Letter to the Editor: A roundabout invitation to speed demons?

Hayim Zadaca [Letters to the Editor: “Bicycle-unfriendly?,” May 3, 2013] says that two roundabouts on Pacific Avenue in Los Cerritos will reduce speeds on that street and make him feel safer riding his bicycle. They may make him “feel safer,” but as far as slowing traffic, roundabouts there won’t be effective– in spite of what Long Beach claims.
The two intersections where roundabouts are proposed already have stop signs at all approaches. So a driver going south on Pacific Avenue must stop at Bixby Road before accelerating away, next stopping at 37th Street where there is a stop sign.
With a roundabout at Bixby Road having yield signs at the approaches instead of stop signs, a driver wouldn’t have to stop at all– just continue on around the roundabout, hopefully slowly, to the other side of the intersection and then accelerate on down the street.
What makes anyone think a driver who likes to speed will go down Pacific Avenue significantly slower than before? The width of Bixby Road is a small fraction of the total distance from Bixby Road to 37th Street. All that’s actually changed is that during the first small part of the drive, instead of taking off in a straight line across Bixby Road, the driver must go around a little curve first, then accelerate. With cars accelerating as quickly as almost all do, this is essentially a meaningless change.
Roundabouts may be useful in some places, but Pacific Avenue isn’t one of them.
I’ve known people who would find it a real challenge and lots of fun to drive down a nice, wide residential street such as Pacific Avenue and see just how fast they could make it around a roundabout. If the City goes through with this ill-advised plan, I’ll bet the residents on Pacific Avenue will meet some people like that.

Jeannie Hoffman
Long Beach

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