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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 2, 2010 7 years ago

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: User experience shows roundabouts are a problem

by: Gene Crites

Dear Editor:

I come from Greater Boston metropolitan area, and I want to tell you from firsthand experience that these roundabouts are going to be a major problem for Sarasota. I don’t know who sold the city managers on the idea, but they should take a trip to the Boston area to see firsthand how well they do not work.

For example, the roundabout on Route 2 near Concord works fine when traffic is light, but when a lot of commuters are on the road I would drive 20 miles out of my way to avoid it. Ditto for every other roundabout in the area, especially Route 1 near Lynn. Traffic would come to a complete stop about two miles from the roundabout, and from there it was stop-and-go for a very long time depending on how aggressive the people are in your lane.

The drivers in Massachusetts have learned that if you want to get through the roundabout, when you get to it you must be able to detect the oncoming traffic out of the corner of your eye and not make eye contact with the person approaching your intersection and then try to shoot out into the roundabout. If the driver in the roundabout makes eye contact with you he will surely cut you off if you try to merge into traffic. So you knew if you were safe to proceed or not — sort of. Great chicken game!

I cannot wait to see how this is going to work out for Sarasota, especially in the season when all the snowbirds from all over the Midwest arrive who don’t have a clue how to proceed through a roundabout. How is this going to help pedestrians trying to cross over U.S. 41? I guess they will try to hold up their hand like a cop directing traffic to get people to allow them to cross. Good luck with that one!

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