Tuesday, January 9

Mmmm... Pi...

Below is a satellite rendering of an area not unlike the one near which I now reside.

The orange lines indicate the Interstates, the green areas are grass and/or trees, the buildings are grey, and the beautiful tepid lakes are represented by a dark emerald hue. There is peace in the suburbs. Ahhhh!

Except during rush hour. Then, the orange lines indicate furiously raging bumper-to-bumper traffic. But, I digress.

Currently, there are a few traffic circles (rotundas, roundabouts, whatever you want to call them) in the area, as indicated by the red circles, below. Not coincidentally, these red circles also indicate the areas where the highest concentration of fatal vehiclular incidents took place since the roads circular inception in 2001.

Okay, fine, I made that up. I have absolutely no statistics to support that claim. But based on personal experience, people here can't seem to drive effectively in a straight line, so can you imagine the hysteria that emerges when the road spins around and suddenly requires two left turns? There is no yielding, there are no friendly waves or gestures, there is only wild chaos, mayhem, the cacophony of horns and the building shrill of screaming adults as their SUVs grip the road with their two passenger-side tires.

Or worse(?), there's grandma in her powder blue Oldsmobile in front of you who waits fourteen minutes to engage then creeps into the swirling circle where swished around until ejected like a seed in a centrifuge.

The DC area is really big on traffic circles so I consider myself fortunate that I only have to deal with two of them on a regular basis. (And Dupont doesn't count because a) I don't get down there often enough and b) there's always something interesting going on there --like baby puppies being born on the grass or a chorus of flaming hot fraternity rejects doing a musical rendition of Othello). Ah, good old DC, the land of traffic circles and "'Oh My God What Is That Giant Orange Orb In The Sky?' traffic" every night going westbound on the beltway. What will they think of next? Funny you should ask...

Ok so if not the site of the most fatal accidents in the county, suburban traffic circles are definitely the site of the most road-rage related deaths in the county. So, the logical thing would be... Right, install more!

No joke-- five new traffic circles are planned for the immediate area (as indicated by the black soon-to-be-circles-of-death below) despite all notions of modern convenience, common sense and a stern Wikipedia warning:
The experience with traffic circles in the US was almost entirely negative, characterized by high accident rates and congestion problems. By the mid 1950's construction of traffic circles had ceased entirely.

Look, kids, Big Ben! And there's Parliament!

Only slightly less retarded than the jughandle, these five new traffic circles will surely not provide the area any sense of much-needed trafficular (if that's not a word, it should be) organization or flow. It already looks messy, doesn't it? Like a game of Risk or Checkers gone horribly wrong.

Clearly the newly elected county board members, or whoever has gone on a power glee spree here, won't be happy until the area resembles a satellite rendering of a Froot Loop factory explosion.



Carrie M said...

you need to run for some sort of office in montgomery county so you can write the proposals for these dumb things - and then people will actually see how they are NOT helpful.

what street is that for the new circles? that's not Great Seneca is it?

dwb said...

So I will assume Eugène Hénard and William Phelps Eno are on your shit list?

I'd love to see MD drivers going through traffic circles in the rain.

Deatoni said...

SOMEBODY had fun with Mspaint.

haveyouseenlucky said...

Yeah, MSPaint makes EVERYTHING instantly funnier, I agree.

New Jersey is the jughandle capital of the northern hemisphere. I hate them because once you miss a turn (which I never do) you have to drive a couple miles before they will let you turn around.

Traffic Circles I don't mind so much. I think it's actually the grandmas who have the problem with the circles and the brave new world they bring with their haphazard survival-of-the-fittest rules of use. Maybe you're just getting on in years? I notice there is no source for the wikipedia assertion, you wouldn't have any idea who might have casually tossed that into the article would you?

Anonymous said...

mmm...I love fruit loops.

- B

Lori said...

hahah you certainly had some fun with this.. mmmmm fruit loops..

Anonymous said...

LOL! I love fruity roundabouts.

kershdo said...

Looks like my kitchen floor after the kids have had breakfast, only without the orange lines.

Scott said...

i'm with lori on this one... mmm fruit loops. :-) I think you missed the biggest fruit loop in the equation...you! :smooch: