Our local neighborhood association just found out that the city is considering a plan by some developers to create a big shopping development along the relatively narrow strip between the highway and the edge of our neighborhood, including a massive Wal-Mart Supercenter store. Some folks are ready to bust out the pitchforks and petitions in order to stop the development, but personally, I am mostly befuddled. The plan floated by the developers and city seems to concede that traffic volumes into this shopping area will be too much for the local highway interchange to handle, and so it proposes the creation of a roundabout at the top of the highway exit/entry ramps. This roundabout would handle traffic coming on and off the highway and to the outer road off of which the Wal-Mart would be situated. The plan also looks to fulfill the requirement that the shopping area have a second entrance point by extending a road from our subdivision directly into the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Now, I am all for progress, I suppose, but this is just flat bizarre. Do the bazillionaires at Wal-Mart really think it's a good idea to place an utterly foreign traffic routing device like a roundabout on the fringes of suburban Kansas City, Missouri? I mean, roundabouts worked fine for me when I lived in Boston or drove in Europe, but they are virtually nonexistent around here, especially in the proposed three-lane variety (which has never worked on such a small scale in my experience). Could they really want this arrangement? Similarly, do they like the idea of their massive delivery trucks rolling past playing children in a neighborhood in order to back up to the loading dock at their store? Surely not. If the Wal-Mart bigwigs are evil geniuses, why the dimwitted plan? Could all of this be just an elaborate subterfuge device to keep us focused on fixing the silly traffic flow problems rather than trying to fight the creation of the shopping area?
Hmm. Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Did you manage to negotiate a decent outcome? How? Discuss.
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