All because somebody decided to build a giant godforsaken roundabout – a friggin traffic circle. The City was apparently awarded 2.5 million bucks to build this beast, which apparently marks “the beginning of a series of tangible measures to improve the four-kilometre stretch” of the busiest street near my house.
Well that’s just great.
When I heard there was a roundabout website, I just had to take a look. I learned a few interesting tidbits.
First, a roundabout is apparently different than a traffic circle. Who knew? Apparently a modern roundabout (I like that they call it “modern”) is an un-signalized (is “un-signalized” a word?) circular intersection engineered to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay. Unlike a traffic circle, traffic entering the roundabout must yield to traffic already within the roundabout. (I’m pretty sure traffic in any intersection must yield – otherwise the consequences are pretty drastic).
And I especially like the “maximize safety and minimize delay” part. The below list of pedestrian instructions seems to contradict that claim.
- Use the sidewalks and crosswalks around the outside of the roundabout. Do not cut across the middle of the roundabout. (i.e., avoid running through the constant stream of moving vehicles)
- Point your finger across the crosswalk to say to drivers you intend to cross. (kidding, right?) Look and listen for a safe gap in traffic. (oh my god)
- Step up to the curb. (don’t run or jump) Look at the drivers. (OH MY GOD) You decide when to step out and go. (translation: it’s your fault if you get hit)
- Start to cross as soon as you are sure the driver intends to slow or stop to yield the crosswalk to you. (how do you suppose I make “sure” of that, Mr website?)
- Watch for a driver coming in the next lane. (yeah, ok, I’ll just watch ALL the lanes) Make sure that the driver sees you. (hold a sign that says “honk if you see me”)
- Keep watching all the way across. (make sure you don’t blink)
- Wait on the splitter island for a safe (“safe” is a relative term) gap in traffic before crossing to the other side of the road. (so, what you really mean is: do it all again)
- Step up to the curb. (no running or jumping, I said!) Keep pointing your finger across the crosswalk (I guess they’re not kidding, after all) to say to drivers that you intend to cross. (or wave your sign)
So, let’s summarize: As a pedestrian crossing a roundabout, you have to walk like a zombie with your arms out-stretched and your eyes wide - just cross your fingers (while pointing, of course) that you don’t get run over.
This sounds like a splendid idea.
You should check out the little demo on the website. It’s pretty hilarious.