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February 26, 2010 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Here you are on the computer when you could be making all kinds of your own traffic circle art in your neighborhood. You could even give a performance on your traffic circle!

Yes, traffic circles and roundabouts are not the same thing, but if you want to overthink those beans you'll need to take your plate to the traffic circle Meta art in Lichtenstein.
posted by cashman (41 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Richmond, Indiana has a grand total of zero traffic circles. Perhaps I could try it in the intersection.
posted by Michael Roberts at 2:51 PM on February 26, 2010


The "give a performance" link is culture jamming car culture, but they probably don't know it, making it even better.
posted by stbalbach at 3:00 PM on February 26, 2010


Get off my traffic circle!
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:01 PM on February 26, 2010


Sadly, no traffic circles (or rotaries or roundabouts) that I know about within hundreds of miles of me.
posted by octothorpe at 3:01 PM on February 26, 2010


When all the When all the pillars are full, find a new place to post public art.

More on the traffic through traffic circles, and a frozen traffic circle from above, as photographed by a camera lofted by a kite.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2010


If you're watering a garden you've planted in a traffic circle, be careful to avoid getting into altercations.
posted by dhalgren at 3:04 PM on February 26, 2010


My favorite traffic circle art is the inadvertent performance art that occurs any time someone from the west coast encounters one.
posted by lekvar at 3:15 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite traffic circle art is the inadvertent performance art that occurs any time someone from the west coast encounters one.

We do have them here too, but they're rare... are they that much more common on the east coast?
posted by wildcrdj at 3:18 PM on February 26, 2010


whoa. Durham alert!!
posted by pinky at 3:25 PM on February 26, 2010


I love traffic circles, I think they a genius - here in brooklyn we have a couple of traffic circles, but because (I assume) americans can't handle the simplicity of traffic circle maneuvering, they break them up with stop lights. The one I drive through has 4 as you drive around, and another 4 on entrances/exits.
posted by deliquescent at 3:41 PM on February 26, 2010


My favorite traffic circle art is the inadvertent performance art that occurs any time someone from the west coast encounters one.

We have plenty of them in Seattle, although it usually seems to confuse most of the drivers here anyway.
posted by dhalgren at 3:52 PM on February 26, 2010


My favorite traffic circle art is the inadvertent performance art that occurs any time someone from the west coast encounters one.

Hey, we have tons of them here in Portland, OR. Although the police/fire hate them, I hear.
posted by mrnutty at 3:53 PM on February 26, 2010


If you don't have any nearby traffic circles, you could try Intersection Repair: work with your neighbors to paint a huge mural on a street intersection (I thought about trying to do this in my college town before I moved away). Medians work pretty well too — check out these two forks in the road. Also related: Park(ing)!
posted by dreamyshade at 3:54 PM on February 26, 2010


My favorite traffic circle performance art is on display in Pyongyang, North Korea.
posted by prinado at 3:56 PM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I live on the corner of one of those traffic circles! How funny to see it on Mefi!
posted by leesh at 4:13 PM on February 26, 2010


That bowling ball one was a huge problem, by the way, when a car hit it one night and sent balls careening down the hill. But it led to some hilarious emails on the neighborhood listserv.
posted by leesh at 4:14 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite traffic circle art is the inadvertent performance art that occurs any time someone from the west coast encounters one.

I would say that my neighborhood in Berkeley is about 50% traffic circle. By square footage.
posted by brundlefly at 4:17 PM on February 26, 2010


sorry, but this is mostly ArtFAIL. why does it look like a big pile of crap? because it's a big pile of crap. i'm all for availabism, but do it with some style, yo. ...and, ok, that gay pride thing? what? gays=pink radioactive waste? yeah, i wonder why that got torn down. my guess is that RABiD= 1 art school dropout, probably on meth.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:17 PM on February 26, 2010


Traffic circles need zoos, not art.
posted by komilnefopa at 5:44 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


in my town, people drive over them like they are speed bumps (they don't have arrows on posts, most likely knocked down by the first drive-overs). the Department of Transportation helpfully sent out a flyer with my most recent sticker renewal reminding idiots errrr people how to navigate them. my favorite are the clueless who don't go all the way around to make a left, and then get mad when you honk at them as they are about to crash into you whilst denying you of your right-of-way

thanks for these suggestions! i hope to implement an artistic solution as soon as they thaw.
posted by kuppajava at 6:01 PM on February 26, 2010


Growing up in So Cal I didn't know what a traffic circle was, and my first driving experience in one was terrifying. Having moved to a new community in South Orange County, though, I drive through one a few times a day, now.

I recognize the photos as art, albeit cheap art, but if they were installed in the traffic circles near me, The Association would tear them down in minutes, and probably install cameras.
posted by Huck500 at 6:02 PM on February 26, 2010


Hey, the city where I live (Canberra) is made almost entirely out of "traffic circles" (we call them roundabouts). Some of them are huge and have as many as three lanes, and decorating them would lead to distraction and carnage on a vast scale. But there are hundreds of little ones that could really do with something like this.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:12 PM on February 26, 2010


in my town, people drive over them like they are speed bumps (they don't have arrows on posts, most likely knocked down by the first drive-overs). the Department of Transportation helpfully sent out a flyer with my most recent sticker renewal reminding idiots errrr people how to navigate them. my favorite are the clueless who don't go all the way around to make a left, and then get mad when you honk at them as they are about to crash into you whilst denying you of your right-of-way

I bet installing Severe Tire Damage spikes for wrong way drivers would be really persuasive. inconvenient at first, sure...
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:07 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


weird! I know that hood and have heard tale of their dueling traffic circle art. The mannequin on the manhole used to have friends who hung out on the Scrap Exchange sign.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 7:09 PM on February 26, 2010




That was good until the third link, which gave me the same reaction as sexyrobot.
posted by ctmf at 8:05 PM on February 26, 2010


Also, I love the 2-lane roundabouts in my town. They get a LOT of car flow through there without incident at rush hour, though it might raise your heart rate a bit. It can also be a pain if you get behind someone who thinks there's a stop sign before you enter. Once they stop there's too much delta-v between them and the circling traffic to merge in smoothly.
posted by ctmf at 8:14 PM on February 26, 2010




I love traffic circles! I always get this weird sense of panic and excitement at the possibility of not exiting on the correct street (Zork, the revolving room, anyone?). Cheap thrills for when driving stops being fun.

leesh, do people take extra laps around, just to fully check it out? (Or would that just be me?)
posted by iamkimiam at 11:55 PM on February 26, 2010


Best-designed ones I've ever seen, from a traffic flow point of view, are in Berlin. There are three approach lanes, and the lanes around the central island are actually not circles but expanding spirals. So after giving way to traffic going around the island, you just drive straight in and keep following your own lane, and you're automatically delivered to the left, straight-through or right exit depending which lane you approached on.
posted by flabdablet at 1:52 AM on February 27, 2010


In England, there are many traffic circles smaller than the average plate of beans. Big ones too, of course.
posted by Goofyy at 2:35 AM on February 27, 2010


For large scale art installations you'll need to come to Massachusetts and adopt a rotary.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 4:13 AM on February 27, 2010


Hey! Those are my friends' blogs!
posted by Stewriffic at 8:39 AM on February 27, 2010


pinky, leesh!! That's XTA's blog!! And Phil! And Barry!
posted by Stewriffic at 8:40 AM on February 27, 2010


Michael Roberts : Richmond, Indiana has a grand total of zero traffic circles.
octothorpe : Sadly, no traffic circles (or rotaries or roundabouts) that I know about within hundreds of miles of me.

Don't feel too bad, guys - Many (myself included) consider those things the biggest deliberate road hazard since speed bumps.

Nearest one to me, thank Zeus, lies over 200 miles away - In a city that I go out of my way to avoid when circumstances require me to travel that way.



flabdablet : Best-designed ones I've ever seen, from a traffic flow point of view

... Have two stop signs (or a light) and look like a giant plus-sign from above. ;)
posted by pla at 11:13 AM on February 27, 2010


toodleydoodley : I bet installing Severe Tire Damage spikes for wrong way drivers would be really persuasive.

Yeah, because nothing improves rush-hour traffic flow like waiting for a flatbed (can't just push or even tow it out of the way after those spikes do their work) to clear a major intersection.

I will never understand why local governments go so far out of their way to inconvenience drivers - And I don't mean for the sake of promoting alternatives like walking or biking, but solely to make driving harder. Most "traffic calming" measures I've heard of work solely by making the roads considerably more dangerous ("Hey, if we make the road really narrow, add a few blind curves, and reduce clearance on the sides, people will slow down voluntarily!" Yeah, great idea, geniuses, until a kid gets hit on one of those nice new unnecessary blind curves, leading you to find even more ways to force people to go artificially slow).

Local color: An interstate offramp near me won't let you turn left, despite only two lanes of traffic and already having a light. Too many people went left anyway, so they built a physical barrier to block people from doing it. To quote Guinness, "Brilliant!" - Now they have an ungodly number of accidents turning into and out of the very first plaza (not even remotely big enough to handle the increased traffic) one light up on the right.
posted by pla at 11:23 AM on February 27, 2010


Hey, you have heard about the magic roundabout in Swindon, right?
posted by mjg123 at 11:51 AM on February 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, its like five little vortices spinning around one big plughole (which necessarily spins the opposite way).. To drive through it, simply point your car in the direction you want to go, and avoid other cars.
posted by mjg123 at 11:57 AM on February 27, 2010


mjg123 : Hey, you have heard about the magic roundabout in Swindon, right?

Sweet Jesus, I'll have nightmares about ever having to drive there now!

Daaaamn. Even overhead, I can't quite figure out what the hell they want you to do... I can understand the "mini" roundabouts for doing a U-turn at the two major roads coming into it, but the other three totally escape my ability to parse (and the white car going through the middle of one of them makes me suspect no one else knows what to do, either).

I think, really, that counts as my biggest complaint about roundabouts - In theory, they work great, with two really unsafe-to-assume conditions - Everyone using them knows where they want to go, and they know the quirks of "this particular" roundabout. Remove either of those conditions, and you have a perfect recipe for a disaster.
posted by pla at 1:23 PM on February 27, 2010


I think that I would drive a hundred miles out of my way to avoid the magic roundabout. If I came upon it without knowing about it before hand, I think that I would burst into tears and stop my car and try to flag down a local who could pilot my car through for me.
posted by octothorpe at 5:38 PM on February 27, 2010


I would drive a hundred miles to avoid Swindon (twinned with Disney World!), but that's just my preference...

Now, imagine you were driving along, minding your own business, when you see this road sign. Perhaps you would need a pilot like in a tight shipping lane, or perhaps you could practise on a smaller one.

I think the scariness partly comes from the fact that you theoretically have more than one possible route through this kind of junction, but in practice one route is just (nearly) a straight line, and the others involve 180-degree turns, so it's not that bad.
posted by mjg123 at 10:15 PM on February 27, 2010


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