Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mixed Signals

A few years ago, when we lived in New York, we got very comfortable with driving in New Jersey, and making many left turns via a right turn jug handle. This isn't a very difficult driving concept once you've done it a few times, and everyone pretty much gets the hang of it. But when I saw that an intersection that I drive through fairly frequently was slated for the (no joke) "first ever in Texas left turn jug handle," I started to panic. Jug handles are okay if everyone knows what they are doing, and what to expect. To put a solitary one in on a busy intersection where no one is likely to have had experience with this type of traffic pattern seems like a bad decision to me. Even worse, this intersection is just south of one of the 10 most dangerous intersections in America (I think it's #6). I think the traffic planners here are insane. I've thought that from the moment we moved here, and had to start figuring out how to navigate this: That is the Dallas North Tollway. It runs north AND south. Seems pretty simple, but try explaining to someone that they should take the north tollway south. I used to get lost a lot. Now I have GPS - and a map.

Of course, we also had to get used to the unusual orientation of the traffic lights. See that left turn signal with 5 lights? One red, one yellow arrow, one green arrow, one solid yellow, and one solid green. Some signals around here add even one more, with a double red. No wonder I'm always lost, I'm too busy trying to figure out if I can turn left or not. If this weren't enough to keep me inside, we are also very close to the Interstate 35 twins: I-35E and I-35W, which wouldn't be confusing at all, except that they both run north/south.

Some days, I decide it's easier to just walk.


  1. Gracious. . .and I thought San Antonio had some funky road problems. We also have many North and South flowing roads labeled east and west. May be this are the jokes that road engineers like to pull on people to reminds us of their power.

  2. It's like when Provo put in their first ever round-about, there were accidents for months on that thing. And here in Phoenix, we too have N/S freeways running E/W at times.

  3. Just reading your post makes my heart race and my palms sweat! My goodness! That 5 light thing blows my mind.

  4. Too bad Brigham didn't settle Texas. You would have a nice coordinate to navigate on and I would be able to go outside in the winter.

    Remind me to bring out own gps if we can ever make a trip to visit.