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Roundabout mystery: Why?

By I-T letters

Editor, Index-Tribune:

Thanks to the editor for his Sept. 24 exegesis on roundabouts. It was very entertaining, but skirted the main mystery: why this roundabout in this place? There have been comments in the Index-Tribune about this, so I needn’t repeat that this is a total waste of funds, unnecessary and, indeed, ludicrous.

Why didn’t the authorities turn their attention to a real need? I nominate the so-called “El Bend Grande”, i.e. the junction of Highways 116 and 121. On a recent weekday, late afternoon, I spent 40 minutes waiting to clear that intersection en route to San Francisco. How are these priorities established? Is it a case of “follow the money”?

Meanwhile, back at the roundabout, notice the sidewalks. Pedestrians who are so inclined can use them to walk around it. Then, since the sidewalks connect to nothing, they can go around again. Round and round indeed, as your editorial is captioned.

Robert G. Lopez

Glen Ellen

(Editor’s note: Why indeed. As previously reported, the Arnold Drive roundabout was originally included in a package of county road projects targeted for construction by passage of Measure M, the 2004, quarter-cent sales tax increase. Once identified, a ludicrous priority or not, it appears to have been locked in place. Measure M also invoked matching federal highway funds for some projects, which may explain the sidewalks – mandated by ADA rules for projects with federal funds – that start and lead nowhere. A roundabout is, in fact, planned (and reportedly even scheduled) for the 121/116 junction, but it is a Caltrans project, which means a reliable construction date is impossible to predict.)