Things We Should Adopt in the U.S. #4: Traffic Circles or Roundabouts

By whichever name you choose to call them, traffic circles do their jobs well - keeping vehicles moving along the roadways. Here in Barbados roundabouts are employed all around the island, on small roads, in the city, and on major highways. The cars roll on. I'm not saying that there are no accidents here, but I don't see fender benders resulting from navigating the roundabouts.

Barbados was colonized by the British and their influence can be seen in many arenas in Bajan society - the traffic circle is but one of the marks the English left here. Because of living in Barbados (as well as in Trinidad where they also have roundabouts) we could easily adapt to traffic circles when we took our U.K. trip last month.

I write this post because of past experiences with a traffic circle controversy that occurred in my neighborhood in Poughkeepsie. Some community members wanted roundabouts put into a busy, too-fast roadway and some others thought these traffic devices would be a menace by diverting all vehicles to their street causing snarls in front of their homes. It pitted neighbor versus neighbor. I wish I could pull up a couple of letters-to-the-editor from the local newspaper but they are archived and not free. Well, the traffic circles went in, as well as some traffic-slowing devices on the other street, and all is well in Poughkeepsie. To think, if everyone could have just experienced the joys of roundabouts first hand by driving through them in Barbados or the U.K., we could have avoided all that angst.

Here, take a look for yourself:

The Creative Commons photo of the roundabout above was taken in England and was found on ztephen's Flickr page. The video I skillfully took while driving around a traffic circle near Dover Beach in the southern part of Barbados. I was very careful. Note the coconut sellers on the left towards the end of the video. You don't see that in Poughkeepsie!

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