If you do a quick Wikipedia search on my city, you will read that it is known for something called a "roundabout." Yes, indeedy, the same sort of traffic pattern sported in Paris around the Arc de Triomphe and at Columbus Circle in NYC. If you do a search on "roundabout," in the article, you will see, under the heading "History," a wondrous little moving diagram demonstrating how the roundabout works on any given day, click here for perusal.
I'm all for the roundabout actually. (Well except for maybe all this road construction clogging things up to no end around here, see photo right.) There are several located near my home that I have occasion to use daily and they work wonderfully well, I have no problems at all with them. A few miles distant, however, still in Carmel, the roundabouts are designed a little differently and on any given day, it is pretty much a crap shoot as to whether or not I will be in the right lane to advance north on Hazel Dell Parkway...I have taken to driving Gray Road and just disposing of the entire business of that crazy little strangely designed roundabout altogether.
Our mayor has gone "roundabout crazy" here...really...truly. (And, I say this with respect as I do, after all, need to sit next to him at Mass occasionally and all.) On June 1st, things got really wild and the city closed 99th, 106th, and 126th Streets at Keystone Avenue to make changes. Changes? Changes to the city's main north/south thoroughfare, negotiated at a traveling speed posted at 50 miles an hour (which many take to be just a mere "suggestion" as to the true speed often traveled along there), changes that will change forever how Keystone Avenue will come to be traveled from here on out?
Yes, you guessed it, and if you live in the area, you are dealing with it on a daily basis...they are creating roundabouts at these intersections...and not stopping there, for I do believe there are more planned and when it is all finished...we will be virtually The City of Roundabouts.
I haven't seen Margaret since all this began...she lives on the other side of Keystone, usually just a short mile and a half away, but now with construction, it's something like about 5-6 miles to get to her house from here. While this is a bit of a problem, driving here and there about the city avoiding my main routes and all, the real fear I have is that once they finish, I will never be able to leave my house again.
The little animated diagram in Wikipedia looks lovely, all the little vehicles behaving in an appropriate manner, nary a sign of them crashing about. I have, however, visions of 25,000 people using this roundabout each morning (let alone the hundreds of thousands that use this route during the day and evening) clueless on how a roundabout actually works, the slamming on of brakes, the honking of horns...you know, much like when the football players descend on CHS during our early morning swimming hours for a month each summer, only worse, much worse.
The diagram also shows little blinking lights indicating, I assume, turn signals...and I have to say that in these past years of learning all about roundabouts from the many we now have in existence, I have witnessed few, if any, actual uses of turning signals in any sort of manner in negotiating the roundabouts.
Until I see the Keystone roundabouts completed for myself, I have a fear that these are going to be similar to that crazy roundabout at 131st and Hazel Dell and that I am going to be located permanently 5-6 miles from Margaret because I won't be able to guarantee that I can negotiate the correct lane without crossovers to make the transition. My husband, darling that he is, has tried to explain this to me by saying, "Everyone to your left has the right-of-way in a roundabout...once you are in the roundabout, you have the right-of-way before anyone merging into it." Okay...that helps, but near as I can figure out, that wacky one at 131st and Hazel Dell defies any sort of reasoning and seems, most of the time, like driving dodge 'em cars. (Mark also shared that he had already envisioned me driving the new setup like that scene from National Lampoon's European Vacation where Clark Griswold and his family keep circling around Parliament and Big Ben in London, going around and around as they can't get merged into the off portion. So, if you see someone at 106th and Keystone circling about over and over and over...it just might be me and Blue Bernice...be nice, let me over, okay?)
The section at 106th and Keystone is scheduled to be finished early next year...or so the thought is at this time. Oh, boy, I can't wait! I'll be ready for a good challenge around about then, deep into winter and all.