THE EIGHTH RING OF HELL, ONLY NICER

New Jersey drivers above a certain age will no doubt remember that special form of torture known as the traffic circle. These were circular roadway alignments at major intersections meant to allow for continuous flows of traffic without the use of stop-and-go lights.

Sign_1

Under certain conditions, driving into a traffic circle was a little like being tossed into a giant centrifuge with homicidal maniacs. The speed of traffic was determined by the most reckless driver in the circle at that moment. Getting into or out of one at times of high volume was a thrill if you were a 17-year-old boy at the wheel of a stolen car, and a nightmare if you were not.

While there are only a few circles still in use (one at Route 34 and Allaire Road in Wall Township comes to mind) New Jersey was lousy with them at one time.

Well, the circle is about to make a comeback, in modified form, in Lincroft. Last week, the Monmouth County Freeholders approved a plan to build a $1.27 million ’roundabout’ at the entrance to Brookdale Community College on Route 520.

The Holmdel Independent has a story in which a traffic expert is quoted as saying the roundabout will be about one-quarter to one-third the size of a typical traffic circle. Because of its relatively tight turning radius, drivers will be forced to slow down to between 15 and 20 mph.

Um, drivers should slow down, hence they will slow down? And this is necessary at a T-intersection?

“I’m anxious to see if this actually works,” Middletown Mayor Thomas Hall said on Monday. “This is out of the box and something that’s unusual in terms of solutions.”

E-mail this story