Round and round and round we go
So how’s the new traffic experiment working out?Obviously, they were serious about keeping folks out of the neighborhoods, what with all the traffic barriers on Main Street. Amnesty International got it wrong as both the president and vice president so generously pointed out. Guantanamo is not the “new gulag,” it’s the West End. But hey, we’re in a war against the scourge of traffic this offseason, and if we have to ruffle a few feathers to win, that’s the price of freedom.And speaking of ruffled feathers, what a shame if your flock nests on Cemetery Lane. I guess you just have to get used to making a right turn for the greater good. It’s only a short way out of the way to get to the roundabout, and when you bought a place in a neighborhood close to town you did read the fine print about, maybe, someday, having to be inconvenienced by the up/down valley traffic as it winds its way to Red Mountain to service the ruling class.Which brings us to the roundabout. Without a trace of cynicism (it was all used up in the first two paragraphs), our little traffic circle is the best traffic innovation in this valley since the trains left. A series of circles down the Highway 82 corridor would be a huge improvement in our way of life.Roundabouts are efficient, provided the people using them know what yield means (FYI: Yielding is a slowing down, not a complete stopping of your vehicle). Roundabouts are attractive, or would you prefer a steel pole with the obligatory red, yellow and green disks as opposed to the mountain wildflower garden that grows in the confines of our roundabout? Roundabouts are historic. If you have been in Rome, Paris or London, you know that many fine sites are best viewed by taking another lap around the roundabout.And most important, roundabouts are inspirational. What? You never sang along with Jon Anderson and Yes as they played “I’ll be the round about / The words will make you out and out / You change the day your way / Call it morning driving through the sound and in and out the valley,” backed by Chris Squires’ thumping bass line and Bill Bruford’s crisp drum track, complemented by Steve Howe’s ripping guitar?So let’s try a new traffic experiment. Tear down the barriers on Main Street and free the West End. Let the Cemetery Laners turn left whenever they want. And let’s sing merrily along with the radio as we yield – but never, ever stop – on our way around the roundabout.
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“If I was moving through the herd, the others would begin walking away, some of them at a jog, taking their calves with them, but the big brown ungulate would face me sideways, reluctant to move, not wanting to give any ground,” writes Tony Vagneur.