The Roundabout Zealot mounts his trusty steed once again
The Village of Sussex is taking a stand.
In the face of what local government officials say is a ground swell of negative public comment, it's saying "no" to that spreading infection that's working it's way through southeastern Wisconsin, the plague on the motoring public known as...ba ba bum: the roundabout. You've seen them, no doubt, and maybe cheated death by actually driving through one. Lucky you survived. Many a motorist has been seen heading into one, only to be dispatched into another dimension somewhere next to plans to convert North America to the metric system, never to be heard from again.
I kid. Not about the Sussex decision, but about the other stuff.
The Village Board decision is fact, with members saying "no" to any redo of their Main Street that includes roundabouts. Three were included in one option, one that they now consider dead on arrival. The mere mention of their possible arrival in Sussex sparked 125 people to show up for a public discussion of Main Street options the other night. One trustee says that of the 74 calls they'd received on roundabouts, 71 were negative when it came to the use of what the folks in Europe call "rotaries".
Who likes sitting at endless stoplights? Who enjoys t-bone crashes? Sussex folks worry about people jetting down their main drag if roundabouts appear--wouldn't just the opposite happen? Experts will tell you roundabouts don't necessarily prevent accidents, but they don't increase them either, and the ones that happen are far less severe because drivers are going slowly.
Roundabout haters point to Moorland Road near I-43 in New Berlin. Yes, they're big and they can be intimidating the first couple of times you have to negotiate them. I'll take my chances there, though, instead of trying to figure out the maze that is the Five Corners where lanes are plentiful, stop lights abound, drivers are many and confusion reigns supreme. Or how about negotiating the slalom of traffic islands along North Avenue in Wauwatosa? Who thought THAT was a good idea?
The state DOT is on quite the roundabout jag these days--they're all over the place, and it seems almost any plan Madison has for a roadway includes them. I don't always agree with state engineers--don't get me started on what the DOT wants to do with Highway 100 in Hales Corners--but on this one, I think they're getting it right. We've gotten along quite nicely with our little rotary at 116th and Grange for years now, an intersection that sired any number of pretty nasty wrecks over the years but is now quietly negotiated by formerly roundabout-reluctant locals.
None of whom, by the by, have been lost in that other dimension.