Q: I agree the roundabouts are brilliant — as long as people use them correctly. Here is a puzzler for you:
In the Burbank area of San Jose, I encounter a roundabout at Leland and Basile. From northbound Leland, I enter to make a left turn onto westbound Basile. I think that cars going straight from southbound Leland should yield to me when I am already in the roundabout. Consistently, they do not. They treat my action as a standard left turn, where I need to yield to them.
Is there an exception to the general roundabout yield rule?
Jill McCoy, San Jose
A: Cars in the roundabout have the right-of-way.
Q: I live within a block of a school and have the following thoughts to share:
1. Some parents will not allow their kids to walk five feet to school, let alone one block.
2. A one-block-away, kid-drop-off point creates chaos in a nearby residential neighborhood. There is usually only one “ideal” remote drop-off point and mass chaos occurs there.
3. The afternoon pickup is worse. Parents compete for the “ideal” pickup spot, showing up more than 1/2 hour early. They sit with their car idling, their foot on the brake, absorbed in their phones. Released students are absorbed in their phones, too, wandering around, looking for their ride. Students cross active streets, between cars, and walk in the street without looking up from their phones. Then parents scramble to get their kids to a tutoring center or home. They cut other cars off, turn around in an intersection, or pull into an oncoming lane against traffic to get around a road boulder.
This happens twice a day, every day of the school year, in an area not designed to accommodate this mass chaos.
Robert Moats, Fremont
A: I wish this didn’t sound familiar, but it does. What do others recommend?
Q: When my kids were in grade school, the first and last days of school were just insane traffic-wise (and a little parent-wise). On those two days, especially, we walked. Their school was almost exactly a mile away, so with a little planning ahead and leaving 20 minutes early, we avoided the parking, odd driving choices and stress. As time went on, a few neighbor kids would join us regularly, so it was me and my “ducklings.”
I loved that time and we would sometimes make these walks into adventures. The only strategic mistake I made was when they offered to bring their scooters for the trek home. I still remember the bruises carrying those things.
Carla Neumann, San Jose
A: I love your solution, up to the point of the bruising scooters.