Is it a Roundabouts or a Silly Circle?
You know that moment. . . . you look down a road well traveled, a road you use all the time, and there it is . . . . road closed, construction ahead! You bite your lip and take a deep breath and think, OK, I have to figure out a way around this . . . . I wonder how long the road will be closed . . . . .I wonder what they are doing . . . . .is it really closed or can sneak through all the heavy equipment?!!? Hopefully my car won't bottom out too bad!!
That was my thought last year. We live in between two small towns. One is Allendale, MI (home of GVSU) and the other is Coopersville, MI. Coopersville is even smaller than Allendale. Coopersville is where I grew up, where I went to high school, where I had my first job, where I got fired from my first job (only job ever fired from I might add), where I drove my first car,where I smashed up my first car and where I met my first love (and married him). It is a small little town with very little traffic. When I saw the entire intersection ripped up, I wondered what in the heck they were doing--a small little town certainly doesn't need a big intersection like that.
What I found out was that they were building something called a roundabout. Roundabout!!!! What the heck is that?!?!?? I found out it is an intersection where everyone drives around in a circle to get through to where they want to go. Does this sound absolutely ludircous to anyone but me?!! Now I will concede, this is a busy intersection because it is the main ramp that everyone from Hudsonville, Jenison, Standale and many other communities use to get on a major expressway. In the summer, there are a million campers that go through there to head up north to to their camping destination. But come on!!! I know that in the summer campers can be lined up for a couple miles but it still seemed a little unnecessary. I also learned that Coopersville was one of the first communities in West Michigan to put one in . . . . .great!!! The guinea pig town.
My second thought was, I drive a big flippin rig!! It is a big Chevy Duramax diesel and we pull a 32 foot living quarters goose neck horse trailer!! I'll never make it through there I thought. I am paranoid enough when I have to drive that rig, now they are going to make an obstacle course for me!! To make matters worse, the vet is just on the other side--as in you can see it from the intersection . . .but it's on the other side . . .I have to go through it. This roundabout was the talk of the town and before it was done it had a nickname . . .The Silly Circle.
The day came and the Silly Circle was completed. I got myself a cup of coffee at the java joint on the corner where the "Silly Circle" was newly opened. It was absolutely comical--no one had a clue on what they were suppose to do. In the two hours I sat there, we logged 15 near misses and one fender bender. We all sat there talking about who the chump was that thought up this great plan.
Now here we are, almost a year later, and I have to tell you that . . . .jeez I hate to even admit it . . . .I love the Silly Circle!!! You never have to wait for a stop light, it is never backed up anymore and it is really fast to get through . . . .even with a 40 some odd foot rig. There are two lanes and the big rigs take up both, but it is really easy to navigate. I have actually driven the rig through and not hit a curb (she says proudly to her husband who was sure SHE would be the first one to dent the rig). Once you get used to it, it isn't that bad. First rule, ALWAYS yield to those already in the Silly Circle. Second rule, stay in the outside lane unless you're taking both lanes. There is one thing I haven't figured out--if your on the inside circle and your are going to leave it, how can you go straight and not hit someone who is in the outside lane continuing around the circle?
Anyway, moral of the story is that sometimes you may think people are crazy for doing something that seems, shall we say, out there. But in the end, they are probably just the adventurous ones daring enough to do something new. And to the people sitting on the board at the Coopersville Chamber . . . . . I'm sorry I called you chumps!!
round about sign picture courtesy of FreeFoto.com