Sunday, March 23, 2008

The roundabouts are coming?

Just looking through the PEI news, and I've seen two suggestions that there should be roundabouts on the Island (when they started being called that back home, I don't know, I've always heard them called rotaries).

There's a letter to the editor in The Guardian suggesting that a roundabout could have made a recent fatal accident much less serious if not avoided it at all, because people are forced to slow down for roundabouts.

Then there's a comment added to an article in The Guardian about some hour-of-darkness-for-the-environment scheme that Charlottetown's going to do. The comment suggests that to help avoid energy waste we should replace intersections with traffic lights with roundabouts because then cars aren't idling creating pollution and lights aren't running consuming energy.

Besides the fact that I think Island drivers are going to have a hard time dealing with roundabouts as they can't merge and the like (I remember the two-lane Hillsborough Bridge, and I remember all the fuss in the news when two side-by-side left turning lanes were installed at the Southport bridge intersection), my problem with roundabouts is that they slow traffic down. You're motoring along on the highway, and then because there's a road junction everyone has to slow down, not just the people who want to leave the highway.

I heard tell on a visit home of a rotary up Summerside way; I believe it was proving to be a little difficult for big trucks to negotiate. I've never driven through it, so I've never driven through a rotary on the Island. I don't really expect to be finding them there any time soon.

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