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Traffic circles

My wife and I recently spent about two weeks in Italy. We drove in the Florence/Bologna/Rimini areas and encountered many traffic circles (roundabouts), both large and small. We thought our observations might relate to the circle planned for Idaho-Maryland Road and Main Street at the freeway, which I use every afternoon.

Traffic circles work well when traffic is light – no one normally has to stop. But as traffic gets heavier, things start to back up and not run so smoothly. When traffic is really heavy, near gridlock results, even for the larger circle sizes. Traffic grinds to a halt. Since there is not much land at Idaho-Maryland/Main Street and the circle will have to be small, we suspect the circle there will be much more of a problem than the existing stop sign system.

Italians are used to circles – they are everywhere. Americans are not and this will be a fiasco. There must be a better solution for that intersection, even if is a more costly traffic light.



Carl Frahme

Grass Valley


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