While I understand the need to keep traffic flowing in a safe and orderly manner, I wonder about the wisdom of marking an Olmsted Circle with rather obtrusive amounts of paint. A friend of ours who operates a shop on Elmwood Avenue called to let us know what had been done at Colonial Circle. She was nearly apoplectic, sputtering words like “YELLOW, WHITE, HUGE,” and what she said was done didn’t make sense, so I went and had a look.
After getting there and seeing the circle, it still didn’t make a lot of sense. This is an Olmsted Circle, and while we know there can be issues, especially for pedestrians, the paint-job seemed heavy-handed in scale and…well…garish.
Look, for instance, at Gate’s Circle (Google image below), where triangular, curbed green areas, or splitter islands, direct the flow of traffic. Sure, that treatment costs far more money than a paint job, but it’s an Olmsted Circle.
I travel the Bidwell/Richmond route frequently, and though it may be my timing, I’ve never seen a traffic jam, accident or even motorist confusion at this rather vast juncture. At least, I’ve never experienced traffic that would require such a loud command. I think this could have been left bare until a more suitable island area can be built.
I called someone rather high up in the Olmsted Conservancy to ask about the utilitarian road graffiti last night (culturals never sleep) and he said, “Uh-oh, sounds like some city engineers got their hands on some paint.” He was sure that this wouldn’t happen on the planned Porter Avenue restoration of circles.
So pedestrians, if you happen to cross there often, do you see the painted islands as safe haven? Motorists, have you had trouble navigating in the past? Residents, how do you feel about the aesthetic? Call me curious.