This summer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Iron Range city of Hibbing will install a two-lane roundabout at the intersection of Highways 169 and 37. News of this change has already caused many Range residents to go, “blurggle, blurggle, a-fuff-fuff-fuff!”
This is one of Hibbing’s busiest intersections. I spend a portion of most mornings and afternoons sitting at this red light. Fifty other people and I idle in place watching a near-empty intersection because they hired a fascist semaphore engineer years ago.
So a roundabout could actually work quite well here. That is, so long as people are willing to learn how to use a roundabout correctly.
The Hibbing Public Library shared a video animation of how the new Highway 169 roundabout will look once in service:
The problem I have is that the little animated drivers in the little animated vehicle are doing it all wrong. No one is yielding properly. At times traffic comes to a full stop. I’m left wondering if the goal was to show how Hibbing drivers will actually use the roundabout for the first 5-9 years.
Incidentally, MNDOT and the city of Hibbing seem to anticipate these fears in this “Myths and Facts about Roundabouts” video:
Personally, I am glad that the video doesn’t show the Griswold family locked in a perpetual roundabout spiral:
Because, according to the infuriated id of the masses, that’s a possibility.
Anyway, put me down as pro-roundabout. It’ll be fine, even better … eventually. Yet we would be wise to brace for the outrage as stubborn drivers sharpen their rage daggers, and perhaps as someone goes Baha over the median within the first couple weeks.
Patience will win out in time.
Such are the hazards of progress.