What happened to the traffic circle at the corner of 156th Ave NE and NE 56th Way?


Windows Live Local and Google Maps both show a traffic circle at the corner of 156th Ave NE and NE 56th Way, but if you pay the intersection a visit in person, you won't find one. It was replaced with a speed bump in 2005. Why?

I stumbled across the explanation completely by happenstance. There was a small article in the local newspaper that described an accident that occurred elsewhere in Redmond at a traffic circle. A car was driving down the street in excess of the speed limit and failed to negotiate the circle, resulting in the car going off the road. In the flurry of legal action that ensued, somehow the City of Redmond ended up being held responsible for creating "dangerous driving conditions" or something like that. As a result, the City of Redmond went around removing all the city's traffic circles and replacing them with speed bumps.

Apparently, in this country, a city can be held responsible for conditions that are dangerous to people who are willfully violating the law by exceeding the posted maximum safe speed.

Minor league baseball team the Altoona Curve announced a Salute to Frivolous Lawsuit Night promotion for their game on July 2, though it may be that their lawyers subsequently advised against it, since it doesn't appear on their official list of promotions... Perhaps they feared a frivolous lawsuit.

Comments (57)
  1. Zack says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the speed limit isn’t the "maximum safe speed." It’s more like "the most common speed" because (decades of research show) the safest speed is the uniform speed.

    The feds regulate this by regulating the content of the speed limit sign (see: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003r1/part2/part2b1.htm#section2B13 ). The general theory is called rational speed limits (seriously).

    This is important for two reasons. First, when the local soccer moms want to lower the speed limit and increase enforcement for "safety," the odds are that their actions will make the roadway less safe. Second, when you contest your ticket for "just driving normally" on one of those roadways, it helps to know the law.

  2. BobDobbs says:

    Ah… these are called roundabouts in the UK some places seem to be covered in them

  3. david clark says:

    this is a video of some college kids driving in every lane at 55 mph around the permimeter of Atlanta, GA – I285.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1121745508403211770&q=55+atlanta

  4. Ross Bemrose says:

    Zack, that’s precisely why traffic circles are installed.  People don’t slow down when the speed limit changes, but they have to when the shape of the road does… unless you’re an idiot like the person mentioned by Raymond and lose control.

    That the person was able to successfully sue the city for creating dangerous driving conditions is just insane.

    david, that video’s pretty funny, particularly near the end when you see the line of cars following them.

  5. Gene says:

    Thank god. Traffic circles suck.

    They’ve started putting them in the new subdivisions because they think it makes them look fancy and rich.

    After they notice Orlando drivers have no clue[1] how do drive around a traffic circle, and the homeowner’s association gets sued, they take them out.

    Or they get tired of the local college kids using them as mini race tracks at 3am.

    [1] I could just stop there and it would be true.

    Anyway, since speed bumps indicate an unsafe area (otherwise why would they force you to slow down in that manner) I always use my air horns to make sure no one runs over me.

    On every single speed bump.

    For the entire time I need to slow down, hit the speed bump and accelerate back to normal speed.

  6. Gene says:

    That the person was able to successfully sue the city for creating dangerous driving conditions is just insane.

    Well, they DID create a dangerous driving condition, otherwise the guy wouldn’t have crashed! Yes, the city deserved to be sued and lose.

  7. Adrian says:

    Ironically, traffic circles are often installed in order to make speeders slow down.

    The recently put some in near me, one near an elementary school where lots of commuters go too fast in the morning.  The neighborhood petitioned the city to do something.  The result was a traffic circle, a sign ("Welcome to our neighborhood, please slow down"), and two massive speed bumps.

    I’ve seen three cars lose control in the circle and crash through the block wall surrounding the yard of a house on the corner.  The city keeps rebuilding the guy’s wall and putting cement posts in front of it, but they keep going through.  I wonder if that guy signed the original petition.

  8. Adam says:

    "After they notice Orlando drivers have no clue[1] how do drive around a traffic circle […]"

    Why not? Seriously. I mean, you do still have to take a driving test over there, don’t you? Hell, you even get driving lessons at school, don’t you?

    So, apart from the /usual/ lack-of-clue that many drivers exhibit most of the time, what’s so special about rounda^H^H^H^H^H^Htraffic circles that makes people particularly clueless?

  9. Maurits says:

    Seems to me the only solution is to take out all the nice straight roads and replace them with a series of sharply winding turns.  This will create safe driving conditions by making sure no-one can get up to unsafe speeds in the first place.

    Replacing the asphalt road surface with molasses may also be worth considering.

  10. DrPizza says:

    "Thank god. Traffic circles suck."

    Er, no, roundabouts are fantastic.  They allow crossroads to be installed whilst still permitting continuous flows of traffic in both directions.  And no expensive traffic lights.

    "Well, they DID create a dangerous driving condition, otherwise the guy wouldn’t have crashed! Yes, the city deserved to be sued and lose. "

    Pretty much any conditions are dangerous if you’re driving with too much speed and too little attention (which this guy necessarily was).  The city cannot be held responsible for that.

  11. Richard says:

    (oblivious to everyone else’s rant about traffic circles and roundabouts).

    Just more proof that these online maps are out of date. The one for the area I work doesn’t even show the buildings – which were build 6 years ago).

  12. Threetwosevensixseven says:

    Traffic circles are quite different from roundabouts.

  13. Gabe says:

    Perhaps I’m the only one who’s ever tried this, but it seems the best way to drive over a speed bump is at regular speed.

    At least if the suspension of your car is in proper order, it is designed to soak up any variations in the road surface and keep the rest of the vehicle level. If you go over the bump slowly, the suspension stays rigid, making the rest of the car follow the shape of the speed bump.

    In other words, speed bumps are most annoying when going slowly over them, so I go fast over them.

    The ironic part is the link Raymond points to indicates a 73% decrease in accidents in Seattle due to traffic circles. As soon as somebody’s injured at an intersection where they replaced a circle with speed bumps, they will have actual grounds to sue.

  14. Bernard says:

    France has traffic circles (aka roundabouts) everywhere. In some cities, they replaced almost every traffic light with one of them. When you enter the circle you need to yield to people who are already in the circle. This creates an intersting dead lock situation at rush hours. If there is enough flow to feed the circle, you may never be able to enter the circle.Luckily, French drivers (I am one of them) are agressive enough to find their way into the circle even when the circle if already full !

    Where I used to leave they had to replace a few of them with… traffic lights to resolve teh dead lock situation.

  15. Ryan Bemrose says:

    Traffic circles are an excellent choice for low-density intersections where traffic from all directions is comparable.  Anywhere that a four-way stop sign would be used, a traffic circle can provide the same control without the need for everybody to come to a complete stop.  The result is more efficient flow, less wear on vehicles, and happier drivers.

    The thing that the state of Washington hasn’t realized is that over a certain traffic threshhold, the circle overloads.  At this point, you get backups in every direction, resource starvation in any non-primary direction, and higher incidence of accidents as frustruated drivers try gutsy moves.  If this happens daily (for moderate to high-traffic intersections) then you really need to replace your traffic circle with a stoplight, which moves more cars through more safely, fairly in each direction.

    And don’t even get me started on the two-lane roundabouts that the State is putting in at busy intersections.  Maybe they work in Europe, but around here, nobody understands how to drive in them — Waaay back in driving school nobody was taught any of the rules of the road for them.  I don’t know how many close-calls I’ve had from idiots who don’t understand how to utilize the lanes.

  16. Mike says:

    Adam, people have no clue about traffic circles/roundabouts nor typically learn about them in driving classes "over here" because we don’t have them.  As in, the closest one I know of to my house is 30 minutes away by freeway in a residential neighborhood that has so little traffic it’s mostly just there for decoration.

  17. JamesW says:

    Swindon isn’t noted for very much, but when it comes to roundabouts it’s world class:

    http://www.swindonweb.com/life/lifemagi0.htm

    @Gabe

    "speed bumps are most annoying when going slowly over them, so I go fast over them."

    Depends on the bump. In the UK there are some which will kill your suspension if take them at speed. However, others behave as you suggest. In particular there is a style of bump when you approach a town’s limits from outside. It is a series of small ridges. When taken slowly my CD player would skip and the ride felt very uncomfortable. Taken at >60mph you hardly noticed them. All academic now – I’m living in India now and the roads seem to be built of nothing but speed bumps over here :)

  18. Sebastian Redl says:

    In my country, it is a crime to drive at exactly the speed limit on the leftmost lane of a freeway, if by doing so you block the progress of another car. (In order to actually make more progress, that other car would have to exceed the speed limit, but this doesn’t matter to the law.)

  19. Boris Zakharin says:

    If you want to see a case where the cirle should not have been used, check out this link The real J says:

    In Ireland I encountered these crazy 4-lane roundabouts with traffic lights inside the roundabout.  Also, their  R-highways (narrow 2-lane highways) seemed to manage traffic speeds by never having a straight streth of road more than a few hundred feet long.  However, as if a joke, before sharp blind turns they’d have the highway speed limit of 100 KPH posted, as if daring you to even try to make the turn at that speed.

  • matt says:

    Sebastian – that’s the law here in Washington as well.   Does not apply to the carpool lane though.

  • John C. Kirk says:

    Looking at Raymond’s original comment, it seems crazy to me that the city can be liable in that situation.

    Regarding the college video, I wonder whether the law is significantly different in the US? In the UK, you’re only allowed to leave the "slow lane" on a motorway if you’re overtaking, which I guess implies that if the traffic in that lane was travelling at 70mph then the other lanes should be empty. (There are exceptions when you have to "get in lane" for a particular exit, but that’s the general rule.) Also, it’s very much frowned on to use a mobile phone while driving – I don’t think it’s explicitly illegal yet, but it could be taken as a sign of "driving without due care and attention". I don’t want to start a debate about whether those policies are good/bad, I’m just curious about whether the students completely missed the point by saying "We’re obeying the law".

  • Gabe says:

    I grew up around the corner from http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=52.107327,72.597656&q=fairmount+circle&ll=41.48623,-81.535732&spn=0.006076,0.008862&om=1 so I thought I knew my way around traffic circles. The first time I came upon one here (http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=52.107327,72.597656&om=1&ll=41.511108,-81.487167&spn=0.003037,0.004431&t=h) though, I was dumbfounded.

    It turns out that all I understood were roundabouts, while those little ones are actual traffic circles.

  • Adam says:

    OK – I looked at the trafficcalming site linked to by Raymond in the original post, but I can’t figure out the difference between a traffic circle and a roundabout. According to the site: "Unlike Traffic Circles, roundabouts are used on higher volume streets to allocate right-of-way between competing movements." Um…how is that different? Do you have different words for traffic-lighted intersections when they’re used on high volume roads than you do for low volume roads?

    In the UK, we have both, and we call them both "roundabouts". We also have "mini-roundabouts", which are painted circles in the road no more than a couple of meters across, but which must be navigated like roundabouts.

    Also, if they aren’t common – so what? Don’t you at least learn about them? We don’t have many level crossings here in the UK and I’ve very rarely used them in >10 years of driving. I still know what the sign for one looks like and what I’m supposed to do if I come across one.

  • ::wendy:: says:

    Roundabouts,  is used properly are traffic calmers and support traffic-self-reulating flow.  used properly = following legal regulations,  unlike the guy in the accident.

    A fabulous example of self-regulating flow on roundabouts is the ‘Magic Roundabout’ in Swindon UK,  essentailly 5 rounsbouts in a star shape.  Few people cross these at more than 5mph….  others just avoid using them (take another route).  very safe if you don’t ‘speed’ and forget to use your steerring wheel….

    http://www.swindonweb.com/life/lifemagi0.htm

  • but... says:

    but you can’t call the lawsuit against Redmond a frivolous lawsuit because the judge or jury concluded it had merit (it won).  The key is that the description that Redmond "somehow" was found to have created a dangerous condition means we don’t know how they reached that conclusion.  Without knowing their reasoning, we don’t know whether they were being logical or crazy.

  • Maurits says:

    According to Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_circle

    "In roundabouts, as distinct from traffic circles, entering traffic must yield to traffic already in the circulatory roadway."

  • Adam says:

    Thanks for that link. So, traffic circles can:

    o provide straight path for higher speed.

    o permit parking within the circle.

    o [allow] left-turning vehicles [to pass] to the left of the central island.

    Eeek! No wonder you don’t build many of them!

    Even the "entering traffic has priority" seems a bit freaky, but I suspect that’s more of a "getting used to it" thing than a "that sounds dangerous however you were brought up" thing.

  • Dave says:

    "Well, they DID create a dangerous driving condition, otherwise the guy wouldn’t have crashed! Yes, the city deserved to be sued and lose."

    He crashed because he was breaking the speed limit.  *He* created the dangerous driving condition.  Should a city be sued if some nutter attempts a take a slight curve at 180mph and comes off the road?!

  • Vince P says:

    In Chicago, traffic circles are a relatively new thing.  Here they are used only at intersections of the smallest streets. In other words, residential side streets that have only one lane in each direction.

    These things are being retrofited, so the intersection is no bigger or smaller than it was before.

    They suck. Everyone who has to deal with them hate them, not only that, all these intersections used to be 4-way stop sign type intersections AND STILL ARE. You still have to stop at the intersection. This link is an example of one.

    http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=41.831798~-87.6486&style=a&lvl=18

  • Claw says:

    If you use the bird’s eye view in Windows Live Local, you’ll see that it’s updated and the circle is gone (though you still see a mark from where it used to be):

    http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=ry8rk34tp1rb&style=o&lvl=2&scene=3688606&sp=aN.ry8rq04tp1rw_Traffic%2520Circle___

  • Mike Dunn says:

    Also, if they aren’t common – so what? Don’t you at least learn about them?

    Actually, no.

    There are only a handful of them in west LA, and the first time I had to make a left turn at one I was like "HTF do I go through this thing?"  It’s something that you only have to do once to learn, but that first time can be a doozy.

  • JamesW says:

    The Swindon magic roundabout is so good it deserved to be mentioned
    twice. However, even though I am from the UK I think I must concede
    defeat to the French.

    This http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&ll=48.873762,2.294683&spn=0.003747,0.011115&t=k&om=1
    is the roundabout to rule them all. Pity the photo was taken at a quiet
    time of day, it’s much more interesting when it’s busy. Ah, that’s more
    like it: http://www.mcgalliard.org/content/albums/arc_de_triomphe/image07.jpg

  • Ross Bemrose says:

    I guess all the ones I’ve seen near where I live are roundabouts.  All of them have yield signs at the entrances, thus giving priority to traffic already on the round road.

  • Tim says:

    It’s interesting reading about speed bumps – a local council in a district of London went a bit mad with traffic calming a few years back, and put lots of speed bumps in residential areas.

    This was fine until the first time they needed to drive an ambulance from the area to a hospital while carrying someone with a spinal injury :-(.  

    Even going as slow as you like, that’s not something you want to do. Basically, there were no routes out that did not have speed bumps (this is not the only example; Google for it.  One hospital even put speed bumps on their internal roads).

    On the whole though, I’m in favour of traffic calming measures.  Most drivers are too damn arrogant and drive too damn fast.  Unlike (it would seem) 99% of people in the UK, I also have no problem with speed cameras, as long as the speed limit is clearly posted.  (Yes, I do actually drive.)

  • James says:

    Tim: Worse than that, some idiots up here in Scotland installed a set of "traffic calming measures" (flower beds blocking alternate lanes, forcing traffic to take it in turns to navigate the resulting chicane!) – a mile from the area’s only hospital. Watching ambulances doing wheelies through that on emergency calls is almost funny, provided you’re sure you’ll never need to travel in one yourself…

  • Andy "Down" says:

    In Sweden temporarily exceeding the speed-limit is allowed if it is warranted by the traffic situation. It is also allowed while overtaking, since overtakes are safest when they are as short as possible.

  • The UK’s mini-roundbouts, mentioned above by Adam, first started infesting the country like a rash in the 1980s. This junction in Bedford, England: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&t=h&om=1&ll=52.139444,-0.475078&spn=0.000654,0.001829 was converted from traffic lights to a mini-roundabout in the first flush of enthusiasm for them among the council’s traffic management people. The accident rate at that junction roughly doubled within two years; it’s now been changed back to traffic lights for quite a while.

    Still, about half a mile away there’s still this junction: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&t=h&om=1&ll=52.139538,-0.480209&spn=0.000654,0.001829 where traffic travelling west has to stop to give way to traffic travelling south from the side road, then enter the roundabout where it has to stop again for eastbound traffic turning south before entering the second roundabout. On a busy day confusion reigns supreme as people from all different directions try to work if they have priority, start moving into a position where they actually do, then suddenly realise it’s been snatched away from them again – they usualy realise as a Volvo suddenly turns across the road in front of them when they expected it to stop. I try to take another route when I have occasion to visit Bedford.

    But yes, Swindon’s Magic Roundabout (now its official name) takes the biscuit.

  • Mark Sowul says:

    Wow, evidently Raymond’s blog was enough to bring that "55 around the perimeter" video up to Google’s "movers and shakers" http://video.google.com/videomovers/usa (#48 as of this post)

  • Ian Argent says:

    For more fun – the roundabout/traffic circle referenced above in NJ ( http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1+valley+rd,+Clark,+NJ+07066&ll=40.627019,-74.305049&spn=0.003819,0.010815&t=h&om=1%22%3E ) violates a pretty basic "feature" of these things in that it has inconsisent right-of-way rules. In most of the circle, traffic in the circle has right-of-way. However, on one of the feeder routes, traffic ENTERING the circle has right-of-way.  (Central Avenue feeding the circle at 10-11 o’clock or so.)

    NJ DOT is supposed to have a 20-year plan to wipe out traffic circles. I don’t know how they’re going to remove this one. Also, there’s another traffic circle not too far away that was recently REFURBISHED and IMHO made less safe to enter by forcing a feeder street that was essentially tangent to the circle to feed in such that the feeder is now entering the circle radially. Let me see if I can find a useful pic of it

    OK – http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1+valley+rd,+Clark,+NJ+07066&ll=40.627019,-74.305049&spn=0.003819,0.010815&t=h&om=1%22%3E shows the old configuration of the circle.

    Imagine, if you will, that the road tangent at 6 o’clock is blocked by an island placed just about where the car in that pic at 6 o’clock is, and that the road now enters the circle as though the road visible at 7 o’clock was the primary feeder (IE, the entrance is now intersecting the circle rather than being tangent to it – the new entrance is about where the island at 8 o’clock is). The rest of the circle has been expanded and set up in such a way that the old traffic flows which let you just skim the circle are now forcing you to enter the traffic pattern of the circle. It’s a LOT more dangerous now since you HAVE to involve yourself in the circle.

  • Jolyon Smith says:

    Haven’t been there in years, but I worked for a while in Hemel Hempstead (near London, UK) where a local landmark was known by the name "The Magic Roundabout".

    This consisted of a series of 6 (I think it was 6) roundabouts, or traffic circles, which were in turn arranged in a circular configuration – a circle of circles so to speak.

    Fractal traffic management anyone?

    :)

  • Mika Hirvonen says:

    I’d like to think that Finland has somewhat reasonable roundabouts:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=&ll=60.263134,25.069149&spn=0.002182,0.007145&t=k&om=1

    Basically, in the center of the roundabout is a raised part as high as a normal curb. Around it is a part that’s slightly raised. And on the outer edge is the road itself. This allows heavy traffic (like trucks and buses) to negotiate the roundabout easily.

    The vehicles already in the roundabout have a right-of-way, and anyone joining the roundabout has to yield. They work quite well under medium and light traffic and keep the average speed of the traffic higher than traffic lights. And even under heavy traffic, it never gets gridlocked.

    Of course, we do have traffic circles as well:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=&om=1&t=k&ll=60.213658,24.884849&spn=0.002185,0.007145

    The outer lane is used for both entering and exiting the circle. If you are going to drive to the opposite side of the circle, you’re supposed to use the inner lanes. On each entrance and exit, there are traffic lights. This makes the traffic move in pulses. So if you are foolish enough to actually use the inner lanes, it’s possible to get stuck in the circle in heavy traffic. The pulses leave no room for lane-changing, so you have to rely on the goodwill of others to get back to the outer lane and eventually exit the circle.

  • John Greenan says:

    Oh yes, the Magic Roundabout in Hemel Hempstead is still there – http://www.multimap.com/map/photo.cgi?client=public&X=505500&Y=206500&scale=10000&width=700&height=400&gride=507184.04330654&gridn=207205.1982241&lang=&db=freegaz&coordsys=gb

    I took an American friend around it and she simply sat there baffled and dumbfounded.  It’s pretty hard to describe how it works, it’s like a roundabout that you can drive around in both directions with five smaller roundabout arranged around it.  Very strange, but it works very well…

  • Norm says:

    Ok, 2 ways to ensure people don’t drive fast into Traffic Circles (aka Roundabouts)

    1. Widen the Cicle which makes it near impossible to drive thru the traffic circle.

    2. Paint yellow approach lines (horizontal raised lines decreasing in distant nearer to the traffic circle). This warns drivers to slow down. As the driver approach bumps from the lines get faster as the driver approaches the traffic circle.

    Easy – We in the have different types, varing on the type of road.

  • Ric says:

    JohnCKirk: "Also, it’s very much frowned on to use a mobile phone while driving – I don’t think it’s explicitly illegal yet"

    Please tell me you’re joking John!! Using a mobile phone whilst driving has been an offence since December 1 2003!! £30 fixed penalty (no points), up to £1k (or £2.5k for goods drivers) if you take it to court and DWDCAA or Dangerous Driving if involved in an acident whilst using a phone. I thought all the idiots who cut me up whilst dring one handed on the phone were just blatently ignoring the law, seems some might be ignorant of it to!

  • Ryan says:

    "It’s interesting reading about speed bumps – a local council in a district of London went a bit mad with traffic calming a few years back, and put lots of speed bumps in residential areas.

    This was fine until the first time they needed to drive an ambulance from the area to a hospital while carrying someone with a spinal injury :-(.   "

    Bellevue here in Washington solved that one by putting gaps in the speed bumps the with of fire equipment’s tires so the equipment could drive down the middle of the road at full speed. Indiana banned speed bumps on most public roads because of the safety hazarad they posed during an emergency response.

  • C Gomez says:

    Traffic circles also serve the purpose of delivering unambiguous right of way.  On many smaller scale intersections they are far more efficient than four way stops in regulating traffic, and certainly far safer.

    The current 4 way stop system in the U.S. just means we drive around looking for backs of stop signs and then wait to see who is going to go (regardless of right-of-way rules).

    I can’t go so far as they say they are superior in every respect, but certainly at low impact intersections they are far more useful than stop signs.

  • Sam Williams says:

    I drive home on 156th past that spot everyday.  About 2 years ago I was cussed out by the owner of the house on the NE corner of that intersection.  She shook her fist and yelled at me, so I stopped my car and walked back to talk to her.  She vented a while and said that her house had been hit by a car going around the circle, that several others have wound up on her lawn, and that with all the kids in the neighborhood I should be ashamed of myself for going fast (I was).  She was in the process of building a landscape-brick wall to deflect cars at the time the circle was removed.  It is still there — I’m hoping she’ll add razorwire and ablative armor.

  • Idiots and the power of the law.  Scary combination.  I’ve just put this up in the "Urban Intelligence" section of the Journal, as an object lesson for urban professionals everywhere.  (http://www.urban-strategic-intel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=6&Itemid=28)

    Loved the video!

    I think you’re right about slowing traffic by designing limited passage areas:  speed bumps just irritate drivers and neighbours, but when the actual carriageway is narrower, most people are happy to slow down and try not to hit kerbs, trees, parked cars and passing children.  Then again, there are always exceptions.

    Mike

  • Mika Hirvonen says:

    There is a street not far from my place where the narrowings are simply absurd. On a half-kilometer street, there are 4 speed bumps and 3 narrowed spots. There’s even a spot where a normal car just barely fits through two poles without breaking the mirrors. Max speed on that street is thus roughly 20 km/h. Why?

    That street is on the border of Helsinki and Vantaa. It used to be the fastest way between the suburbs of Eastern Helsinki and the suburbs of Eastern Vantaa. Thus, it was favored by commuting traffic, delivery trucks and other traffic. The street goes through a normally quiet suburb, so understandably the locals were somewhat unhappy. The politicians from both cities got involved and threats were made to close the street altogether.

    Finally, a compromise was reached. The street would remain open, but now it’s so slow to drive that a multi-kilometer detour is actually faster.

  • Dave Harris says:

    "Apparently, in this country, a city can be held responsible for conditions that are dangerous to people who are willfully violating the law by exceeding the posted maximum safe speed."

    Sounds right to me. Otherwise they could place landmines that only active when driven over at more than the posted speed limit. Placing a death-trap roundabout is only slightly less stupid.

  • Greg M says:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1+south+st,+01519&ie=UTF8&ll=42.206464,-71.685437&spn=0.003517,0.005617&t=h&om=1

    This was obviously not engineered at all, just a bunch of roads that probably used to be cow paths, and are now paved.  There are no traffic signals here, save for one flashing yellow/red light.

    The traffic coming into the common from the north and heading out to the west has the right of way.  Everything on the other 6 roads that converge on the common is a free-for-all.

  • Rowland Shaw says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned my favorite in Colchester:

    http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=51.884342~0.931413&style=a&lvl=18&scene=4267202

    Bus route to the North East and North West. Dual carridgeway to the South East and North. University and retail to the South West (with it’s associated accomodation predominatly to the North East).

    Driving around it makes Hemel’s look tame, and Swindon’s positviely boring…

  • anonymous says:

    In Eugene Oregon, traffic circles near the university are an integral part of campus life. I mean, where else would you burn couches and university catering golf carts on halloween night?

  • Cooney says:

    Mauritus:

    > Seems to me the only solution is to take out all the nice straight roads and replace them with a series of sharply winding turns.

    Yes please.

    /dirves an MR2

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