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Letter To The Editor: Ossining Roundabout Must Live

Local woman and college professor Alexis Cole is in favor of a roundabout in downtown Ossining.
Local woman and college professor Alexis Cole is in favor of a roundabout in downtown Ossining. Photo Credit: File

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Ossining Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to Ossining@dailyvoice.com.

To the editor:

I’m a new resident of Ossining. I moved down from Peekskill this past August. I’m a professor at SUNY Purchase and a retired Army Staff Sergeant.

I’m sorry to hear that public opinion is attempting to prevent you from doing your job and following through with the careful planning in which you've been engaging for well over a year. I’ve lived all over the world, and to me, roundabouts seem normal. But I understand that in smaller cities in America people aren’t used to them yet. I did a little research, and it seems like you are not alone in absorbing unfounded resistance from the community.

In a New York Times article from 2010, Eugene R. Russell Sr., a civil engineering professor at Kansas State and the chairman of a national task force on roundabouts, elaborates:

"There's a lot of what I call irrational opposition. People don't understand. They just don't understand roundabouts,” he writes.

As I know you know from your research, roundabouts have been proven to be safer for cars and pedestrians, more ecologically friendly, and more effective in keeping a nice slow traffic flow.

The New York Times reports that “Despite these benefits, a circuitous pattern still seems to emerge whenever a community is faced with the specter of a roundabout. Fear and suspicion are manifested in petitions and tense town meetings — and over time they generally mellow into something resembling approval, acceptance or, just as desirable in the world of transportation engineering, apathy.”

While your experience with the community over this issue may feel unique, resistance to roundabouts is absolutely normal. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety titled “Long-Term Trends in Public Opinion Following Construction of Roundabouts” shows support for roundabouts went from 34% before the roundabouts were built , to 57% after they were built, to 69% after they had been in use for a year.

This is a great improvement for downtown. I’m proud of the work you’ve done to make it happen. People will move on and come around. Let’s finish the job. Don’t vote to defund the project.

Alexis Cole

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