14.7 C
Niagara Falls
Friday, September 29, 2023
Editorial: Around and around we go
The Lake Report's weekly editorial. File

“The joint was rockin,’ goin’ round and round.”

With apologies to the late, great Chuck Berry, his lyrics might be appropriate locally almost 70 years later.

It won’t be long now that Niagara-on-the-Lake residents, visitors and commuters will be able to take a spin around the region’s newest roundabout.

As many drivers found out the hard way this past week, the Glendale exit from the QEW has been a no-go zone.

It has been closed to enable more work on the multi-million dollar diverging diamond interchange and the accompanying roundabout at the north end where Glendale meets York Road.

We’ve never quite understood why the Ontario government insisted on building the hyper-expensive criss-cross traffic option at Glendale (at a cost of some $54 million). It’s the first one in Ontario (rah, rah) and one of only a few in Canada.

Having driven the one in Calgary several times, we never understood the fuss by those who felt the Glendale version would be a confusing mess.

When you’re driving in an unfamiliar area, after all, you’re just supposed to stay alert, follow the signs and road markings, non?

In Calgary, we didn’t realize we were on the diverging diamond until we had driven through it. No big deal.

And neither is Glendale’s a big deal. Follow the leader, follow the signs and markings, pay attention to your surroundings and there should be few problems.

But still some people complain about it. By all means, vent about the ridiculous amount spent by Doug Ford’s provincial Progressive Conservatives, but we’ve yet to see any major functional problems with the new roadway.

Which brings us to the new roundabout at York Road and Glendale.

Perhaps some of the doomsayers will be proven right about mammoth 53-foot tractor-trailers having trouble negotiating the new, under-construction traffic circle.

But we expect (and hope) that the road engineers will have ironed out all those bugs when they designed the road.

Roundabouts are not a North American thing, of course. And many drivers remain confused about how to negotiate them.

But they are not an accident waiting to happen any more than are oncoming cars hurtling toward one another separated only by a ribbon of paint on the asphalt of a two-lane road.

And we manage to negotiate that situation on thousands of roads every day across Canada.

Having just spent time overseas driving (on the “other” side of the road) and navigating hundreds of roundabouts large and small, at high speed and low, we can attest that a little knowledge and education goes a long way if you have any doubts about what to do.

In Europe and the U.K., roundabouts are a way of life and seen as a sensible way to keep traffic moving.

Over here, many see them as a nuisance.

Here’s hoping the new traffic circle at York Road and Glendale doesn’t fall into the latter category.

But having survived driving the “wrong side” roundabouts, we offer a simple bit of advice about driving them: Follow the signs, be alert and, know that any vehicle already on the roundabout has the right-of-way. That’s the single biggest thing we tried to remember “over there.”

And don’t rush, wait for a break in traffic, ease your way in.

It really is an efficient way to keep cars moving.



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