An Open Letter to the UMaine Roundabout

I understand your purpose, I really do. I understand it more than anyone. I can’t count how many times last year I wished there were two lanes at the exit so that getting off campus and turning to the right was easier than waiting behind a row of cars that were turning left. You are meant to be functional, directing traffic either back to the apartments on the left side, back to downtown on the right or straight to get gas or get a rush at Aroma’s. What could go wrong?


First of all, every morning I drive to either my 8 am Physics lecture or my 11 am Physics recitation, and without fail, there is always something that adds on time to my drive. It’s almost ALWAYS this roundabout because there’s a surprise each morning. One morning there are cones blocking off one of the lanes so I come close to hitting one of those giant ones, the road is blocked off so I need to drive on the sidewalk, a piece of equipment is blocking the entrance, or someone cuts me off when they are supposed to yield. Roundabout, you are the reason I lose 10 more minutes of sleep every morning!!!


Second, the huge bumps when you enter the roundabout are not labeled with a “BUMP” sign, which would be helpful. The first time I drove over it was at night so you can imagine how that went. I legitimately thought I was going to take off the undercarriage of my Subaru.


Third, why install a roundabout if there is no step by step instructions on how cars need to enter and exit the roundabout? When you yield, you don’t have to come to a complete stop unless a car is coming that has the right of way. You also don’t need to signal into a roundabout, but it does help to signal out so that a car can go knowing it’s clear. If you are yielding and a car has the right of way, don’t cut them off, there is usually a row of cones and if you cut them off, they come very close to running those over.


Maybe someday I will learn to appreciate you, roundabout, with your bright blue pavement and creation of chaos in the morning, but today is not that day.


[ On a side note, I appreciate all the workers who have been working on this roundabout for the whole summer and now into this semester. They have been doing an excellent job and are doing the best they can with students coming in and out. It is not you, construction workers, it is the roundabout. ]