening day. When's the last time that happened for a traffic signal?

I can see the advantages of roundabouts, especially when you want to preserve a tranquil neighborhood setting next to high-traffic streets and want to encourage the speeders to slow down in your area. But having a party for one seems a little extravagant. I can say I've gotten used to the one I encounter most often on Old Mill Road -- it's maybe a 2 on the pain-in-the-ass scale -- but I wouldn't want to have to drive through three or four of them every day.