I've been a longtime skeptic. But one fact has made me an overnight fan.

There’s something about Californians.  The deep cultural hatred for roundabouts displayed itself one afternoon.  My sweet grandparents angrily threw open the newspaper to inform me that their town was soon to be “ruined” by three soon-to-be roundabouts.

I’d seen a similar reaction from my father about 15 years ago.  Also a California native, he looked with disgust at a newly-installed roundabout in my Utah hometown. 

“This will ruin the traffic on this street.”

His reaction was in stark contrast to most Utahns, who seemed a bit apathetic.  Four-way stop?  Traffic signal?  Roundabout?  Who cares?  I’m not paying attention anyway…

Utahns by birth, but probably more Californian by upbringing, I had very mixed feelings about roundabouts.  On one hand, I hated having to tap on the brakes when traffic was light.  On the other, I loved only having to tap on the brakes when traffic was heavy.  The mix of apathy and distaste bubbled to the top of my mind every time I drove through one.

In this video, I explore the benefits of roundabouts — in particular, one life saving benefit that (in and of itself) makes the intersection worthy of every town’s attention.

Road Guy Rob

A 12-year veteran public radio reporter and producer. Rob covered transportation and urban issues. He earned a graduate degree in Civil Engineering (MS) in 2018.

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