Letters to the editor
August 3, 2005
Several people have written letters to the editor against roundabouts lately. It’s obvious from reading them that these people don’t have clear understandings about how roundabouts work. I have yet to see a good argument against them, but I see many great reasons to install one at the ‘Y.’ The most common argument against roundabouts seems to be that “other people” won’t be able to figure them out. The letter writers don’t think they themselves will have problems, but “other people” will. Come on folks, give me a break! This isn’t rocket science. Once you’ve driven a roundabout one time, you’re an expert! It’s no more complicated than a traffic light or a four-way stop.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Drive up to the roundabout. Make sure you are in the correct lane for the direction you want to go. The correct lane will be clearly marked with signs as you approach the roundabout and with painted arrows on the pavement.
2. If there are no cars in the roundabout, just enter it without stopping and turn right when you get to the street you want. You’re done!
3. If there are cars in the roundabout, wait for an opening. Cars that are already in the roundabout have the right of way. Enter the roundabout when you see an opening.
4. Once you are in the roundabout, you have the right of way. Just drive to the street you want and turn right onto it. Under normal conditions you should not slow down to let other vehicles in. They will get in just fine behind you.
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Another argument that I hear a lot is, “Tourists are lousy drivers.” Are you kidding? Most tourists who visit here drive daily in much more challenging traffic than locals do. We’re talking about people who commute daily in 80 mph bumper-to-bumper traffic. We may be better in snow, but if anything, tourists are better drivers than locals.
South Lake Tahoe
Roundabout would be counterproductive
As a local resident, I would like to throw in my humble opinion regarding the roundabout debate. I believe putting in a roundabout at the “Y” to improve traffic is like giving a Band-Aid to a surfer who has just been attacked by a great white shark. Even if the roundabout works like one of our elected politicians believes it will, what about all of the rest of the gridlock through town on a busy day? So what if you breeze through the “Y” only to be stuck in traffic a block away in either direction.
I believe the bypass road that was proposed years ago from Meyers up behind Pioneer Trail and behind the casinos would make more sense. It would drastically reduce pollution, reduce traffic on Highway 50, and would create an alternate route if needed for public safety situations. For those concerned about possible negative impacts on local business, Placerville had the same concerns prior to Highway 50 going through their town, but Placerville did not go away. Carson City is in the process of building a bypass; their quality of life will improve as a result. I believe that tearing up the “Y” to install a roundabout would be counterproductive at a time when scarce tax dollars should be carefully spent.
South Lake Tahoe
How about a lighted roundabout?
Maybe everybody can be happy with this intersection ruckus solution: Why not create a roundabout with traffic signals? People who want a roundabout get their wish as well as the side who wanted a conventional intersection with traffic signals. Depending on the traffic situation, either the roundabout or traffic signal method of intersection control could be used, thereby achieving maximum efficiency.
South Lake Tahoe
Agency’s problems come from within
The timing of Jim Scripps’ love letter to the TRPA could not have been worse (“Take a broader view with TRPA,” July 25). His letter and the piece about the sewage spill on the North Shore appeared the same day. The spill is only the latest example of how confused the TRPA and apparently this paper are about the TRPA’s function. It also explains why the TRPA is despised by all thinking individuals. They like to promote themselves as being a necessary evil created to protect the lake we all love.
What did they do to prevent this disaster? More importantly, what is their solution to be certain that it never reoccurs?
Considering severe fines against the people involved in the construction of the pier is their knee-jerk response for a “preventative” solution. That is why they would be better known as the Tahoe Regional PUNISHMENT Agency. They are known in the community more for their numerous regulations, expensive arduous permit process and the punishments they dole out than they are for their good deeds. This is very unfortunate … for everyone.
How would fining these people prevent a reoccurrence of such a disaster?
The TRPA received $8,834 from these individuals and had more than four years to examine the permit application for constructing this pier. What TRPA environmental expertise did their time and money buy them?
When disaster strikes, rather than looking within to see where they erred, the TRPA looks to pass the buck and place blame on anyone and everyone except themselves.
The TRPA rules have been increasing since their inception, and they are so complicated that people need to hire a consultant (often a former TRPA employee) to not only explain the rules but also to help one comply with them.
This not only significantly adds to the cost of obtaining a permit, but as this case illustrates, affords no protection.
The TRPA should formally apologize for failing us all. They won’t. In addition, there had better be some drastic changes within to be certain nothing like this ever happens again.
We’ll all be waiting to see what, if any, changes there are.
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