I don’t even want to imagine such an intersection in LA. Picture it: a merge-phobic armada of SUVs attempting a living version of a theme-park teacup ride while chatting up their agents/au pairs/massage therapists on their cells as they try to navigate a perpetual eddy of interlocking circles. Hell on wheels, I say, but the Brits in Swindon refer to it as the “Magic Roundabout.”
Traffic circles are quite common in the Northeast, and we even have a handful here in El Lay (Venice’s Windward Circle comes to mind). But there’s a reason that they never caught on in the colonies — the very same reason that Michigan’s jug-handle left turns never made it out of the Midwest: Americans are too damn impatient and self-centered to yield the right of way.
We need better traffic patterns in our nation’s largest cities, something to quell the smog-producing, stress-filled intersections that are such a blight on our highways. But, as efficient as the Magic Roundabout may be, I wouldn’t risk my life entering one on this side of the Pond. I’ve endured way too many attempts to merge on the northbound 405/101 interchange (the worst in the country, according to Infoplease) to think we’re capable of that.