Shreveport’s New Traffic Circle

It’s at the bottom of “Thrill Hill” on Gilbert Drive. I can hit 35 – the speed limit – on my bike going down that hill, so it’s fairly steep, especially for Shreveport. Unfortunately, lots of drivers also hit high speeds going down it. To slow speeds and protect the walkers, bikers and kids of the area, the city just built a circle at the bottom.

To me, this is a great idea. By forcing cars to slow down to navigate the circle at the bottom of the hill, it will eliminate the buttholes who fly through this residential area at 40, 50 or even 60 miles an hour. But it will do so without making anyone stop or forcing anyone to bounce around in their cars over a speed bump. Lots of cities use these things in residential areas for “traffic calming.” I wish we had several in our neighborhood along Anniston Avenue.

Still, this is a car-centered town. When I saw the circle, my first thought was “I give it two weeks before the complaints are so loud that the city gets rid of it.” People around here would much rather save two seconds on their commute than have a safe street for children and other pedestrians to use. Driving is more important than living. Sure enough, every comment I’ve heard has been negative.

Then I read today’s story in the Times about the circle, the comments to the story are priceless. Promises of death, comparisons to terrorists, many mentions of lawyers; it’s amazing how many ways people can complain without saying what they really mean: “I want to drive faster!”

Like I said, it’s a good idea. But it probably won’t survive and it definitely won’t spread.

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