Monday, Jun. 13, 2005 - 1:10 a.m.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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A Roundabout Explanation of Traffic Circles
Strangely, although she lives in the UK, Ava-reborn asked what a traffic circle is. Perhaps cuz she knows them more as "roundabouts".
The roundabout is a fiendishly clever invention that stops cars hitting each other by putting a huge, round island in the middle of the road. Drivers then have to concentrate so hard on avoiding the island that they forget entirely about smashing into traffic.
They are hell when you are on a bicycle, since if for instance, you are entering the circle from the south (going north), and want to end up going west, you need to get into the circle, then drive around the edge of it, with traffic within the circle wanting to exit THROUGH you on the east and north exits until you get all the way to the west exit. It is frightening to say the least.
If you were in a car, and you wanted to go around most of the circle, you'd get into the center lane, and the exiting traffic would go in the exterior lane, no problem. But as a cyclist, which I usually was in England, you cannot get into the interior, you are stuck at the extreme outside, and thus everyone entering and exiting the circle wants to run you down, usually at pretty high speeds.
As a pedestrian they are frightening since there is no time traffic stops. You never know when any car in the circle will come careening out in your direction. zoom zoom.
And as a car passenger, they make me nauseous. Going north up a street with let's say, ten traffic circles in ten minutes, you are never travelling straight, but sort of swerving around a halfcircle every block, with the resultant upchuck factor. urk!
As a driver, if you understand them, they can be kind of fun. But not so much the one next to Park Royal where I lived, which had about 8 lanes of traffic, and about six entries and exits, and large trucks coming in and out and crossing lanes. :)
So, here is what a small, nausea-inducing traffic circle looks like.
And here is how a several-lane traffic circle works.
And then there is the Magic Roundabout.
OOOO I am thrilled! There is a WHOLE ARTICLE about the "Hanger Lane Gyratory System", the traffic circle/ roundabout I lived next to in London. It is insane. Just glance over the article a bit, you needn't read it all unless you totally are into this, or have ever lived next to Hanger Lane roundabout.
I personally usually had to transverse it to go shopping, or to catch the subway (the underground) which as they note is situated in the middle of it:
The icing on the cake however was an act of sheer town planning genius! What else would you put smack in the middle of the meeting of several major roads and an assortment of minor ones but a London Underground station? To keep in the spirit of the whole affair there even appears to be road access to it from the gyratory, presumably for the benefit of adrenaline addicts who have long since tired of relatively sane pursuits such as bungy jumping.
So there ya go.
And sure they may be good for traffic, but a roundabout will always mean for me, nausea and belching.
ps, seems that many people write about the Hanger Lane Gyratory System. Here is a funny one with a photo. Frightening. Here's a map of that gyratory system. I lived in Park Royal down Twyford Abbey Road.
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previous meanderings - future past
Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
*inspired by Chaosdaily