Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 46: The Roundabout Waltz

   The Roundabout Waltz is this week's book. The book is a poem about a particular location in Raleigh, North Carolina... the traffic circle at the intersection of Hillsboro Street and Pullen Road.

a tiny hand-painted sign on the pastepaper cover 
The cover of the 9-inch by 9-inch book is a bookboard case that is half-bound with silk bookcloth and pastepaper. A miniature hand-painted roundabout traffic sign is affixed to the middle of the front cover board.

title page and endpaper
   Inside, each stanza of the poem is handwritten on a volvelle (wheel) that is sandwiched between a folded piece of heavyweight paper to form a single-leaf page. The pages are bound with silk bookcloth by the stiff-leaf binding method. The background of each page is hand-painted with acrylic paints to resemble a bird's-eye view of the roundabout and the streets leading to it. As the volvelle is turned, the text is read through a cut-out window.  Each page also has a rotating yellow and black roundabout sign that is affixed to the volvelle. So, as the volvelle spins and the poem is read... so does the yellow roundabout sign.

close-up page 1
This is the poem, The Roundabout Waltz..

  ♦︎ In France there are lots of roundabouts. Intersections are not a choice but a dance to be joined. Like some waltz, turning left and left and left again until finally you exit right. ♦︎

page 2
♦︎ In France people are used to driving in circles... The cars move with finesse... choosing when to enter. Timing is important. The wrong move could cause an accident.  ♦︎ Everybody knows that ♦︎

page 3
Recently Raleighites put in a few roundabouts.  They're on busy streets; set so traffic will move more efficiently. Maybe the city planners imagined it would be like France. 

close-up page 4
But Raleighites don't know the dance. Sometimes they enter the circle too soon... Crash! or move too slow... Beep! Crash! or don't know when to exit... Beep! Beep! Crash! Oh No! 

page 5  
In Raleigh, when people enter a roundabout, in addition to making choices... they also pray they don't get hit. So the dance is replaced with Religion. Amen. 

The Roundabout Waltz book... in the middle of the street

According to city documents provided to the Record, there were 60 low-severity crashes between July 1, 2010 and May 15, 2011. For comparison, there were three between December 21, 2007 and July 1, 2008, prior to the construction of the roundabout.” -Ariella Monti, Raleigh Public Record, Sept. 12, 2011

Actually, there are a lot less collisions in the Hillsboro Street-Pullen Road roundabout lately... in 2015. Maybe Raleighites are learning the dance... or the prayers are working.

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