The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Op-ed: Beautification & Value vs. Ugly

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I have been a resident of Rancho Santa Fe for almost 20 years and use the corners being considered for roundabouts.  I had an office outside of London for five years.  While I never kept track, I would guess this translated into 40 or 50 days of driving in and around London using roundabouts every day. 

Personal recollections: 

  • In/Out:  It was always easy to get in and out, whereas traffic signals often required waiting when there is nothing to wait for. 
  • Safety:  While I am no expert, I do not think I ever saw or heard of a major accident associated with a roundabout and yet you often read about the horror of running the signal, floating through the stop sign, etc. 
  • Community Appeal:  I can remember vividly the attractiveness of several of the roundabouts near our office and neighborhood.  They almost looked like they were part of the natural setting.  This is obviously in sharp contrast to the stark and basically ugly ‘signal and stop sign habit’ in the United States. 
  • Speed:  I remember someone from the U.S. commenting to me to the effect: “Everyone goes through the roundabout at a reasonable speed … there is no crazy person trying to beat the signal”.  It’s true.
  • Walking:  We had two roundabouts near our office and we would cross them before/after lunch.  My one memory was coming to understand that I only had to look one way and that most of the time that simple check allowed me to go right ahead rather than wait (even when there were no cars). 
  • Property Values:  Again, I am not an expert, but it is difficult to imagine that property values are enhanced with the addition of signals.  In fact, I would think roundabouts would enhance value and signals would decrease value.

In summary, I can’t imagine why we would impose the ‘almost-guaranteed-to- be-ugly’ traffic signal solution versus what can be a substantial beautification and property value enhancement to our community without compromising safety. 

I apologize for this late input as I have been traveling. 

Cordially,

FRED PORT