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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Time for a refresher on driving through, not over, traffic circles

by Frank Fellone | February 12, 2022 at 3:12 a.m.

Dear Mr. Mahatma: The new traffic circle at the intersection at Arkansas 5 and Arkansas 7 had been open less than one week when the driver of a Lexus with a handicap placard hanging from the rearview mirror (another traffic violation) made a left turn into and over the curb of the traffic circle, snarling traffic for a substantial amount of time while the local sheriff helped the confused lady back out of the circle. In the ever-entertaining words of Murphy's Law, "nothing is fool proof, because fools are so ingenious." -- Valerie

Dear Val: You make us think of The Monkees, although their song title was spelled "Valleri." Close enough.

You also make us think of the friend who accused us of getting at least a dozen columns out of traffic circles and roundabouts and hotly debated pros and cons of the proliferating things.

Nay, nay, nay. Only three. Maybe four.

No doubt this little old Hot Springs Village lady was unfamiliar with traffic circles. May we reiterate some rules?

When approaching a traffic circle, look at the signage. It will define the exits.

Slow down. Because traffic circles are designed for slow speeds.

Yield to traffic already in the circle.

Watch out for pedestrians; they have right of way.

Don't stop. Miss an exit? Go back around.

Signal to exit right.

Yo, Grandma, don't be driving your nice Lexus up and over the center island.

Vanity plate seen around Searcy: JESUS3.

Dear Circle expert: I think I may be the only person in the state who likes traffic circles, but I would like to know, who picks out the artwork in the middle of them? They obviously have different taste than I do. -- Concerned

Dear Concerned: Little Rock city spokes-guy Spencer Watson said the standard design is for a level grass-covered space. Outside parties -- neighborhood associations, businesses -- who want to sponsor or participate in a landscaping plan will team up with the city for construction and maintenance plans.

Many sculptures in roundabouts in the city have been through that process.

City staff review a proposed sculpture for road design requirements, and help in the installation, but typically don't have input on the nature of the art.

Dear Mahatma: I can't find the exact reference in Scripture but I am convinced traffic circles were designed by Satan, and Hell will feature traffic circles where you are eternally stuck in the inside lane. -- Mr. Baseball

Dear Baseball: You're mixing up your sources. It was Dante, in The Inferno, who put traffic circles in the fourth level of Hell. That's how we remember it from our UALR literature class with the great and beloved Dr. Earl Ramsey.

If Dante were alive, he would add an extra level for baseball owners and players who can't agree on a contract and thus imperil spring training and the 2022 season.

May biting insects invade their shorts.

Vanity plate seen in Little Rock: I AM ME.

Print Headline: Circles can be difficult to square


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