BPuhl’s Blog

A little bit of everything without actually being much of anything

Bad Combination…

Posted by BPuhl on January 5, 2010

(Non-technical rant in progress…)

Interesting trend happening around Redmond lately.  Over the past few months, there have been 5 different traffic circles built, 3 feeding into one another in Woodinville, and 2 on East Lake Sammish drive in Sammamish.  Both cities border Redmond, and both happen to be roads that I drive frequently.  In fact, I have to go through the 3 circles in Woodinville each morning after dropping my daughter off at school.

So what.  Isn’t it a good thing when a city takes out half a dozen consecutive stop lights, and replaces them with a slow but smooth flowing traffic circle?  Well, if this were in California where I grew up and learned to drive, sure, it would be great.  But this is Washington, and if you’ve ever had the chance to hop on a freeway in or around Seattle, then you’ve probably noticed:  The stop & merge.

Yeah, it seems that drivers in Washington don’t actually know how to merge with traffic, instead, they stop…sit…wait for the orderly flow to slow to a crawl and somebody to wave/honk at them, and then they gun it to try to catch up to speed… 

So kudo’s to the traffic engineers (who I suspect live out of state) for picking a control device which allows for a nice, orderly flow of traffic through these intersections.  It’s too bad they have to get screwed up by the stop and merge.

Oh yeah – and to the beige Toyota Highlander on East Lake Samm this afternoon – Although the sign is red & white – it’s an upside down triangle that says YIELD, it’s not an octagon that says STOP – there is a difference!

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2 Responses to “Bad Combination…”

  1. Deano said

    Traffic circles (aka: roundabouts) are, indeed, the best means I’ve encountered to allow multiple traffic flows to merge without impeding any individual flow (over-crowding a given exception.) That said though, I agree wholeheartedly with you — there’s an absence of aggression/purpose in the driving here in WA that I can’t explain at this scale; I just don’t get it. I am more frustrated driving here than I was by the blue-hairs and snow-birds in FL… never thought I’d say that.

  2. Laura said

    And see, I have a great time driving in WA state, because it seems on par with my level of aggression (or, by your standards, lack thereof) when behind the wheel.

    (Note to self: if going anywhere with Brian or Dean, let them do the driving lest they bludgeon me to death from the passenger seat. :-))

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