U.S. is behind curve, roundabout fans say

Kevin Beresford, president of the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society, thinks Americans should embrace roundabouts. Submitted by Kevin Beresford for use by The Patriot-News.

Background: In the last week of June 2011 a roundabout was installed on Linglestown Road. For weeks after it was the topic of many discussions in the community, with most spewing hatred for the roadway. During this time, I stumbled on a Roundabout Appreciate Society and this story.

Originally published in The Patriot-News on July 5, 2011.

For all those roundabout haters out there, Kevin Beresford has a message: “Get a bloody grip!”

Beresford is the president of the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society, so he is a tad biased when it comes to circular traffic. He speaks poetry about the road system. “Above all the things normally associated with the road net work, there is nothing more expressive then the one-way-gyratory,” he said.

“I compare a roundabout as an oasis on a sea of blacktop. Robert Louis Stevenson stated in his novel, “Treasure Island”: “there is no place in the world that exerts such attractive power as an island.” He must have surely been talking of traffic islands/roundabouts.”

A native of the town Redditch in northern England, Beresford fell in love with roundabouts in 2003 while trying to come up with a totally unique calendar for the printing company he ran. The result was the “Roundabouts of Redditch” calendar, which sold worldwide.

“At first I found it all a bit of a joke, but in time I came to love those magical circles,” he said. “And, I’m sure with time, so will the American people.”

The resistance of US residents to roundabouts puzzles Beresford. “I’ve always thought Americans to be open, brave and positive about new innovations,” he said, before pointing out that the first ever roundabout was actually in New York City. Back in 1903, William Phelps Eno installed Columbus Circle in the Big Apple, but the idea never took flight.

“Why, oh why didn’t you persevere with it,” Beresford said. “Oh well, its your loss. Stick to your boring un-safe, un-green, scary intersections.”

Read the full story on PennLive.com

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