Fast Cars

As promised, the roundabout (traffic circle) post. Only as it turns out, it will also be a general “traffic during morning carpool times” post.

Let’s address the morning carpool first. Why do some people think it is appropriate to drop their kids off in the middle of the through lane in the early childhood lot? I see this daily. Not only is it dangerous for the kids, who are jumping out of their car and then walking in front of cars pulling out from the curb, it is dangerous for the unsuspecting drivers behind the stopped car, who are trying to drive through to leave school. It is pretty clear that if you are dropping your children off, you need to pull all the way into the curb (i.e not sticking half out into the roadway, also a daily occurrence) and let your kids out safely. If you are walking your young children into school, please park your car in one of the many available spots, rather than leaving your car at the curb. I would love to see morning carpool monitored as carefully as afternoon carpool. Someone needs to be out there asking parents not to stop in the middle of the through way, and not to park at the curb…

Back to the roundabout. Oh boy. This will be fun. People! TRAFFIC ON THE CIRCLE HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY. Was that loud enough? Here is a great video from the state of Virginia, that explains modern roundabouts in a clear and thorough fashion.

Last year, when the roundabout was installed and I witnessed a number of near-misses, I emailed the school complaining. The solution was to have Rabbi Levine stand in the middle of the traffic circle during afternoon carpool, directing traffic exiting from the early childhood lot to turn right, thereby forcing them to make a U-turn opposite the south entrance to the school. In theory, this could work, as it means no one is actually using the roundabout during the height of traffic. In reality, however, it’s a disaster.

First, the large number of cars making a right and then performing U-turns opposite the other school exit makes it difficult for people exiting the school from the main carpool. This creates a serious back up of cars waiting to get out from the school. There are some who will stop before making the U-turn, and allow a car or two to make that left turn out of the school, but then this causes a back up of cars from the north exit.

Second, Rabbi Levine is unable to stand in the roundabout every day, and when he is not there, while many cars continue to turn right and make a U-turn, just as many choose to go around the circle because no one is standing in their way. The problem here is two-fold – the cars going around the circle will sometimes stop while IN the circle to allow the cars coming from the south to get onto the circle, AND/OR the cars approaching the circle from the south do not observe the YIELD sign and simply keep flying down the road at 35mph onto the circle, ignoring the traffic already on it.

Signage on the roundabout is pretty pathetic. There is a YIELD sign at the north entrance to the circle and the south entrance to the circle. But what is missing is the sign seen in the above video below the YIELD sign that says “To traffic on the circle”. The exit from Hillel has  STOP sign and a ramp, which hinders entry to the roundabout when theoretically there is time and space to get on and go around before cars at the security gate have entered.

I think that the simple thing to do would be for the school to send out an email, in addition to back-packing home a letter, explicitly explaining the rules of driving on a roundabout. Do a phone tree asking people to please take a few minutes to read the roundabout email. Send a link to the video I’ve put here.

And now, for your enjoyment, here is another roundabout…


And how it is to drive around it (An Americans driver’s nightmare!). It’s raining in the video, but then it is England…

Shabbat Shalom!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Bags all packed and ready to go… « Vanessa Brooks CEO Blog

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