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Hang on because I might have something to say here that’s worth sharing, but then again both my loyal readers know following me is at best a 50-50 deal.

Anyway, another week seems to have slipped by so I’ve once again managed to escape from the home and find something to write on, so here goes.

Spent some time in town and unlike many folks I made it through the trial roundabouts. Now I don’t want to be Dan the downer here, but I will ask one question, huh? Why? OK, that was two, but math and I never got along that well.

Roundabouts are not a bad thing, they keep traffic moving, but it seems to me that they do take up a lot more space than a four-way stop sign. Maybe it’s just the weird colors and such, but I’ve seen a lot of folks stop and try to figure out where they’re supposed to go. The upside is that they do figure it out, especially after they get honked at.

The interesting part is that I think the disdain for roundabouts comes more from change than it does from usability. Change of any source involves stress, risk and loss. Loss of what was, risk of what might be, leads to stress. The stress of changing anyone’s routine usually leads to complaining about the change, similar to anyone who has gone through the roundabouts.

Back in my commissioner days I learned if you want to wind up your constituents (every household in Mandan) then mess with their garbage. Due to all sorts of environmental changes we had to change how we handled garbage and one of the requirements was that everyone in town had to move their garbage to the curb.

I probably got more calls and complaints about this action than any other in my 22 years of elected office. We were quite spoiled by Mandan Transfer’s services. For instance, it wasn’t uncommon for them to back up your driveway to pick up your cans. It was an excellent local service for at least 50 years. But changes had to be made and there were many moments when I wanted to disconnect my phones.

So, back to the roundabouts. I guess I’m still left with the question “Why?” I use First Street whenever I head to Bismarck. It gets crowded with pedestrians as well as traffic, so I’m left to wonder which style is safer in those conditions. My guess is that it’s safer to stop traffic than allow it to constantly move, but they don’t allow me to make these decisions anymore, so like you, I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, if you’re for or against roundabouts I suggest you let your commissioners know your feelings. As you can tell, I’m rather ambivalent because as long as whatever is decided allows me to get where I want to go I’m happy.

So I’m on my way back to the home and it’s once again safe for you to be out and about. Here’s hoping that whatever you’re complaining about helps you deal with whatever changes you encounter.

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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