Saturday, August 17th, 2019

You spin me round like a record Wisconsin DOT


I had a lot of fun soliciting comments before writing a column about roundabouts for RightWisconsin, almost as much fun as I had writing it. Any time you can make a Jean Paul Sarte traffic joke in a column, it’s a pretty good column to write.

Now the roundabouts are here in Wisconsin, seemingly everywhere. Distaste for roundabouts is universal, even bipartisan. John Nichols of the Capital Times might like protest drum circles, but he’s no Roundhead. “I don’t think that roundabouts are in the Wisconsin progressive tradition.”

On the flip side, state Rep. John Jagler told me that when he was campaigning in his district last year, nearly all of his constituents wanted to talk to him about roundabouts. “Tons of complaints,” he said.

However, a year later and after more time for people in Jagler’s district to get used to them, only 56% of the residents in his district responding to a survey were not in favor “of the roundabouts as a way of keeping traffic moving and improving safety.” Since I don’t believe the British have invaded Watertown recently, people do see roundabouts as useful even if they can’t stand them.

I think I’ve figured out why. In my own recent online attempts to find out why people hate roundabouts, it’s really about other drivers. Or as Jean Paul Sarte said after a close call in a roundabout in Paris, “Hell is other people.”

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