Controversial traffic roundabout becomes logo on T-shirt, cap

March 31, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

New York has the Empire State Building, Washington the Lincoln Memorial and Baltimore, Camden Yards. As for Lisbon, it has The Roundabout.

It also has been memorialized in the true American way.

You'll find the crossroad community's roundabout, a British version of the traffic circle that created a real stir in town when proposed for the intersection of routes 144 and 94, emblazoned on T-shirts and baseball caps.

Not exactly haute couture. But Dan Mincin thought the casual duds might find favor among the locals.

"You get an idea in your head, you know, and it sticks with you," explained Mr. Mincin, a Lisbon resident who installs telephone systems for a living.

Just before Christmas he decided Lisbonites might be willing to part with a few dollars for a memento of the state's first and only roundabout, which opened in the town in late 1993, despite some local protest by residents who weren't impressed with the State Highway Administration plan.

The traffic circle consists of four concrete islands that channel vehicles around a circle. Motorists using the single-lane roundabout must yield before entering; in this way the traffic device operates much like a revolving door.

State engineers considered the Lisbon intersection an ideal proving ground for roundabout use statewide because the intersection has a history of problems with speeders and a high accident rate.

Mr. Mincin worked up a graphic for the traffic-sign-green shirts, depicting the state of Maryland, with a star showing Lisbon's location. Underneath the state is the curved arrow traffic logo for the roundabout and this declaration:

"Home of Maryland's First Roundabout: Lisbon."

As for the caps, Mr. Mincin went with black. The caps feature the roundabout arrow logo and the same slogan as the shirts.

He spent $500 to have 36 hats and 72 shirts printed up and delivered to his home.

Then he hit the pavement to drum up interest among shop owners in the town.

Surprisingly, he encountered resistance on his first couple of calls.

"Some of the store owners were set against the roundabout, so the shirts and caps didn't go over real well. I walked out of the stores kind of stunned."

But he found a friend in Donna Linthicum, owner of the Video Den, located in the Lisbon Shopping Center on Route 144.

She agreed to carry the shirts and caps.

"I thought they were cute," said the video store owner.

Hat sales have been good, but sales of the shirts have been sluggish, she said.

"I've sold hats out the gazoo. If it hadn't been 40 below all winter I probably would have sold a lot more of the shirts," said Ms. Linthicum.

Once warm weather turns the corner, she expects interest in the T-shirts to increase.

So far, she says, the most loyal customers for the hats ($8 each) and shirts ($12) have been members of the Lisbon Fire Department, located right down the street from the roundabout.

Mr. Mincin is cheered by that news.

And if sales start popping in the spring, he plans a second shipment to the Video Den.

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