When government spins us in circles

Print Article

The evidence is in - now can we quit building those dumb roundabouts?

ON THE LONG LIST of things government does to annoy people, taxation undoubtedly will be at the top for everyone.

For good reason. Think about it.

When you wake up in the morning you are being taxed for the privilege of sleeping in the house in which you live. When you flip on the light in the bathroom and run the water for a shower, you are being taxed for the utilities you use. When you hop in the car for the commute to work you are being taxed for the registration and license to own the vehicle. When you arrive at the shop you are being taxed for the income you derive from work. When the day is over and you gas up so you can do it again tomorrow you are being taxed for the fuel. And if you stop for a bite on the way home you're being taxed for the food you eat.

Crazy thing is, government - from the schoolhouse to City Hall, statehouse to the feds - constantly complains about never having enough money to go around.

SO IN THAT LARGER SCHEME of things this may seem a more minor annoyance. We're talking about traffic roundabouts.

Ever since the design started causing Wisconsin traffic engineers to fall madly in love, we've been echoing the complaints we hear from the common working folks who must traverse these goofy things. People think roundabouts are silly. They think roundabouts are confusing. They think roundabouts are ugly. And they think roundabouts are more likely to cause accidents than traditional traffic controls.

Oh, and Americans are not all that enthralled by the frequent refrain that roundabouts are the rage in Europe.

Since when did America start copying Europe?

TURNS OUT FRUSTRATED drivers are right and the traffic engineers are wrong.

The Wisconsin State Journal looked into a study performed by the Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The State Journal gathered data on before-and-after accidents for roundabout locations in Madison, and also reported statewide numbers. The finding: The number of accidents went up with the installation of roundabouts.

For example, at Madison's largest roundabout location, the number of accidents has been rising each year making the location the most dangerous intersection in the city. Statewide, the UW center compared 30 roundabout locations before they opened and afterwards. Of the 30, 23 had more accidents with roundabouts than without them.

So what did traffic engineers tell the State Journal?

"Too many drivers still don't know what they are doing in a roundabout," Madison Traffic Engineer Mark Winter is quoted.

Or, perhaps, too many traffic engineers don't know what they are doing when they pick roundabouts over traditional controls.

OK, LIKE WE SAID, roundabouts will never replace being taxed in every aspect of one's life as citizens' biggest annoyance with government.

But it's easier to quit building roundabouts than it is to stop collecting taxes.

C'mon. Throw us a bone.

Print Article

Read More Editorials

That would not pass a mom test

November 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Political class has raised lying to a national art form. FIRST TIME AROUND, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a congressional committee considering his appointment he had no contacts with any Ru...

Comments

Read More

Paying hush money to hide misbehavior

November 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm | So now we know: Congress uses your money to protect its own. TWO HUNDRED SIXTY settled cases. Fifteen million dollars in payouts. No disclosures. That's the toll in recent years for sexual harass...

Comments

Read More

A Beloit moment in the spotlight

November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Positive outside exposure can give a boost to development. FOR THOSE WHO didn't see it, Beloit did a star turn a few days ago produced by the MSNBC cable television channel. It was all about how ...

Comments

Read More

Roy Moore. This guy is a nutcase

November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | When you nominate a lawless man, don't act surprised when it blows up. DID ROY MOORE, the Republican candidate for U.S. senator in Alabama's Dec. 12 election, do what he is accused of to female te...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2017 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X