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Greg Peck: A roundabout for bicycles? Really?

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July 25, 2014

Imagine if planners in Janesville proposed building a roundabout for bicycles. I suspect a riot would break out at City Hall as roundabout haters teamed up to protest along with fiscal conservatives who think this city’s bicycle trails are likewise a waste of money.

Never fear; no one is proposing such a plan. A roundabout for bicyclists, however, is in the works in Madison, further cementing our capital city as a great bastion of liberalism.

I kid you not. I read about it this week in a story by Steven Elbow in The Cap Times, which coincidentally also leans heavily to the left. As Elbow explained, in a few weeks, the Cannonball Path will give bicyclists a 4-mile access leg from the Military Ridge Trail to downtown Madison. The path will feature a three-way intersection near Verona Road and Williamsburg Way where the Southwest Bike Path and the Cannonball will connect and the Badger State Trail will run overhead. That intersection will be the area’s first bicycle roundabout and feature a 10-foot center circle for plantings.

Lest you think this is a pipe dream and that critics could still force planners to hit the brakes, Elbow says cement for the roundabout was poured last week.

As my faithful readers know, I’m all for promoting bicycling in Janesville. I’ve pedaled to work at The Gazette’s downtown offices more than 80 times since late March.

I realize that many more people in a college town like Madison bicycle than do people in Janesville. Still, I can’t fathom trails being so congested and dangerous that they require an expensive roundabout just for bicyclists. I don’t anticipate any such circular intersection making its way to Janesville any day soon.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.



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