"I've Never Seen That. I Hate It."

instant reactions to the "new" are often misguided

by: Trevor Kupfer

    Do you remember when roundabouts were first introduced in Eau Claire a few years back? People were up in arms about these freaky European solutions to problem intersections. Heck, even city planners were a bit put off by them. That is, until the concrete set in …

    Surveys conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety in 2001 and 2002 asked six communities about to install roundabouts how they felt about them. Between 64 and 69 percent were opposed to them. When they caught up with those residents a year after installation, 70 percent liked them.

    Nevermind that roundabouts take the 32 conflict points of a typical four-way intersection down to eight. This has nothing to do with roundabouts, and everything to do with our attitudes toward the “foreign,” “new,” and “different.” So if your gut reaction toward the public square, woonerf, or salmon lanes is against, maybe give it a few minutes …

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