Tanner Andrews: Going around in circles - again

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

New Jersey gets very limited respect. People make fun of the “Garbage State” and the myriad strip clubs dotting the eastern portion.

What most people know of New Jersey is what they see out the train window. Most are grateful to fly through there at 100 miles an hour. Commuter stops are quickly forgotten, as no one wants to get off and drive.

Jersey driving has a reputation, due to the traffic circles. There were once more than 100, waiting on unsuspecting drivers. The first, and probably the worst, has two six-lane roads and a two-lane road full of drivers fighting it out.

The New Jersey highway department is now trying to re-brand these things as roundabouts. Good luck with that!

The problem is not in the name. Call them roses, or skunkwork, they are still bad.

Traffic circles encourage wrecks. They also slow things down, interfering with the movement of traffic. Thus, many of the wrecks are minor.

No wonder Florida DOT has fallen in love with them. Most recently, DOT put one in front of the new Walmart south of town. It is hard to say which part was the dumbest: approving a new Walmart traffic hazard right at the funnel on 17-92, or putting a traffic circle to confuse things further.

Locals find alternative routes. That includes me, so I have not yet had the pleasure of watching someone try to get a semitrailer in or out of the parking lot.

With that inspiration, the highway department is now suggesting that we put a traffic circle on Amelia, heading toward Stetson. At the same time, they are thinking that we should lose a lane in each direction.

Last I heard, traffic generally moves better if there are more lanes. Passing is safer on four-lane roads; more surface area means more space for cars, generally. At least, this traffic circle should be exciting.

Being near Stetson, the area tends to be lousy with students. Modern distraction technology being what it is, students are staring at their phones. Drivers, distracted with the confusion of losing lanes in the traffic circle, will be busy running over the students.

Sure, most people condemn the DOT as a bunch of useless revolving dimwits. But understand what hospital marketing departments are thinking — more business, so long as the ambulances do not get confused.

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.

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