Roundabouts are annoying and I don’t like them. Unfortunately, Washtenaw County is going to call home to more of them, according to an article from Annarbor.com. The article mentions “a new roundabout at Geddes and Ridge roads in Superior Township would mark the 11th project of this type in the county. The 10th is planned for State and Ellsworth roads in Pittsfield Township, and both are part of 2013 road improvements for nearby construction projects.”
Oh boy, more circles of panic-induced turning and swearing as the idiot in front of you fails to yield. It’s not enough that they have to create the roundabouts, but they also have to clump them together, too. How someone has not died to these I have no idea; Michigan drivers are not the best, let’s be honest here. New Yorkers complain about our drivers, and if it’s one thing New Yorkers know, its gang warfare, but I digress.
The advantages to the roundabouts do exist, however. They allow traffic to theoretically move faster, because the cars don’t have to stop unless there’s oncoming traffic, since they use yield signs, as opposed to a four-way stop.
A few commenter’s on the AnnArbor.com website suggested making the roundabouts wider, to make it easier to tell if the oncoming traffic is going to get in your way. This idea makes sense to me, and I think is worth looking into for future roundabout construction.
Right now there are nine roundabouts, with two more planned, on top of the standard “keep the state’s infrastructure from crumbling into oblivion at the lowest possible cost” summer round of road contracts. The things are relatively well received, and they don’t seem to be too dangerous, surprisingly. So as long as drivers behave they probably aren’t going anywhere. If making them wider will make them safer, I’m fine with that. It makes them bigger, but at least they’ll be safer.
Between the crumbling roads, insane drivers and potholes the size of your car’s trunk, we have enough dangers on the road to worry about without playing vehicle ballet on the road. If roundabouts are here to stay, and it looks like they are, they need to be as safe as possible while still serving their function of making traffic faster. Otherwise what’s the point of the things?