Addressing the source

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Good things come in round packages

By John Pawlak

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about roundabouts, most of it lambasting the county council for galactic stupidity and financial irresponsibility.  
But I’m here to fight for the other side. Yes, I’m going to argue for roundabouts!  
I’ve decided that they are a very viable solution. We need to increase throughput and we need to calm people down.
Any sensible person would agree with the council that Trinity Drive is a death zone, more dangerous than the streets of Fallujah.  
You take your life in your hands when you come within 20 miles of it.  It’s only a matter of time before the government declares Trinity a disaster area and hires Arizonian lawmakers to build a wall around it.
Dave Collins, statistician extraordinaire and webmaster of LA Walks, would agree.
Perhaps you’ve seen the LA Walks funded pro-roundabout commercials aired at Reel Deal.
You know, the ones that show the 1,000 foot diameter roundabouts that enable Boy Scouts to help old ladies across the street?
Walking is a great idea, but in their arguments to convince us that roundabouts are the solution to all our problems, some people use statistics like a drunken man uses lampposts — for support, not for enlightenment.
Roundabouts are in fact the ONLY solution to making Trinity safe again, but we need a sensible, more rational argument to convince people.  
We need real-world examples of how roundabouts can make our lives more comfortable and help us all become happy and productive members of society.
Well, the other day, it came to me. I was at Smith’s. The aisles were gridlocked and the lines were rather long.  Children were screaming and tempers were rising.  
I thought, “Gee, what we need is a way to get these shoppers moving.
And while we’re at it, it would be nice to calm them down a bit!”  
Aha!  The MIG silver bullet hit my forehead with the same poetic beauty that bumpouts did for Central Avenue!  
Put a roundabout in Smith’s!  Yes, it would reduce the chance of head-on shopping cart collisions and make it easier for small children to cross aisles without fear of being trampled by hordes of sale seeking shoppers. There are countless problems that roundabouts can solve for us.  
Put roundabouts in the banks, in the malls, on the playing fields. Seriously, is there any good reason that our young baseball players should have to run around a square?
And since beautification is a primary objective, and bumpouts are the most beautiful things in the world, let’s put bumpouts in the roundabouts!  
Yeah, let’s get recursive and put bumpouts on the bumpouts. Can anyone spell Fractal?
 Before I knew it, I began to realize the true genius of the council’s $40 million roundathon.  
It’s a truly wonderful opportunity for Los Alamos businesses.  
With traffic calmed to a dead standstill, no one will be able to get out of Los Alamos!  
People will pull over, park their cars, and shop at the businesses!  And they’ll walk more!  
Everybody wins!
Of course, with $40 million spent on a three to four year construction project, there won’t be any businesses remaining for all those calm shoppers.
Well, I don’t know.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe spending $40 million on asphalt crop circles isn’t such a bright idea after all.  
Maybe the real solution is to address the problem more upstream.  
You know, go to the source of stupid?
How about putting a roundabout in front of each house of the council members (only ones supporting this idea), Traffic Board and LA Walks.  
And let’s put police officers there to make sure that when someone tries to pull out of their driveway, they give right of way to anyone in the circle.  
Oh, by the way, I’ll be driving in the circles for a few hours, so it might take a while!
Then again, maybe we should look for a far less expensive solution.  
And here’s a round one.  How about buying a box of mouth-sized round corks for members who keep telling us that spending megabucks is the solution for every problem?
This way, maybe they’d stop giving us the run-around?
John Pawlak
Los Alamos Columnist