, Newburyport, MA


October 14, 2013

In love with the roundabout

To the editor:

I’m in love with whatever is happening at the end of Merrimac Street. That’s right. I’m one of the rare few who are simply elated by this new cobblestone circle of commuting joy.

I’m not one to label love, but this is a roundabout affair that I can’t hide any longer. You see, a roundabout is designed to slow traffic down in order to improve safety. People used to bomb through this particular intersection. There are families with young children who live nearby. Runners, walkers, and bikers. The entrance to Mosley is also here. A rotary is designed to increase the speed of traffic to maintain flow. But this is not a rotary (sorry, speed racer).

I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was all, “Where’s the round part?” And, “This is terrible. Who designed this?!?”

But then it happened. The vague intersection of confusion was replaced with a simple, familiar circle of hope.

As someone who lives up the street from this glorious ring of granite, and I can tell you that the roundabout is already successful. Cars drive slower, it feels safer, and the flow of traffic is smoothing out as people get used to the new way.

I know not everyone shares my opinion. But what’s the real problem here? That you have to drive with caution? That was the intent, neighbor. Is it the snowplows? If they can handle streets the likes of Spring and Fruit, surely they can take on this circle.

This wasn’t love at first, second or third sight. But let me tell you that being in love with a roundabout is so much better than letting one ruin your day.

Julie Carney


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