Wednesday, September 28, 2011

South KC Drivers Fail

The above snipped from a Google satellite view, is a traffic circle, or roundabout, in south Kansas City. It is at the junction of the entrance to the shopping area at 133rd and State Line Road and Inverness Drive. Inverness goes between 135th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard. It is something of a shortcut if you are coing to the Wal-Mart or Lowes from the north and/or east. Traffic circles like this one are used to slow traffic down and permit turns without making everyone stop all the time. Customarily they show yield signs as you approach them, and you do not need to stop unless someone is already in the circle, making their way towards you. Today, I had errands at this Wal-Mart and other businesses in the area. When I came to the traffic circle, I noticed something different.
Stop signs. Stop signs? Yes, stop signs, in each direction. Northbound on Inverness. Southbound on Inverness. Proceeding eastbound from the shopping area. Why? Putting stop signs here sort of negates the building of a traffic circle/roundabout thingy.
Now, the presence of these stop signs could mean that the police determined that there was too much volume to use the traffic circle method of control. In a similar vein, the PD could have decided that there were too many crashes at the location. The cynic might suggest that stop signs increased the revenue potential of the intersection by making it easier to find violations to write tickets for.
As one who learned to drive in a different area, I can tell you that KC metro drivers are not the brightest bulbs in the box. And I have seen drivers struggle with traffic circles as they become more numerous around the metro. The appearance of stop signs at this intersection is a bit of an indication of driver failure to me--that KC drivers could not handle the decision making and attention required by a traffic circle.

Bring back Driver's Ed!


chuck said...

I am over there all the time, going to Lowe's.

I think the round a bout is there to keep trucks from taking that street for a back entrance to the retailers there.

They can't make the turn, so they have to go to state line.

Just a guess. :)

The Observer said...

A good guess and if right we'll have to go with the cynic on this one: stop signs create more violations for KCPD. So mind your P's and Q's over there everyone.
BTW, this was not the initial configuration for this-- it started as a simple T intersection, then they tried to keep everyone from turning left and built a concrete curb. Then they took that out and put in the traffic circle with yield signs. So now we're back to stop signs. So we'll see what happens next.


Bob G. said...

I've driven my share of "circles" back in Philly (and in Ohio and now Fort Wayne, IN)...never had a problem.
But with this gig in KCMO...I think you're onto something with the possibilities of "violators"...
(looking for a quick ticket)

Just, they'll install blinking RED LIGHTS...

And that's supposed to be called PROgress.
(1 step forward - 2 steps back)

Stay safe out there.

The Observer said...

Bob G:
I drove this today, approaching from the south--so a left into the shopping area. I felt really goofy stopping and going around a traffic circle structure.

I hope that either the yield signs return or the circle goes away...

Thanks for reading--sorry for the tardy reply!


Rush'd Lady said...

Since my mother lives close-by and has friends who live in the neighborhood, she has kept tabs on the going-ons with this particular intersection. The Home Association took the shopping center to court to try to prevent any traffic at all from entering their neighborhood and it got thrown out of court. Then they added the traffic circle to slow down automobiles and assundry. The first one got mowed over and they had to rebuild it. We think the traffic signs are a little much! Do you think anyone will get the point? LOL!

Rush'd Lady said...

However, the roundabouts on 58 highway in the town south of us gave a certain youth pastor some fun one evening with a bus full of teens . . . My son rolled his eyes when relaying the story . . . LOL!

The Observer said...

I know those circles in Belton--they took me by surprise the first time!

I vote for the structures are designed to calm traffic concept, and in fact, the left lane coming out of the shopping center is still obstructed by a little raised island. The stop signs can be one of three things: speed reduction, accident reduction, or revenue enhancement!

And thank you for stopping by. :)

The Observer