Last Updated on March 31, 2019
I don’t even want to imagine such an intersection in LA. Picture it: a merge-phobic armada of SUVs attempting a living version of a theme-park teacup ride while chatting up their agents/au pairs/massage therapists on their cells as they try to navigate a perpetual eddy of interlocking circles. Hell on wheels, I say, but the Brits in Swindon refer to it as the “Magic Roundabout.”
Traffic circles are quite common in the Northeast, and we even have a handful here in El Lay (Venice’s Windward Circle comes to mind). But there’s a reason that they never caught on in the colonies — the very same reason that Michigan’s jug-handle left turns never made it out of the Midwest: Americans are too damn impatient and self-centered to yield the right of way.
We need better traffic patterns in our nation’s largest cities, something to quell the smog-producing, stress-filled intersections that are such a blight on our highways. But, as efficient as the Magic Roundabout may be, I wouldn’t risk my life entering one on this side of the Pond. I’ve endured way too many attempts to merge on the northbound 405/101 interchange (the worst in the country, according to Infoplease) to think we’re capable of that.
There are rounabouts aplenty on my side of town, including my neighborhood (I live at Mulberry & 12th):