BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for April 2, 2010
Can fiberglass islands solve our Falls/Jordan nutrient problem?

Woodcroft traffic circles cause April Fool's Day laughter -- but not in City Hall

We here at BCR struggled with ideas for April Fool's Day jokes this year -- narrowly nixing a plan to go all-beige as Cary Rising, only to be cited for excess color on the site by the Town of Cary... leading to a "Screwed by the Town of Cary Rising" banner at the top. But anyway.

One local foolin' hooligan did have an idea of a way to tweak local life in the Bull City, in the form of a fake email message from "Amy Blahlock," a play on Durham's faithful transmitter of official press releases, Amy Blaylock.

The joke? A "Durham Circular Vitalization" project promised to move into phase two with everybody's fave, the roundabout!

Or, nine roundabouts, all for Woodcroft, in this particular fake-news play.

From the (no pun intended) circular making the rounds of inboxes on Thursday:

Due to the success of the first phase of the Durham Circular Vitalization project, the City of Durham is proud to announce round two.  Woodcroft Parkway will be the first street to receive additional traffic circles, expanding the use of this highly successful traffic flow measure from one to nine.  Traffic circles have been found to be the most effective way for traffic to flow, and will also beautify the community.


Of course, there were plenty of signs that this was just foolin' on April Fool's Day -- including the note that the work was funded by a "No Child Left Behind" grant.

But it didn't take long for the word to get out. Originally transmitted among neighborhood friends, until it got forwarded to a couple of Partners Against Crime list, at which point some level of official confusion and consternation took place.

The first we heard about it here at BCR was in the form of a forward from City officials wanting local media and blog-types to be sure we knew this wasn't real.

Understandable, of course, in a day an age when the Internet makes tomfoolery hard to tease out from the truth at times. (Of course, BCR reader and commenter Samantha notes in our CodeRED discussion that she thought the idea of Bill Bell calling households using the reverse 911 system was itself an April Fool's joke... which kind of goes to the point we were getting at yesterday, but anyway.)

As the H-S notes, the original prankster wanted to make sure no hard feelings persisted:

By the afternoon, the original jokester, Mattias Jonsson of Autumn Woods, stopped by city offices with flowers for the spokespersons and apologized. 

"I was just kidding around with my wife and kicking around different ideas for April Fool's. We're a joking family. And this was literally something that I put together in 30 minutes this morning," Jonsson said. 

Good idea, Mr. Jonsson. 

Hey, you want to stay on the good side of our hardworking public servants -- lest a City construction crew show up and start building traffic circles on your street.



Why so serious, Durham? If it's not mean-spirited, people should take everything with a grain of salt on April Fools Day. I thought it was funny. :)

Yes Man

More roundabouts WOULD be cool! Why the hatin' ?

Tar Heelz

We all know that speed humps are more likely.

Seth Vidal

Just so I'm clear: if I want roundabouts, then I need to piss off city staff? Is that a guarantee? :)

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