About the Roundabouts
It’s been a while now that we’ve had roundabouts in Marquette. Opinions vary regarding their necessity and efficiency, but according to the Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts are a proven safety countermeasure because they can substantially reduce crashes that result in serious injury or death. Key word… “can.”
As with everything else that requires an operator, error comes in to play. And when faced with a roundabout for the first time, some drivers err. Think Chevy Chase in European Vacation. It didn’t end well.
It appears the locals are starting to get the hang of it, but with a lot of visitors in town, a little bit of roundabout caution can go a long way. At least far enough to get you out of it.
According to that highway administration, here’s what roundabouts are supposed to do: improve safety, promote lower speeds and traffic calming, reduce conflict points, lead to improved operational performance, and meet a wide range of traffic conditions because they are versatile in size, shape, and design.
But they’re not perfect. As one observer pointed out, roundabouts require drivers to be more decisive and deliberative. No more of the simple stop on red and go on green. Now drivers have to negotiate entry into moving traffic. Should I go now? No? How about now? No? NOW? Good luck boomer.
But what do the numbers show? According to the Marquette Police Department, accidents at each location in the city are fewer in number than prior to the roundabouts. Since December there have been three accidents each at the Front, Baraga, and Wright Street locations and just one a piece at Grove and Presque Isle.
More importantly, those accidents were considered property damage, rather than personal injury. According to Captain Mike Laurila, that’s due to the basic design of roundabouts. “Roundabouts have all but eliminated personal injury accidents as most impacts are at a slow speed.”
He also points out that from a manpower standpoint, roundabouts are self-sufficient. “No longer do officers need to direct traffic during power outages.”
So… roundabouts. Good? Reducing personal injury is always good. And they keep traffic moving… also a good thing. So yeah… roundabouts good.
The 100 block of West Washington is ready to reopen, maybe today! Looks like things in the business district will be up to speed just in time for what should be a huge summer in Marquette. The farmers’ market is drawing great crowds, Music on Third returns July 15th, and the Blueberry Festival is back on the calendar for July 30th.
It’ll be nice for the businesses down there to finally have the street project done and down the road, so to speak. Nice to see that our city planners recognize the value of a healthy heart.
And speaking of hearts…
Our area law enforcement agencies have combined forces to raise money to purchase new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for use across the county.
Last year, county cops responded to 46 cardiac emergency calls, which is almost one a week. Each call represents a life to be lost, or saved. Since our men in blue, and women, and other colors of uniform, are usually the first on the scene, up-to-date life saving equipment along with proper training can make all the difference.
They need about eighty-thousand bucks to buy 38 new units that will be compatible with the current equipment found on EMS vehicles. The Community Foundation of Marquette County is handling the fundraising. To donate, go to cfofmc.org and look for Jumpstart a Heart.
Art Week in Marquette
There are still a few events on the schedule today and tomorrow as Art Week comes to a close. Always popular, the Children’s Museum is putting on a Chalk Art Festival today and tomorrow downtown.
The week’s final performance features a Willie Nelson Tribute Concert with Ethan Bott and the Copper Cowpokes tomorrow night at Tourist Park. Starts at 7:30. No charge.