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Monday, October 26, 2015

Circles

Some of my vacation time was dedicated to research.

Another roundabout (Penndot says don't call them "traffic circles") opened at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport exit of Interstate 81 in Luzerne County.  I drove around on a recent morning to get a feel for the layout.

The first, several months ago, was met with unenthusiastic reviews, and I was part of the crowd.  The second has done nothing to change my mind.  The layout is confusing and the signs and pavement markings are of little help.

Parts of the interchange improvement project were badly needed.  The Interstate 81 acceleration and deceleration ramps have been lengthened.  Safety improvement.  Bravo!

Extending Navy Way from the airport entrance to the industrial park should cut down on truck traffic at the Pittston exit.  Double bravo!

Roundabouts?  Are you kidding me?  In what universe are circles with multiple entry and exit points better and safer than straight lines?  If there was an issue at an intersection, put up a traffic light.  Problem solved.

As I've noted before, the roundabouts were a solution in search of a problem.  Since the yearly summer air shows stopped, how many times have you heard someone complain about the congestion at the airport exit?  It's a safe bet the answer is "never."

Penndot will counter that its statistics show roundabouts are safer, and it is only planning for future growth.  That's all well and good, but it's not much of an argument.  This interchange needed some minor changes, not a major overhaul.

I still have a long way to go before I retire, and I have the feeling I'll be standing along the road one day, doing a story on how roundabouts are a thing of the past, and it's time to re-do the interchange, again.  This time, the right way.