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The Suburbanite
  • Postcard from Green: Roundabout a traffic oddity

  • Green’s roundabout conveniently gets cars around traffic congestion at crowded intersection

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  • Where a motorist might expect a traditional intersection, a driver finds a circular street — all curves and no corners. Even turning onto Massillon Road or Steese Road is a gradual change in direction, a roundabout entrance.
    Indeed, signs call this meeting of the roads in southern Summit County a “roundabout,” and it may be sign central for the City of Green.
    “Yield,” one sign says, before adding on a second sign, “To Traffic in Roundabout.” If you’re not sure about your appropriate direction by that time, a third sign says “ONE WAY” inside an arrow and points appropriately for you.
    No less than five yield signs are present at the roundabout, which is really not a circle, the city’s website notes. Cars seldom stop at the roundabout, although they may slow to let circling traffic pass. That’s the point of this particular road design, the website explains — to reduce the speed of cars passing through the heavily-traveled intersection and thus to lower the number of accidents involving those vehicles.
    Such roundabouts are common in such European cities as London, where circular streets are called “circuses.” That comes from the Latin meaning “circle,” research tells us, but, no doubt, they can become sort of a circus if rules of the round roads are not followed.
    In American cities of the Northeast, large circular streets might be called traffic circles or rotaries, and they often are three or four lanes wide. If you could get “lost forever ’neath the streets of Boston” on subways, as the song says, surely an inside lane driver could get trapped on a traffic circle for a distressing portion of his life, becoming, one might sing, “the motorist who never returned.”
    Motorists easily emerge from Green’s two-lane roundabout, a rare road construction in the area. Vehicles circle around until it’s their chosen time to exit, then roll off in the right direction.
    Yellow pedestrian signs allow walkers to enter the fray, crossing Massillon and Steese roads outside the roundabout.
    No crosswalks lead to the heavily shrubbed island that is used to direct traffic, well, round about it. No traffic light is present to allow the entry, and certainly there seems no need for people to intrude on traffic flow. This is not a place for a walk in the park.
    It’s a point in the roads to keep people in cars and trucks moving in a relatively scenic manner. The roundabout is pleasant enough to look at and offers a change of pace for motorists who are passing through Green.
    Open your window and you’ll hear mostly road sounds — wheels against pavement, engine noise and a surprisingly rare honk of a horn at a motorist who has yielded for what seemed too long for the driver behind him.
    Page 2 of 2 - This was not designed to be a place that raises ire. It’s supposed to be a convenient way around the anger that arises at intersections.
    Literally.

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