Roundabouts deserve more love

Reporter Sarah Honosky’s article in the Jan. 12 issue of The News & Advance, “City’s Roundabout Number Growing,” was nice to read.

Virtually every citizen comment I’ve heard about roundabouts locally has been negative. “They don’t save any time.” “They just add cost to road construction.” “They take up too much land.” “They make local travel more confusing.” “They are dangerous.”

I disagree. I like roundabouts.

I live on a side street off Indian Hill Road. As the news article mentions, we’ll be getting the next Lynchburg roundabout in my neighborhood. During the last information meeting that city officials held about the project, a citizen said he’d rather see a stop light at the end of the new bridge that is being built. “The announced traffic circle won’t work,” the citizen said. A traffic engineer explained that about 96 percent of the traffic turns at the bridge, so why have a traffic light for the small number of cars going straight? “I’d rather have to stop for a light than have a traffic circle” was the response.

Roundabouts don’t work as well in the Hill City as in many other places I do have to admit. Years ago when I lived in Washington D.C., I regularly travelled through Washington Circle. I can’t imagine the mess that big intersection would be without a roundabout.

I have a lot of family in England and Wales. Roundabouts are very common in Great Britain. They work much more smoothly and efficiently there primarily because pretty much everybody, not just most people, but virtually all drivers, use their turn signals when they are going to exit a roundabout. The advantage of that small effort is huge. Cars don’t have to always stop before they enter a roundabout. They can slow down and blend into the circle efficiently.

I don’t believe the failure to “use [your] blinker as you approach exit,” as Honosky describes in her safety tips, is an intentional inconsideration. I think that people just don’t think to signal exiting a circle here. Even our police, who do so much for safe driving, usually don’t signal at traffic circles. I was talking with a City Council member about signaling when exiting circles. The councilman said, “You know I never even thought of using my blinker exiting a roundabout, but I will now.” Good for him!

GLENN McGRATH

Lynchburg

Graduations at LU a non-issue

This issue of graduations for E.C. Glass and Heritage high schools holding their commencement services in the Vines Center at Liberty University would seem a bit ludicrous to us if we did not have a grandchild who will be graduating from Lynchburg City Schools. For the record, we are not members of Thomas Road Baptist Church nor do we have any ties to LU.

As a member of the Central Virginia Community College board back in the day, I can safely say it occurred to no one to be offended by having the graduation ceremony at the Vines Center. It was adequate to accommodate faculty, students and their families, and it was available rain or shine with air conditioning! There was no discussion of separation of church and state; all were just immensely grateful that LU had volunteered the use of the building. It was, in fact, just a building; there was no religious implications or attempts to “convert” anyone.

We believe that those lobbying for an “intimate” ceremony are putting unfounded fears over a meaningful experience for the majority. Many share our same situation — not enough tickets to accommodate parents, siblings and grandparents.

There are a number of reasons why many of the surrounding counties have chosen to use the Vines Center and why it has been a successful venue, and none of them has anything to do with it being a religious institution. Lynchburg should feel grateful to be offered the use of this facility.

DEBBIE and KEN POWELL

Lynchburg

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