Re: The sign could have circles and arrows, and paragraphs explaining it on the back.

1

Are you thinking particularly of northbound on Guadalupe between MLK and 29th? Almost no streets there allow a left turn, but almost every trip there's some butthead waiting to make a left turn and backing up traffic despite the "No Left Turn" sign.

I like your idea, but I wonder if people would heed the signs. I imagine a lot of "there's just about to be a break, and I've been waiting for two whole minutes, I can't leave now!" mentality.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:10 AM
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"there's just about to be a break, and I've been waiting for two whole minutes, I can't leave now!"

But then you can just ...ease.... on up to the next street, and then ease to the next one, and you wouldn't miss the break in traffic. (Or, you wouldn't automatically miss it, at least. You might still get unlucky.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:13 AM
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Northbound on Guadalupe would definitely count. I was thinking of westbound on 38th*, through Hyde Park.

*I really wanted to write 38 1/2th, to be cutesy, but I am pretty sure it's just plain 38th there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:15 AM
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If you're at all serious about finding or creating an official sign for the purpose, you need to look at the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:19 AM
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Argh. Here.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:20 AM
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I'm serious about complaining. I don't know that I'm serious about taking action.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:24 AM
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I think 6 was proposed as the US motto on the new currency.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:29 AM
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I'm not the most traffic-savvy person, but this somehow feels like the sort of innovation that would confuse people enough to cause hazards. Maybe just mark all the streets that consistently cause problems 'no left turn', and at intervals put in a street with a three-phase light with a left turn signal?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:30 AM
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Except on foreign policy. There, we're serious about taking action and anyone who complains is a goddamn commie-lover father-raper.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:31 AM
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8: Oh, I think the implementation makes it a total nonstarter. I'm just sharing a (boring) fantasy of mine.

and at intervals put in a street with a three-phase light with a left turn signal?

I don't think these work well in these situations, though, if you don't have room for a left turn lane.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:33 AM
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3: Yeah, that stretch is a problem too. And you're right that it's just 38th at that point, It splits into 38th and 38 1/2th right before Red River.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:33 AM
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I don't think these work well in these situations, though, if you don't have room for a left turn lane.

I suppose so. I'm having a hard time visualizing it, though. No room for a left turn lane sounds like a city street, at which point traffic should be moving slowly enough that just muddling through is manageable. Is the real problem that people are expecting to be able to drive at highway speeds on a tiny little side street?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:40 AM
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You need one of the many fine options here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:48 AM
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I've been trying to figure out why this isn't a problem in NYC (no turn lanes on little streets) (and when I say not a problem, I mean 'no more of a problem than driving in NYC generally) and I've got it. One way streets. If alternating streets are one way, you can turn left at will when you have the light. If Austin has enough traffic to make this a problem, and not enough space for turn lanes, you need alternating one-way streets.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:49 AM
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Or any of Sifu's ideas, except that they all seem to take up at least as much space as a left turn lane would.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:50 AM
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LB you aren't looking to Manhattan for the solution to other place's traffic problems, are you?

You native New Yorker, you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:51 AM
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FAIL.

Yes, it would be nice if people would try to avoid difficult left turns during rush hour, but people in the righthand lane (the examples you've given are two-lane roads) should be better about letting people in and people going the other direction should pay attention and create breaks when they can. (Which people in Austin are generally quite good about doing. It's one of the things I particularly like about this town.)

The only signs we need are "Don't block the box"-type signs for the larger intersections.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:52 AM
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people in the righthand lane (the examples you've given are two-lane roads) should be better about letting people in

Wait, there's another lane? I have no sympathy, then. If they're not blocking the whole road, what's wrong with letting them wait to make their turn?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:53 AM
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Another traffic-related thing I like about Austin? Lots of suicide lanes (which, incidentally, alleviate the left turn problem).


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:55 AM
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16: All I was thinking is that most of my driving is on streets that have to be much more cramped than anything in Austin, and left turns aren't particularly a problem. Which means that the NY setup, while generally horrid, is such that the horridness is sort of evenly spread over all the things you might want to do in a car.

But you're right that appealing to NY traffic design as an exemplar is probably insane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:56 AM
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But, no, you're right that one way streets are probably a good solution to this problem (and to various other problems with city streets in general--they're underutilized in many cities). (And you're right that if we're talking about roads with two lanes in either direction, this shouldn't be a problem.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:06 AM
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At rush hour they need to all simultaneously change to British driving on the left side, then there's no problem making left turns.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:13 AM
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In Pittsburgh, this wouldn't work for so many reasons, including the fact that the average driver is 70 years old, with semi-impaired vision and a bad temper. Also, there are lots of places where the corners with the lights don't have a left-turn lane or an arrow for the left. Going to the next block won't help and often there is no easy way around if you miss the right corner.

To get around this problem, we have the "Pittsburgh Left". Basically, if you are making a left turn, you can sometimes make the left immediately after the light turns green. This either happens because you are aggressive or because the first car going the other direction sees that not letting you go first will hold-up a dozen cars. Opposing traffic will often let people make a left even without a light as they can see the blockage.

(Apparently cyclists hate these habits as nobody looks for bikes if the other cars give them an opening.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:21 AM
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The Pittsburgh Left, also knows as the "Roethlisberger Smasher".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:29 AM
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knows, also known as "known".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:29 AM
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Incidentally people do the "Pittsburgh Left" and the "Philly Stop" and the "Youngstown Driving On The Sidewalk" in Boston, too, but we don't have fancy names for it. We just call it "being a Boston driver".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:32 AM
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24: That corner is something beyond the ordinary Pittsburgh Left. It connects the South Side with downtown and is the back-way out of downtown for people who live in the southern part of the East End. You have to mash through a single, over-used and poorly planned intersection and you can see open road on the other side. There is a great deal of poorly-resisted temptation to be an asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:36 AM
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26: I can't remember the name a friend (from Cohasset) had given to getting off a highway at a right-hand exit at high speed nearly perpendicularly from the leftmost lane, but it had "Massachusetts" in it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:38 AM
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Has any city laid claim to "Make A Sudden Right From The Far Left Lane"? Maybe Boston could have that one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:38 AM
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Well that was certainly a surprising pwn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:39 AM
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Sometimes you actually want to turn onto a specific side street, traffic behind you or no, because it's your actual destination.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:39 AM
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I dated a transplant from Pennsylvania who referred to two cars traveling side-by-side on a four-lane road at the exact same speed, preventing anybody from getting past them, as the "Carolina Block".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:42 AM
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31: It's the journey that matters, not the destination. Unless you really do need groceries.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:42 AM
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Well that was certainly a surprising pwn.

As if one were to make a sudden right from the far left lane.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:43 AM
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Incidentally people do the "Pittsburgh Left" and the "Philly Stop" and the "Youngstown Driving On The Sidewalk" in Boston, too, but we don't have fancy names for it. We just call it "being a Boston driver".

I thought Bostonians just called this stuff "driving".


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:43 AM
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28-30 cracked me up hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:44 AM
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35: well, sure. I couldn't figure out how to phrase it that way. As it turns out, it's not very complicated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:45 AM
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Re Pittsburgh and Boston:

In Pittsburgh, other drivers, assuming they notice and aren't in a hurry or a pissy mood, will often yield in cases where they don't have to if they can see how it would help traffic or if they see that you've been stuck for a while. The Pittsburgh Left works because mostly people will let you do it. Does that happen in Boston? I was under the impression that Boston driving was more aggressive than stupid. In Pittsburgh, the stupid prevails more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:48 AM
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It works in Boston because the person turning left forces you to let them go- they turn whether you want to wait or not. Different mode of action, same result.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:51 AM
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I prefer to describe Boston driving as "innovative". People will do crazier things than you can possibly imagine if they think they can get away with it and that it might get them slightly further down the road. So, if they notice that you aren't staring intently at the red, revving your engine, they might try to quick cut in front of you to make their left turn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:51 AM
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38: Yeah, it's really not an aggressive move, as evidenced by the fact that out-of-towners screw up by failing to take the left, leaving their opposing number yielding to a motionless vehicle. That's completely different from the turner gunning it when the cross-traffic light turns yellow (a move that almost got me killed once in DC because I forgot it wasn't Pittsburgh, and the oncoming taxi was evidently in a hurry.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:53 AM
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39, 40: I'm not saying that is doesn't happen that way. I used to watch the light to stop people from pulling a left in front of me. Then I realized that in some cases I was the asshole. Now I left people go by me if I can see how it would clear the road. I still get angry when somebody tries to cut in front of me and there is no car behind me or no car behind them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:55 AM
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LA's left turn folkways mandate that three (but only three) cars get to go left after the light turns red.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:55 AM
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"Now I left people" should be "Now I let people."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:57 AM
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I've recently become aware that many drivers in Boston seem to have a rule-of-thumb that left-turning cars have right-of-way over cyclists in all circumstances. I have expressed my disagreement with this theory digitally, but it seems widespread nonetheless.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:57 AM
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a move that almost got me killed once in DC because I forgot it wasn't Pittsburgh, and the oncoming taxi was evidently in a hurry

Running a red light or jumping a green is a very bad idea in D.C., because so many other drivers are doing just that. Cab drivers are major offenders, though they have plenty of civilian company.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 8:59 AM
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drivers in Boston seem to have a rule-of-thumb that left-turning cars have right-of-way over cyclists in all circumstances

In at least two intersections I walk through every day, this applies to pedestrians, too. (Even in crosswalks.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:00 AM
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45: You mean you're in the far left of the road, and a left-turning car is turning in front of you or into you? What are you doing over there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:00 AM
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Maybe they have special cars that can't stop moving once they've begun turning left, lest they explode, like sharks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:02 AM
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I hate it when sharks explode.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:02 AM
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48: no, I mean that I'm riding on the right of my side of the road, and an oncoming car sees me, but decides to turn left into me anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:03 AM
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50: DON'T KNOCK IT 'TIL YOU'VE TRIED IT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BRODY | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:03 AM
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To get around this problem, we have the "Pittsburgh Left". Basically, if you are making a left turn, you can sometimes make the left immediately after the light turns green. This either happens because you are aggressive or because the first car going the other direction sees that not letting you go first will hold-up a dozen cars. Opposing traffic will often let people make a left even without a light as they can see the blockage.

I think I've seen fewer of these in the last few years (and more bicycles, though the two phenomena are probably unrelated). Much more common is just that nobody can turn left during the entire green light, so one or two cars just turn left as soon as the light turns red and the oncoming traffic stops.

It was definitely a brainstorm when I figured out that the reason it's so easy to turn left in Philadelphia, compared to Pittsburgh, is that Philadelphia has one-way streets and Pittsburgh doesn't.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:04 AM
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There's a clever trick that will save you from getting stuck behind someone trying to turn left: be in the right lane when you come to an intersection where that tends to happen.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:04 AM
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47: Around here, they periodically bring in a bunch of cops to ticket cars that turn into an occupied cross-walk. It's probably necessary because there are three universities and three hospitals in Oakland (i.e. Pittsburgh Oakland). But some of the pedestrians appear to have no desire to live.

(Here I'm thinking of the CMU student crossing Forbes in the middle of the block, stepping from behind an illegally parked truck, wearing a black coat after dark.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:05 AM
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54: Even some of the main streets around here are only one lane in each direction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:07 AM
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There's a clever trick that will save you from getting stuck behind someone trying to turn left: be in the right lane when you come to an intersection where that tends to happen.

Not every street is more than two lanes, Helpfulio.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:10 AM
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But some of the pedestrians appear to have no desire to live.

Maybe they're just doing their part to combat the recession by keeping the hospitals busy. Didya ever think of that?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:10 AM
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Oh, and funeral homes. And florists. Really, it's pretty noble of them.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:10 AM
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54: The maddening corollary to that on a lot of NY avenues is that if you don't want to get stuck behind someone making a left, be in the right lane. OTOH, if you don't want to get stuck behind someone doubleparked, be in the left lane. Solution? Slalom.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:11 AM
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55.1: But don't the hospitals need the business?

56: Yes, but those aren't the streets that H-G was complaining about.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:12 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:13 AM
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Way too slow. I plead under-caffeination.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:13 AM
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Solution? Slalom.

But I'm gentile.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:14 AM
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60: The clever trick there is not to drive in NYC, I think.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:15 AM
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Hitting pedestrians also helps lower the unemployment rate. And today we see that it's working!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:19 AM
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(Here I'm thinking of the CMU student crossing Forbes in the middle of the block, stepping from behind an illegally parked truck, wearing a black coat after dark.)

Here I'm thinking of the bicyclist who was zooming down the hill on DeSoto St. and then turned left, through a red light, across three lanes of traffic, without slowing down, into the contraflow bus-only lane.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:24 AM
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...into the contraflow bus-only lane.

The contraflow bus-only lane gets a person every couple of years. That's the mistake I worry most about making when pedestrianing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:26 AM
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Oh, geez are those scary. I suppose you get used to them, but I'd never seen one before going to Pittsburgh last year, and found them terrifying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:36 AM
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Hey! I need to defend some of the charges above! I'm right! Now hang on while I dredge this comment thread. Dredge the hell out of this comment thread, goddamnit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:38 AM
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69: I've been working within spitting distance of one for three and a half years. I still catch myself stepping out into that lane without looking the right direction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:40 AM
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Yes, it would be nice if people would try to avoid difficult left turns during rush hour, but people in the righthand lane (the examples you've given are two-lane roads) should be better about letting people in and people going the other direction should pay attention and create breaks when they can. (Which people in Austin are generally quite good about doing. It's one of the things I particularly like about this town.)

No, traffic is travelling too briskly in the right lane for you to get in, from a dead stop. I think it's pretty dangerous when people swerve over as they're braking, to avoid coming to a complete stop behind a left-turner.

And asking oncoming traffic to create breaks? That seems kind of ludicrously difficult. How would they have distance to see what's ahead and accomodate it? I've got my hands full already, just trying to look out for bikers and cars doing unexpected things, while texting on my phone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:43 AM
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FAIL.

No I don't.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:44 AM
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No, traffic is travelling too briskly in the right lane for you to get in, from a dead stop. I think it's pretty dangerous when people swerve over as they're braking, to avoid coming to a complete stop behind a left-turner.

If they can't get over fast enough to avoid getting stuck, drop the speed limit until they can.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:45 AM
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In Pittsburgh, this wouldn't work for so many reasons, including the fact that the average driver is 70 years old, with semi-impaired vision and a bad temper.

Don't call me average.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:47 AM
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74 is right. If a road is designed so that cars need to be stopped on it (i.e., no dedicated left turn lanes, and or parallel parking on the right), then the speed limit needs to be slow enough that people can safely deal with stopped cars, and cars moving around stopped cars.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:48 AM
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74:That wouldn't help. If the gaps are insufficient at 35 mph, you'll get proportionately smaller gaps at 25 mph.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:48 AM
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Wouldn't it be easier to equip cars with some kind of a signalling device, so that cars in the left lane (who are stuck behind a car waiting to turn left) could indicate to drivers in the right lane that they wished to change lanes? Then the drivers in the right lane could slow down to allow the drivers in the left lane to merge! I'm imagining a set of two lights on the rear of the car, one on each side.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:48 AM
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75: "Modal" would probably be more accurate, statistically speaking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:49 AM
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74 is right.

No it's not.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:49 AM
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77: Yes it would. One thing a NYer knows is what you can safely do at low speeds in congested traffic, and if people are driving 25, a car can edge out into traffic from a stop and it doesn't cause accidents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:50 AM
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Sometimes you actually want to turn onto a specific side street, traffic behind you or no, because it's your actual destination.

If this sufficiently gummed things up, you can often make 3 right turns. Which would possibly set you way back because getting across the street would take even longer, but hopefully there's an intersection with a light.

I'm being a bit sanctimonious, but this does come up all the time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:51 AM
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77: It sounds like maybe people in Austin just don't know how to drive. It's not about the size of the gaps, it's about people's ability to react to a car moving over in front of them (by slowing down if necessary to let them into the lane).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:51 AM
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And 78, of course. You signal, so people know you're going to edge out. And then they let you in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:51 AM
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83: Well, not don't know how to drive, but aren't accepting how you have to drive in tight, congested conditions. It involves driving slow, braking, and watching what other cars are doing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:52 AM
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84: Pitching a lit cigarette butt out the passenger-side window sometimes gets noticed when the signal doesn't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:52 AM
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81 and 83 are sort of true. I have driven in Boston and New York, and I don't drive the same way in Austin. And I assume this of other drivers.

It's not that we don't know how to drive so much as keeping up city driving is mentally intense, and if you drive a lot and the city doesn't require it, you tend to dial it back a notch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:54 AM
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Incidentally, although I think heebie's idea is a little silly and intend to keep making fun of it, there are signs in Boston that forbid certain left turns at certain times (like rush hour). They seem to work okay when people pay attention to them, which is about half the time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:55 AM
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Yeah, it sounds like the real problem is that Austin is hitting a point of congestion where it needs to flip over into real 'city driving'. Your post was resisting that -- trying to figure out a way to structure things to preserve the highway driving feel -- but if you don't have the room for things like left turn lanes and so forth, I think you just need to break out the city driving techniques.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:56 AM
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It's not that we don't know how to drive so much as keeping up city driving is mentally intense, and if you drive a lot and the city doesn't require it, you tend to dial it back a notch.

I had a friend who grew up in New Mexico who had the most insane driving habits because of this tendency. Crosswalks? What are those? Got the cruise control on? Then why not put your legs out the window? Bored while driving? Read a book!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:56 AM
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I meant to say above that the problem sounded like one of insufficient density, but I didn't, and now you all probably think I'm just making that up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:58 AM
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But it's really only city-driving at peak hours. This is a flexible system that allows people to behave sensibly in a wide variety of traffic levels. I'm sorry that you all are so attached to your hobgoblins of little minds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:58 AM
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Bored while driving? Read a book!

My dad reads the paper sometimes. At least he doesn't engage in the most popular New Mexico driving technique, "DWI."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:00 AM
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I'm sorry that you all are so attached to your hobgoblins of little minds.

My hobgoblin is named Steve. When I need to look my best, he pops out of my mind and onto my scalp to cover the bald spot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:00 AM
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88- Yes, there's one right in front of my house, and people sit on their horns the entire light cycle when someone is turning left. They also honk even when it's not during the forbidden period. I'm thinking about getting a green laser pointer to shoot out my window into the eyes of people who honk even when it's a legal turn.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:02 AM
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92: But asking people in the right lane to be flexible enough to let stuck drivers in is impossible?

What seems unworkable about the post is the burden it places on drivers to make a judgment call against their own interest. "Yes, it's legal to turn left here. But it's not legal to turn left in such a way that any other driver has to slow down." Are they allowed to hit the brakes to evaluate whether the left is possible? How long can they pause? The guy who wants to go straight behind the wanna-be turner seems to have the right of way - who's wrong if the guy behind rearends the wanna-be turner?

City driving is a solved problem. A nasty, ugly, awful problem, but it works kind of. If you're in a city, for driving purposes, you have to drive like it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:08 AM
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There is a related point on which all right-thinking people agree: anyone who sits in the left lane at a red light and then flips on the left turn signal when the light turns green should be summarily executed.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:08 AM
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But I'm coming at this from a NY driver's point of view, and what I notice as very different about out-of-towners is that they mostly seem very road-ragey to me, in that they think they have rights to progress forward smoothly at the speed limit, and get angry if someone interferes with that. And if there's enough other cars on the road, you don't have those kinds of rights, and thinking you do is just going to make you blow a bloodvessel in your brain.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:12 AM
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For a fun experiment along the lines of 98: find a 4 lane road with street parking in Los Angeles. Attempt to parallel park in the usual manner (by pulling ahead of the spot and backing into it). Observe cars pulling up to your bumper and drivers angrily honking the horn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:14 AM
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American parallel parking skills are in sad, sad shape.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:15 AM
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97: summary execution is a little strong; I'd be fine just slitting all four of their tires. I do that mentally now, but would like to see the law amended to allow me to keep a knife in my car for this very purpose.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:16 AM
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98 better not be to 97.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:16 AM
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There needs to be a special sign that allows drivers to merge right when the car in front of them is unoccupied because the driver is slitting all four tires of a third car which only turned its blinker on when the light turned green.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:17 AM
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(There's actually a long list of infractions that ought to be punishable by vigilante tire-slitting.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:17 AM
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101: My personal fantasy involves one of these, but I suppose we could try less extreme measures first.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:19 AM
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An argument could be made that widespread slashing of the tires of otherwise operable cars in the middle of the road wouldn't improve traffic conditions. But not by me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:19 AM
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There really is some cognitive dissonance between the expectation (that we've all been sold) that driving your own car will give you freedom, speed, and insulation from everyone else, on the one hand, and the actual experience of driving in cities and/or traffic, on the other. 98 gets at that nicely and makes me think of the New Jersey and Long Island drivers who pull the most sociopathic shit on the roads around here.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:21 AM
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97: Totally. That, the thing apo calls the "Carolina block," getting angry at better drivers than you who can manage a zipper merge, and other passive-aggressive practices are hallmarks of Portland driving.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:22 AM
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what I notice as very different about out-of-towners is that they mostly seem very road-ragey to me, in that they think they have rights to progress forward smoothly at the speed limit, and get angry if someone interferes with that

So, so true. Although I don't actually notice this much in Boston, where the out-of-towners more often seem paralyzed with fear than aggressively road-ragey. Where I notice it is everywhere else, where when I do something perfectly legal and sensible that happens to interfere with someone else's smooth-forward-progress they flip the fuck out and act like I'm the idiot.

(And, not coincidentally, this "right to keep moving forward smoothly" seems to be exactly what Heebie is asserting in her post.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:22 AM
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An argument could be made that widespread slashing of the tires of otherwise operable cars in the middle of the road wouldn't improvewould have a scarcely noticeable effect on traffic conditions.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:23 AM
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Topical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:23 AM
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107: Yeah. I don't have an intuitive feel for the American love affair with the car, because the vast, vast, overwhelming majority of the driving I've done is the sucky city kind. (And when I've gotten a taste of driving around on open roads, I like it as much as anyone else).

But the fun, happy kind of driving really isn't available as soon as people are living or working in any serious kind of density, and there's just no way around that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:28 AM
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And asking oncoming traffic to create breaks?That seems kind of ludicrously difficult.

I mean when people are slowing down as they're approaching a red light. You can often see from way back that the light is red.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:31 AM
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111: What could possibly go wrong? I love that emergency vehicle, though.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:32 AM
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I'm being a bit sanctimonious, but this does come up all the time.

It sounds like maybe people in Austin just don't know how to drive.

Heebie & I have very different experiences of driving in Austin. I've never found left turners to be a big problem. In genral, I find Austin drivers to be pretty considerate.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:35 AM
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+e


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:36 AM
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115: Are you from someplace denser?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:36 AM
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28, 29: I like to think of that one as "The Limo Driver Who Got Pulled Over on my Wedding Night." (And yes, the driver told the cop it was my fault.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:43 AM
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Solution? Slalom.

This is why I love driving in NYC.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:49 AM
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117: Yup, D.C., though I logged plenty of time in Northern Virginia, which is a whole other kind of traffic nightmare. I don't think it's just a matter of contrast to D.C., though. Austin drivers don't speed a lot (except on the highway), are pretty good about pedestrians and bikes (regular cyclists might disagree, but I usually see people giving them a wide berth), don't run red lights, are pretty good about letting people in, and almost never use their horns, which is so, so nice after D.C.

All of this is in the aggregate, of course. There are plenty of individual exceptions.

They do seem to lack a fundamental understanding of the four-way stop, which I've also noticed lots of other places, too. I think everyone should have to get retested for their license every 5 years or so and get a refresher course in the rules of the road.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:50 AM
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||
England and US draw into the same group- suck it, hooligans!
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:51 AM
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they think they have rights to progress forward smoothly at the speed limit, and get angry if someone interferes with that.

I confess that this is, in a sense, me, except that, as per 119, I think that progressing forward at the speed limit involves a lot of lane-switching and planning several moves ahead. My anger (annoyance, really) is with people whose response to city traffic is just a sort of paralyzed passivity, like they're waiting for the flow of traffic to sweep them to their destination without any input from their steering or acceleration mechanisms.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:57 AM
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It's not that people feel entitled to "right to keep moving forward smoothly". It's that if things start to get gummed up, you can wind up with an entire traffic jam.

Keeping traffic moving freely is absolutely key for large scale traffic smoothness.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:57 AM
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Also, sure, big cities with awful traffic don't have to deal with my piddling problems. That doesn't make my pain any less real.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:58 AM
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124 was me again. Proctoring a test. I had a student come up just now and say
"You probably can't answer this. But is the square root of 7 times the square root of 7 equal to 1?"


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:00 AM
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125: Oh dear lord.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:00 AM
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find a 4 lane road with street parking in Los Angeles. Attempt to parallel park in the usual manner (by pulling ahead of the spot and backing into it). Observe cars pulling up to your bumper and drivers angrily honking the horn.

Incredibly enough, I had (more or less) this experience in the Strip District* a few weeks ago. Two lane, one way street with parking on both sides. Everyone on the road is there for the Strip, and there is constant parallel parking. I came up on a space, slowed down before I reached the space, signaled, then crept forward... and the idiot behind me followed my bumper. I was incredulous. She was then stuck behind me because of a fairly steady flow to our right. All the while giving me the hairy eyeball. Unbelievable.

* produce/ethnic/Steelerswear shopping district that is totally ped-oriented; they should just shut down the street every Saturday, but they haven't got the guts.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:02 AM
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Damn, even I know that one.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:03 AM
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And I think 122 works to 123. Traffic can move fairly freely so long as people use city-driving skills (staying out of the left lane if you don't need to be in it, driving slow enough to let lane-changers in, and so on). Past a certain density point, though, you just can't drive on automatic any more and have it work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:03 AM
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On a freeway, of course, excessive lane changes are the prime contributor to traffic jams. The driver who allows themself to be passively swept up in the flow of traffic -- without trying to pass or merge or anything -- is the good citizen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:08 AM
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And, yeah, 123 is absolutely incorrect in a city. The key in a city is to throttle the free flow of traffic in a controlled way, so it doesn't back up at choke points and cause gridlock.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:09 AM
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I grew-up in a town with one stop light and never really adapted to bigger cities very well. If it weren't for the inhumane crowding and my need to tote a pre-schooler, I'd take the bus to work. However, I still feel the romance of the road. Most of my late adolescent memories involve simultaneous DUI, MIP, and open-container violations in a series of large American sedans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:10 AM
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Past a certain density point, though, you just can't drive on automatic any more and have it work.

And right around that density point is where it would be really nice if people paid enough attention to avoid doing the small stupid things that tip you from heavy but moving into the bumper-to-bumper crawl. Also a pony.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:10 AM
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Downtown Austin has the one way street system and it works fine. The stretch heebie's specifically thinking of is only two lanes (i.e. one lane in each direction, so someone trying to turn left holds up all traffic in that direction).

It's a pretty busy east/west throughway, but that portion is through an old historic neighborhood, and it being a pretty busy east/west throughway is relatively recent, so there's not an obvious good solution. You can't make it one way because there's not another parallel street that would work to go the other way. You can't widen it without messing up the neighborhood.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:11 AM
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Also a pony.

I had a pony, back in the day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:11 AM
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And to clarify 134, the stretch heebie's thinking about is not downtown.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:12 AM
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Northern Virginia, which is a whole other kind of traffic nightmare
My first highway driving experience as a new, teenage, driver was the Beltway as rush hour was getting underway. The one bad habit I picked up there that doesn't work in Boston is assuming that because I'm driving a beat-up looking car, other drivers will want to keep their pristine BMWs or whatever away from me, which gives me more room to maneuver.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:12 AM
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134: What surrounds the stretch? Parking, buildings, open space? When I lived in slightly less urban western MA for a couple of years, I was surprised by drivers habitually weaving around cars turning left on two-lane roads, using the shoulder and very close passing, which was something city driving doesn't really let you do.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:16 AM
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The solution to the problem as described in 134 is to install mini traffic circles at every intersection. It'll slow down traffic overall, making the road less useful as a trunk road (a task it wasn't designed for) but will keep traffic from stopping outright. This kind of thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:16 AM
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127.last: I thought they closed at least some of the Strip District streets on the weekend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:17 AM
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138: Yeah, this sounds like a speed problem. Streets I know like that, even if there isn't a turn lane the wanna-be turner eases left, so their wheels are right on the line, and other cars sneak around to the right at 10mph. Slow, but not stopped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:18 AM
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What surrounds the stretch? Parking, buildings, open space?

Single family houses.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:19 AM
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141: On certain streets around here, the bike lane works very well for that sneak.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:20 AM
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139: There really isn't room.

141: That sort of works on this stretch, but with the number of huge SUVs on the road, not always.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:20 AM
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138/139/141/the comment I'd started to type but deleted since it seemed not worth the energy all seem seem like decent solutions. The point on which there seems to be unanimous agreement is that Heebie's proposal is a terrible idea.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:21 AM
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139: That's a good idea if there's space for it, but this sounds like something with historically protected buildings on the corners.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:21 AM
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Also, with regard to the section of Guadalupe that I mention in 1 (which is four lanes, two each way), the stay in the right lane gambit gets messed up by the fact that buses stop in the right lane. Generally it's best to stay in the left lane but keep an eye out for the left turners.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:22 AM
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140: No. They've done it a few times around the Super Bowls (and it was so fucking great), but otherwise every street is open to traffic, for better and worse.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:23 AM
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You can't really get a sense of scale, but those traffic circles are no bigger than a regular intersection. It also sounds like 88 could work okay, even if it's pretty retrograde as far as current traffic engineering theories go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:24 AM
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I'd like to actually see this road. Can somebody who knows where it is google map it.. at.. me?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:24 AM
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139, 44: They did this in Chicago on a whole bunch of residential north/south streets that folks were blowing down in order to escape the more heavily trafficked Clark, Broadway, Sheridan, etc. And really, they weren't quite traffic circles in the most common sense, really they were little landscaped islands in the middle of each intersection that prevented drivers from simply going straight, and forced them to honor stop signs, slow down, and jog around the island.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:25 AM
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148: I guess it must be the Super Bowls I was thinking of. As long as they leave Liberty open and keep a couple of streets going so you can get to the parking lots, I don't see the problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:26 AM
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151 describes them accurately. I've also seen them in Berkeley.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:26 AM
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The point on which there seems to be unanimous agreement is that Heebie's proposal is a terrible idea.

I'm pretty sure you all are contrarian old fogeys. I'm pretty sure that is the problem.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:26 AM
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At some point, if there's just more traffic using the road as a major thoroughfare than the road was designed to handle, and there's no way at all to expand the road, then the road is just going to back up frequently, and you just have to deal with that.

(One other solution I've seen is just to prohibit left turns altogether (possibly even by building a barrier down the middle of the road) except at certain designated spots every few miles or so, whereever there is room to put a dedicated left turn lane. This is a pain if you want to get someplace that's on the other side of the road, since you have to circle back, but if the improvement in traffic flow is significant it could be worth it.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:27 AM
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150: Here ya go.

38th Street between Guadalupe and Duval, basically. The rest of 38th is wider, with two lanes each way, but that strip is only two lanes wide.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:28 AM
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154: Steve says the problem is you, not us. He likes the traffic circle idea and would really like to put one at Beechwood and Forward.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:28 AM
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How on earth is 155 not addressed by the original post?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:29 AM
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151: They've actually put those exact things in the neighborhood surrounding this particular stretch, because people try to cut through there to beat the backed up traffic on 38th.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:30 AM
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I don't understand 158.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:32 AM
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159: For example.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:33 AM
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How on earth is 160 not addressed by 158?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:33 AM
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160: It's because you're an old fogey.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:34 AM
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At some point, if there's just more traffic using the road as a major thoroughfare than the road was designed to handle, and there's no way at all to expand the road, then the road is just going to back up frequently, and you just have to deal with that.

And while you are patiently sitting in backed up traffic, you could dream up idyllic solutions like the one proposed in the original post.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:35 AM
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160: You need to upgrade your hobglobin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:35 AM
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What a terrible place for a trunk road.

Have you considered building a subway?

Or adding left turn arrows to the lights at the already-signalized intersections and banning lefts at all the other streets.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:36 AM
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164: This really sounds like a job for a Faceless Bureaucrat somewhere in the Austin Department of Transportation. That street looks like a little side street where the limit should be 25 to me, and if people want to drive on it like a highway, it's only going to lead to sorrow. I don't know what the answer is, but I bet there's some way to make it a less attractive alternative (like, fuck with the timing on the lights. Come to think of it, shouldn't there be some way to mess with the timing of the lights to make openings for left turners, also?) and route people who want to drive fast around the adorable historical neighborhood.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:39 AM
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Looks like your real problem there is the misaligned cross streets. Fix that and people would have room to duck around the left-turners at the intersections.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:40 AM
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I'm disappointed no Faceless Bureaucrat sprung for high-res aerial photography of that road. How can we pointlessly debate this on the internet using only low-res satellite imagery?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:41 AM
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If you want to see how dangerous crossing the street is in Oakland, do street view looking north at this intersection. Poor guy lost his legs and hasn't hit the ground yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:42 AM
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The stretch described in 156 is only like 7 blocks long. What's the problem with just banning all left turns along there, again?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:44 AM
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That street looks like a little side street where the limit should be 25 to me, and if people want to drive on it like a highway, it's only going to lead to sorrow.

While sorrowful, this is not really a description of the problem.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:44 AM
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170: that's not a real guy. That's one of those pedestrian decals you can get for your pickup.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:45 AM
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171: Oh, there are a bunch of residential streets throughout Austin that have become heavily trafficked during rush hour. That one street is representative.

Saying no left turns on any street at any time would work fine at rush hour, but is idiotic for 3 am. A perfect solution would be a sign that says "Good Judgement Is Required Here." Hey, that's what the original post proposes!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:46 AM
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Saying no left turns on any street at any time would work fine at rush hour, but is idiotic for 3 am.

There are those light-up no left turn signs that are only on at certain times, perfect for your needs!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:47 AM
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And if we lined every freeway with billboards saying "Don't Be An Asshole" nobody would vote for Republicans.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:48 AM
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But the needs are more refined than strict hours! Why not a good judgement sign? If the traffic light elsewhere happens to provide a break, feel free to take it. But don't back up traffic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:48 AM
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Yeah I've seen signals that are basically just red arrows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:49 AM
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178 to anything?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:49 AM
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And if we lined every freeway with billboards saying "Don't Be An Asshole" nobody would vote for Republicans live in Texas. Problem solved!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:50 AM
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Why not a good judgement sign?

Besides that it's totally unenforceable?

How about signals that are triggered by traffic conditions?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:50 AM
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178 to 175. Or whatever you feel like.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:50 AM
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How is my actual proposal, which tries to quantify "good judgement" less enforceable than all the other traffic rules which try to quantify "good judgement"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:53 AM
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But the needs are more refined than strict hours! Why not a good judgement sign?

Because, I fear, good judgment is not highly amenable to enforcement via sign.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:54 AM
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Pwnage makes me look especially jerky! Sorry.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:54 AM
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What are other traffic rules which try to quantify good judgment?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:55 AM
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I'll show you jerky!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:55 AM
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177: Well, it's a combination of totally unenforceable and an incentive to floor the accelerator to get through a too-small gap rather than waiting until it's safe. It just sounds like a recipe for honking and T-bones.

On the faceless bureaucrat end of it, I really do wonder if there's some way to mess with the lights to create gaps for left-turners.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:55 AM
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The thing is, the intent of this stretch is clearly "Don't turn left anywhere." Unfortunately, it's only marked at the traffic lights. The solution is not to really accomodate the left turners, because the street can't handle them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:57 AM
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You need these bad boys, hooked up to real-time traffic conditions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:58 AM
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What are other traffic rules which try to quantify good judgment?

"Speed limit as posted or lower, depending on adverse weather conditions"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:58 AM
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I remember neighborhoods installing circles to discourage through traffic. As a teenager, this seemed to be an encouragement to slalom.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:59 AM
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191: well, right, and in practice what that means is that everybody goes 10-ish MPH over the posted limit regardless of conditions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:59 AM
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189: How does a stretch of road communicate intent?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:59 AM
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194: sidelong glances, a carefree laugh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:00 PM
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I really do wonder if there's some way to mess with the lights to create gaps for left-turners.

Of course there is. Have the ilght for one direction go green (ideally with both a straight light and a green arrow) about 15 seconds before the light for the other direction turns green (and that one would have no green arrow). At every other interection you reverse which direction of traffic gets a 15-second green-arrow jump.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:01 PM
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193: Sure. And I've gotten pulled over for going at the speed limit, when it was really foggy.

You all are behaving like a bunch of freshmen with an assignment. "Is this on the test?" "If I get to drop my two lowest homework scores, then Jimmy is going to get a free ride when I had the flu and had to use my free drops up!"

Traffic laws work pretty well when 80% of us act sensibly around them. This would, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:02 PM
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Nuh uh!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:07 PM
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Takes square root of seven times square root of seven to know the square root of seven times square root of seven.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:08 PM
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196: Duh. That'd work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:09 PM
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That would not work here, but I want to write a new post instead. I just saw a picture that made me sad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:10 PM
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You could make it a post about the picture that made you sad and the Boston meetup on Tuesday!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:11 PM
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Of course there is. Have the ilght for one direction go green (ideally with both a straight light and a green arrow) about 15 seconds before the light for the other direction turns green (and that one would have no green arrow). At every other interection you reverse which direction of traffic gets a 15-second green-arrow jump.

I've seen the first half of that in a lot of places, but it never seems to alternate. One direction gets left-turn rights while the other one doesn't.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:13 PM
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A perfect solution would be a sign that says "Good Judgement Is Required Here."

Back on the bong, are you?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:14 PM
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202....oh. I certainly could have. Details?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:15 PM
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Also, today is my least favorite school day of the year, because I have to listen to (painful) senior seminar presentations for the next four hours.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:16 PM
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Off to swim be painfully bored.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:23 PM
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Here's to hoping you don't wear a nose-plug by mistake.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:01 PM
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Don't forget to snap your hips.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:27 PM
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Possible pwnd by prevous hundred comments I haven't read, but London has signs like this in English

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_HxwBGrG_8zA/SN9Dp8eiZtI/AAAAAAAABVQ/j0G5AtTzYPc/s1600-h/25+P-Turn.jpg


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:56 PM
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I'm pretty sure the text below that sign says "you can only turn left if you're not blocking traffic." Wow. Sometimes it hurts to be so right, but the forthcoming flood of apologetic wows helps cut the pain.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 12:15 PM
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The wowed aplogize to you in e-mail.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 12:35 PM
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