City Council Drops Plan To Turn Downtown Into Giant Roundabout

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Monday, March 21, 2005

from the all-hail-the-power-of-speak-out dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The plan seemed simple enough. The city would convert Water Street into a one-way avenue in order to accomodate a wider sidewalk and more parking. Meanwhile, Main Street would remain one-way southbound.

However, when one city councilmen suddenly realized that this plan would turn downtown into a veritable roundabout, the idea was immediately rejected.

"We've already had one bad encounter with roundabouts... we sure don't need another," said Notta Phelon of Ward 3.

Under the original proposal, traffic would have flowed counter-clockwise around the two blocks bounded by Broadway, Water, Independence, and Main Streets. While the traffic pattern would have been rectangular and not circular, the idea was too eerily similar to a roundabout for the city council to tolerate.

"I was all for the idea until I heard the dreaded 'R' word," said Mayor J. Banker. "Why didn't somebody point this out sooner? Here we've been wasting time drawing up specifications for a doomed project."

Downtown merchants in favor of the proposal, however, tried to emphasize the positive aspects of roundabouts. "Strange and unusual traffic patterns will cause visitors to drive more carefully and more slowly," said the manager of the Pretentious Antiques & Shiny Things Emporium. "If they get really confused, they will pull over and ask for directions... and while they're parked, maybe they'll decide to spend some money in our stores. That's a good thing!"

Nevertheless, public opinion has been highly negative of any attempt to bring in "big city" roundabouts, or anything that vaguely resembles them.

"Back in my day, we had traffic jams at every four-way stop and WE LIKED IT!" said one local coot. "One-way streets are for people in big cities, and roundabouts are for European weenies. It's time to put a stop to the French-ification of this country. And don't even get me started about yield signs or cloverleaf interchanges."

The mayor pledged that the city will not pursue any "high-risk" road construction projects during his tenure. "Roundabouts, traffic circles, U-turn ramps, one-way streets, single-point urban interchanges (SPUIs)... they're not worth the trouble, especially if they impact my re-election campaign."