Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Fifth Circle of Hell

You guys, I haven’t seen this much traffic in Suburbia since we hosted the golf tournament last summer. It’s frightening to realize that one street closing can cause such traffic Armageddon. And it does not help at all that said traffic is being re-routed through rotaries.

Some of you may know rotaries. You may know them as “traffic circles” or “roundabouts.” I have more colorful phrases for them, but around here they are called rotaries and they are just plain absurd.

Here’s the deal: the rotary has a purpose. It’s meant to manage traffic in an area that can not otherwise be easily served by a stop light or four-way stop sign. It’s essentially a large circle with (usually) two lanes that features (usually) 4 or more exits. If you are exiting at the nearest road, you take the outside lane and dart through. If you are going through the rotary to one of the further exits, you stay in your left lane.

These are not necessary for where we live. At all. But for some reason, Suburbia decided that they just…I don’t know. Look cool? Save money? I truly do not know. What I do know is, they suck. Let’s be honest, 90% of the population can’t handle a simple merge onto a highway, much less make a quick decision when faced with four routes to choose from in a big circle.

I’ve studiously avoided the rotaries as much as possible. But now because they are building a hospital on my usual route and it took me 6 minutes to get a left turn light, I am forced to take the rotary. As a result, I am pretty sure Wee ‘Burb’s first full sentence is going to be a string of expletives, followed by her mimicking the sound of a horn.

The lanes are clearly marked, if you are going straight (yes, because somehow going straight is an option in this messed up version of a rotary), you go in one lane. If you are curving, you go in another.

I’m not without sympathy here. A confession: when I discovered these in MA, I would do about anything to avoid them. I would go miles out of my way just to make sure that I did not have to enter the vortex of speeding cars. But I was 16, a new driver, and I got over it. And when I did have to face it, I followed the logical setup and nobody died.

Mostly, people just stop and stare for a minute or two. Occasionally, a car in the rotary thinks the one merging on to the rotary has the right of way and stops for a minute or two.

But a few weeks ago I saw, hands down, the most insane and idiotic thing I have EVER witnessed…for sure with rotaries, possibly with all driving in general. This person in front of me stopped dead to look at the signs, presumably. And then realizing they had missed their exit, they backed up!!!

Let me slow this down for you: they backed up…on a circle! It’s a circle!

You will, I promise, get to your desired destination. You will not, I promise, be stuck like in European Vacation pointing out: “Look, kids, Big Ben!”

I think I may need to start walking to the grocery store.


Erica said...

hahahhaha- it drives me crazy when people don't know how to navigate these. Especially when they just stop and wait and wait and wait. SO frustrating!

Hanna said...

Hey Stephanie! Thanks for your comment on my Bento! Yes, It was my first one but I have looked at a lot of photos:) It took me about 10 minuets! TOtally worth the time I think! My little guy loved it. Have a great day and I hope to see you around soon!

Christina said...

we have a couple of these too. people just need to GO!

Kristy said...

I think I would have to avoid those things like the plague if I lived in the city or suburbs. That's one of the few good things about living in the middle of nowhere. Since there's not much traffic, we don't have to deal with such weirdness.

Kristy said...

I love those things, I think they're great! But yes, you get some real idiots out there trying to think too hard to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Oh lord...they only just finally opened up all of the roads they had closed in my city and near the city where I work. It's a godsend really because for the last year, driving has been a living nightmare.

Good luck, lady.