If you're in, you win:Rules of the roundabout
The Good Life|December 2020
Western Avenue was the freeway of my youth — a straight, uninterrupted stretch of road one mile west of my hometown’s main drag.
JAMIE HOWELL

Without a single stoplight from Saddlerock to Sunrise Circle to slow me down, I could cross town fast enough to sneak in my girlfriend’s window on Springwater for a little high school hanky panky and still make it to hockey practice on time.

Then came the stoplights — Fifth Street, Springwater, Ninth, Maple — chopping up our speedway into safe, and significantly slower, little segments.

But what seemed a travesty to us lead-footed, self-interested teenagers made perfect sense to a civic planner.

At the intersection of Springwater and Western, the evening sun has a way of hitting you in the eyes just so. You might never see that Bronco doing 50 in the 35 until it comes through the driver’s side door. There had been fatalities over the years.

So Western Avenue became slower and safer … and, as the population of the Wenatchee valley grew and the orchards became housing developments, slower and slower still.

Then, about five years ago, our city leaders began delivering the next evolution in traffic technology in the form of the much-despised but eminently logical roundabout.

The idea of a roundabout itself is a laudable one. The goal is to impose a calming effect on traffic...

Roundabouts aren’t exactly new tech. The French put in their giant traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe in 1907.

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