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Auto safety: Better Red than Dead
December 13, 2011 10:46 AM   Subscribe

The Stop Sign Wasn’t Always Red. Yellow signs were used before there was a way produce a reflective material in red that would last. We have the Mississippi Valley Association of State Highway Departments to thank for the stop sign’s iconic shape. In 1923, the association developed an influential set of recommendations about street-sign shapes whose impact is still felt today. The recommendations were based on a simple, albeit not exactly intuitive, idea: the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes.

Although all English-speaking and many other countries use the English word stop on stop signs, some jurisdictions use an equivalent word in their primary language instead of or in addition to it.
"Both stop and arrêt are considered valid French words and the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) notes that the use of "stop" on stop signs is attested in French since 1927"

What about increasing the vocabulary of road signs? A Take Turns sign has been proposed by Gary Lauder in this TED talk.
posted by Obscure Reference (109 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd love to have that take turns sign everywhere, but the problem is that (a) a 4-way stop already solves that problem (while generating failure-to-stop ticket revenue for police departments) and (b) when I first read it, I thought it meant you *had* to turn.
posted by rebent at 10:48 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


A circular sign has one side.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:50 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


But also infinite sides.
posted by cmoj at 10:51 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I recently failed a driving test because I was too cautious. The examiner said "I hate to use that word, too cautious..." It's because I made the mistake of watching youtube videos on right of way for intersections, which all contradict each other.

Well I deserved to fail, but let's face it, intersections are completely arbitrary in their design, and the real kicker is that there's at least a dozen different arbitrary intersection designs in every transportation area law-wise.
posted by Yowser at 10:52 AM on December 13, 2011


Which has nothing to do with the "Take Turns" sign, which appears to be an appeal to add one more arbitrary sign to the mix.
posted by Yowser at 10:53 AM on December 13, 2011


"Today the stop sign is so ingrained in collective international driving culture that some experts are, counterintuitively, recommending doing away with it entirely. (Ejby, Denmark; Ipswich, England; and Ostend, Belgium, are already experimenting with a post-stop-sign world.) “The theory is that people will pay more attention to pedestrians and other vehicles and slow down in pedestrian areas if there are no signs, because they won’t know what to do,” Schank says. “That wouldn’t be possible if [Eno] hadn’t first introduced the stop sign.”"

I'm going to disagree. And also stay the hell away from any place that chooses to remove instructional and warning based road signs.

Also, circles have an infinite number of sides.

Also, also, Stop Signs and traffic lights are highly aggravating. I welcome the round-about and its superior traffic handling.
posted by LoudMusic at 10:54 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then why are yield signs triangles? I would think that they would be more important, for example, than "This exit: McDonalds, Howard Johnson's, KFC".
posted by Flunkie at 10:55 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Take Turns and Alternate" is a pretty interesting sign, but then I imagined trying to walk through an intersection signed with that sign. And I can't really imagine it being pedestrian-safe at all. Drivers would see the sign, see no cars waiting, and they'd roll right through.
posted by entropone at 10:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yowser, I think about robot cars like Google's, and wonder how they navigate intersections, which seem to be more about human social behavior than law. 4 way stops might be AI-complete! (that is, you won't be able to develop a robot car that is smart enough to navigate them until you solve the general problem of engineering human-level intelligence.
posted by jjwiseman at 10:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alternatively: get rid of all road signage and force people to think before they interact with any intersection, change in road width or curve.

LoudMusic and others with similar thoughts, read that linked article. It talks about an intersection that pedestrians and bicyclists used to avoid, but now without any signage, everyone enters the busy intersection on more even terms.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:56 AM on December 13, 2011


All of this will seem quaint when Google drives all of the cars for us.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:57 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love roundabouts (and would therefore love signless roads) because it's finally a place I can see how fast I can maneuver without the danger of getting a ticket
posted by rebent at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, also, Stop Signs and traffic lights are highly aggravating. I welcome the round-about and its superior traffic handling.

GO BACK TO HELL WHERE YOU BELONG.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Today the stop sign is so ingrained in collective international driving culture that some experts are, counterintuitively, recommending doing away with it entirely.

It's not so much the lack of signage that would be the problem, but that this solution would only work well in certain areas to begin with. Other traffic calming features (and an actual steady pedestrian presence) would be required. That's probably why it being tried out in smaller venues, without concommitant approaches it's akin to offering a band-aid to someone who has just been mauled by a tiger.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


GO BACK TO HELL WHERE YOU BELONG.

Seconded, from everyone who lives in DC with your infernal and accursed roundabouts. Seconded hard.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:07 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If the stop sign were designed today
posted by Shepherd at 11:08 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here in Massachusetts if a stop sign has a white border around it it means it's merely a suggestion, not mandatory.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


^I agree with Panjandrum, I think that removing signage only works in places where removing signage would work. Pardon the tautology. But I think that they would have to be places where the non-signage cues to drivers indicate that they can't drive around like they own the place.

That said, oversigning is a problem. In some of NYC's physically-separated bike lanes the number of signs telling people what to do, when, plus two different traffic signals all at one intersection, is totally a visual clusterfuck.
posted by entropone at 11:11 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In many places in the US, the stop sign is used far too often. This frustrates users badly, leading to rolling "stops", or people simply blowing through them.

In the US, there is an implicit 'yield to the right' on all uncontrolled cross intersections, and if two vehicles stop at a multiple-way stop at the same time, then the vehicle on the right has the right of way, if opposed, a turning vehicle has to yield to a non-turning vehicle, and finally, turning left yields to turning right. A T-Interseciton is simpler -- the road that goes through the intersection has right of way.

It is a waste to put up stop signs in either case, unless you want to remove the default rules. For example, if you want the E-W street on a cross intersection to always flow, you need stops or yields on the N-S streets.

So, in many cases, the stop signs at these intersections are simply wasted. You're required to stop unless you have the right of way, then you can proceed. A stop sign just forces you to stop, even if you already had the right of way. The worst mistake the US made in traffic design is the all-way/four-way stop.

That "yield to the right" rule is critically important. If you get into a wreck in an uncontrolled intersection, you will be presumed to have approached at nearly the same time (because you both ended up in the intersection at the same time, thus hitting each other) and thus, if you're the vehicle on the left, the accident is 100% your fault. You were required to yield, the other car was *not*.
posted by eriko at 11:12 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Circles may have an infinite number of sides, but a circular sign has two sides. Almost all traffic signs, regardless of shape, have two sides.
posted by Jeff Howard at 11:13 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


A circular sign has one side.

In the future, all traffic signs will be on Mobius strips
posted by TedW at 11:14 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


1965: The Supremes release “Stop! in the Name of Love.”

If only it could be possible for this to start playing every time you approached a sign.
posted by Webbster at 11:14 AM on December 13, 2011


Almost all traffic signs, regardless of shape, have two sides.

Three -- front, back, edge, unless you are postulating infinitely thin street signs.
posted by eriko at 11:14 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


But I think that they would have to be places where the non-signage cues to drivers indicate that they can't drive around like they own the place.

Clues or just plain old rules. You will not find a single STOP sign in all of Stockholm. At every intersection, drivers are required to yield to traffic coming from the right. If no one is coming, you just drive right through the intersection.

Of course, having the speed limit set to 30km in the city means that everyone is driving slowly enough for this to work, but you can sometimes drive from one side of the city to the other only slowing down at intersections and never coming to a complete stop which to me is a model of efficiency.
posted by three blind mice at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2011


Seconded, from everyone who lives in DC with your infernal and accursed roundabouts. Seconded hard.

DC's traffic circles are really terribly designed.
posted by empath at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2011


Of course, having the speed limit set to 30km in the city means that everyone is driving slowly enough for this to work, but you can sometimes drive from one side of the city to the other only slowing down at intersections and never coming to a complete stop which to me is a model of efficiency.

I simply cannot imagine this working in any major american city. The ignore the stop signs anyway, but at least they slow down. Get rid of the stop signs and people would be driving 50 miles an hour through all of them which is not enough time to even tell if someone is coming.
posted by empath at 11:19 AM on December 13, 2011


I've noticed some stoplights have little strobe lights flashing inside them, because A RED LIGHT ISN'T NOTICEABLE ENOUGH. Just like how people start events 15 minutes later than the scheduled time, so as not to offend the latecomers. Latecomers SHOULD be offended. People who can't see a red traffic light OUGHT NOT TO DRIVE, and if it takes a few fatalities here and there to communicate that message, then so be it. You know what else annoys me? This suit they have me in, here in this box. I would NEVER wear this suit. I'm down here for eternity! I can't be comfortable? How about a pair of chino slacks and a cardigan?

- Andy R.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:21 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


A "Take Turns" sign just sounds like something George Carlin would have ripped on a la his football vs. baseball routine.

I like how the expert interviewed in the article comes very close to equating non-motor vehicles on the road with utter chaos.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:21 AM on December 13, 2011


Also, nothing is very noticable when you're looking at your cell phone instead of looking out the big window they put in the fronty part of your car.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:22 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Three: front, back, edge

Infinitely thin street signs are a cost-cutting measure here in California.
posted by Jeff Howard at 11:24 AM on December 13, 2011


“The theory is that people will pay more attention to pedestrians and other vehicles and slow down in pedestrian areas if there are no signs, because they won’t know what to do,” Schank says. “That wouldn’t be possible if [Eno] hadn’t first introduced the stop sign.”"

I'm going to disagree. And also stay the hell away from any place that chooses to remove instructional and warning based road signs.


I think this tactic works in certain places that probably have better driver education, than say, the US. We put 16 year-olds on the road with the barest minimum education, and the expectation that once you have a car, you are a grown-up and can do whatever you want. When car=freedom in the culture, people tend to see no signs as an excuse to do whatever they want.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:26 AM on December 13, 2011


Here in Massachusetts if a stop sign has a white border around it it means it's merely a suggestion, not mandatory.

In case you're not joking, that's an urban legend.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:30 AM on December 13, 2011


In the US, there is an implicit 'yield to the right' on all uncontrolled cross intersections, and if two vehicles stop at a multiple-way stop at the same time, then the vehicle on the right has the right of way, if opposed, a turning vehicle has to yield to a non-turning vehicle, and finally, turning left yields to turning right.

This is an insane set of rules that I've never heard of and never known anyone else that followed them. And at least in the state of Ohio I'm fairly certain that it is not in any instructional material provided by the DMV, so I can't imagine it being used to assess legal liability. I also can't imagine any scenario when this complex decision tree would have helped; some combination of waiting and cautiously starting into the intersection has gotten me through every single four way stop that I've been in, without any sort of wreck.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:30 AM on December 13, 2011


I get the reason for having the strobe lights in red lights, even if it seems unneccesary, but does anyone know why they've started using those green lights that you can't see until you're right under the damn things?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:31 AM on December 13, 2011


Of course, having the speed limit set to 30km in the city means that everyone is driving slowly enough for this to work, but you can sometimes drive from one side of the city to the other only slowing down at intersections and never coming to a complete stop which to me is a model of efficiency.

Drivers actually obey the speed limit? That never happens in the US.
posted by octothorpe at 11:31 AM on December 13, 2011


I simply cannot imagine this working in any major american city. The ignore the stop signs anyway, but at least they slow down. Get rid of the stop signs and people would be driving 50 miles an hour through all of them which is not enough time to even tell if someone is coming.

I think it would take a while to change and the change wouldn't be accomplished by any discrete implementation like removing stop signs or changing the speed limit. What's required would be redesigning cities so that public space is shared, rather than focused on the efficient use of automobiles. People speed through at 50mph because they think it's their right to, because they're in a car.

Changing that would require changing public perception of public space, the space itself, the availability of transportation, the cost and convenience of auto use, etc.

A worthwhile shift, IMO.
posted by entropone at 11:31 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is an insane set of rules that I've never heard of and never known anyone else that followed them

Here are the MD state right of way rules:
You should yield the right-of-way to:
• the driver who is at or arrives before you at
the intersection;
• drivers in the opposing traffic lane, when you
are making a left turn;
• the driver on your right, if both of you arrive at
the intersection at the same time;
• drivers on a public highway, if you are entering
the highway from a driveway or a private road;
• drivers already on a limited access or
interstate highway, if you are on the entrance
or acceleration ramp;
• the driver on your right at a four way
intersection controlled by stop signs;
• pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers who
are still in the intersection;
• drivers on the through highway, if you are at
a “T” intersection and you are entering the
through highway by either making a right or
left turn;
• other drivers, if you are approaching an
intersection with a Yield sign facing you.
I imagine most other states are similar.
posted by empath at 11:36 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Take Turns sign certainly looks like an idea an engineer would love. An indecipherable shape (which seems to imply some meaning that needs decoded) festooned with too much text. It's one of those "sure there will be accidents at first, but, eventually, people should get used it" solutions.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:36 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bulgaroktonos: "does anyone know why they've started using those green lights that you can't see until you're right under the damn things?"

Probably to force you to be a little cautious when approaching the intersection, instead of flooring it because it's green. If you slow down slightly while approaching you're more likely to be able to brake in time if the light changes to yellow. Look at the lights - even if green is hard to see from afar, the yellow and red are highly visible still, right?
posted by caution live frogs at 11:37 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the UK, I very rarely see stop signs. They do exist, but the general rule in street design seems to be that if you can get away with just using Give Way signs, you do; in situations where that would cause drivers on the minor road to wait for too long, or where there's no clear priority, they add either lights or a mini-roundabout. Which have problems of their own, but they do at least feel faster than having to come to a complete stop every time.
posted by ZsigE at 11:37 AM on December 13, 2011


Alternatively: get rid of all road signage and force people to think before they interact with any intersection, change in road width or curve.

Oh man, I'd love to see this tried in Beijing. If you think American drivers are rude and aggressive... shit, a New York cabbie wouldn't make it 100 yards in Beijing. Pedestrians, bikes, motorized bikes, motorcycles, and cars of all kinds all vying for supremacy on roads with unclear signs, lanes which are really only suggestions, and no defined right of way. Never wait to merge, just dive right in: if you wait for somebody to let you merge, you will never ever get to merge. Right turns? There's pretty much an implied green right-arrow at all times, no matter what any other lights are, no matter if there's pedestrians crossing. Just go right on through and merge (see above) with traffic is they have the green and try to minimize pedestrian casualties if they're trying to cross at the same time.

I would never ever try to drive in Beijing. My uncle drives there and even after years of doing it he still doesn't feel comfortable doing it. Riding in his car and the various taxis we took was a constant stream of nerve-wracking moments where I thought we were going to hit somebody or we were going to be hit.
posted by kmz at 11:37 AM on December 13, 2011


Other traffic calming features

I always got a kick out of this relatively new phrase. Traffic calming? It's not the traffic that needs calming, it's the people in the traffic that need calming.
posted by Melismata at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2011


Good point, kmz. After watching the Ice Road Trucker spinoff "IRT's Deadliest Roads", where they drove up mountains in India and Boliva, I felt grateful to be a Boston driver. Grateful, I tell you.

And they're rotaries around here, not roundabouts, darn it! :)
posted by Melismata at 11:43 AM on December 13, 2011


Probably to force you to be a little cautious when approaching the intersection, instead of flooring it because it's green. If you slow down slightly while approaching you're more likely to be able to brake in time if the light changes to yellow. Look at the lights - even if green is hard to see from afar, the yellow and red are highly visible still, right?

See that would make sense to me if both the yellow and green were hard to see, but since it's only the green I always know it's going to be a green light when I can see it. It's either that or a power outage. So when I encountered one I don't slow down, I'm just a little more distracted by the stop light than I usually would be.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:43 AM on December 13, 2011


From the caption of the "Take Turns" sign: Half a stop and half a yield, the sign gives each driver a clear indication of how to behave.

When you hear someone using this sort of language, run the other way. So many things wrong with it, I feel compelled to enumerate them:

1. Half of one thing plus half of a different thing doesn't necessarily create anything useful. In fact it usually doesn't. Funny cars are an exception.
2. The sign doesn't give anything. It sits there. It is up to each driver to interpret it. Good luck.
3. Each driver is also a bit problematic, not least because it shows the obvious car bias.
4. A clear indication is definitely a good goal of the sign, but it is one of those things that you never need to claim or explain because if it is true then the observer already knows it.
5. How to behave suddenly makes following this sign into a moral responsibility. At best a sign is helping you cooperate with your fellow road occupants. At worst it is telling you how poorly the traffic engineer planned things. Most cases are in between.
posted by meinvt at 11:44 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would never ever try to drive in Beijing.

Last time I was in a taxi on one of Beijing's ring roads, I remarked to the driver that it looked to me as if there were no rules. He turns to me, smiles, and says "Not no rules. Even worse. Own rules. Everyone have own rules. All different."
posted by three blind mice at 11:45 AM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Huh. I've actually seen those yellow signs on old country roads. I always assumed they were faded red signs.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:45 AM on December 13, 2011


Empath, I'm a bit lost on your suggestion. The right of way rules are pretty clear, but they also establish that if you approach an undifferentiated intersection (both crossing roads of similar size) that is not marked by yield or stop in your direction it must be marked as such in the crossing direction. Of course, this is why in practice busier intersections become a four way "rolling stop", but I'm not sure it is worth another sign type for this.
posted by meinvt at 11:46 AM on December 13, 2011


I can't find a link, but I had a tour guide once tell me that up to the late 1960's, Catalina Island (off the coast of California) had stop signs in the shape of large red hands - fingers up, palm out.

Apparently, someone got a ticket for running one and took it to court where it was determined that the signs did not meet CA's Dept of Transportation code, and were removed and replaced with regulation octagonal signs.


posted by mmrtnt at 11:51 AM on December 13, 2011


The Dumbbell interchange (in case roundabouts weren't confusing enough).
posted by 445supermag at 11:54 AM on December 13, 2011


Seconded, from everyone who lives in DC with your infernal and accursed roundabouts. Seconded hard.

DC's 'circles' are to real roundabouts like 'potted meat product' is to steak tartare. They are ABYSMAL. Just making a driving area 'round-ish' does not a roundabout make.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


And at least in the state of Ohio I'm fairly certain that it is not in any instructional material provided by the DMV, so I can't imagine it being used to assess legal liability.

You are cordially invited to read Chapter 4511: TRAFFIC LAWS - OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, in the Ohio Revised Code. I point you in particular to 4511.41-.48, but do read the whole thing.

It sums up to the same -- at an uncontrolled intersection, right of way belongs to the vehicle in the intersection. If none, to the first at the intersection, if it is close enough to be a tie, then to the vehicle on the right unless opposed (which would, in effect, have both vehicles equally on the right and left.) If opposed, then the turning vehicle yields to the vehicle going straight, if both are turning and they're turning into the same lane, then the vehicle turning left yields.

Note that the fallout cases -- say, both vehicles are opposed and going straight -- don't lead to a situation where right-of-way is needed. This is why both cars going straight on a 4 way stop or an uncontrolled intersection can legally go together if they're heading opposite directions on the same street -- neither is required to yield, so both may continue.

"Yield to the right" is the fundamental rule in the US, and every other rule about yielding right of way is derived from that principal (in particular, when there is an explicit exception to that rule.)
posted by eriko at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, someone tweet me when this turns into a bicycle vs car thread.
posted by mmrtnt at 11:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Panjandrum: It's not so much the lack of signage that would be the problem, but that this solution would only work well in certain areas to begin with. Other traffic calming features (and an actual steady pedestrian presence) would be required. That's probably why it being tried out in smaller venues

From the Wired article featuring Hans Monderman (from 2004):
Riding in his green Saab, we glide into Drachten, a 17th-century village that has grown into a bustling town of more than 40,000. We pass by the performing arts center, and suddenly, there it is: the Intersection. It's the confluence of two busy two-lane roads that handle 20,000 cars a day, plus thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians. Several years ago, Monderman ripped out all the traditional instruments used by traffic engineers to influence driver behavior - traffic lights, road markings, and some pedestrian crossings - and in their place created a roundabout, or traffic circle. The circle is remarkable for what it doesn't contain: signs or signals telling drivers how fast to go, who has the right-of-way, or how to behave. There are no lane markers or curbs separating street and sidewalk, so it's unclear exactly where the car zone ends and the pedestrian zone begins. To an approaching driver, the intersection is utterly ambiguous - and that's the point.
Emphasis mine. But perhaps the difference is drivers education: Drachten is a Dutch town, not a US metropolis. As recently as Sept. 22, 2011, roundabouts, while better functioning traffic devices than signaled intersections, are not well received in the US, and shared spaces (unmarked roads, to be shared by all modes of transit) are unfamiliar enough in the US that there is still no data to support or deny their role in the States.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:02 PM on December 13, 2011


and then there's the DOuble Crossover Merging Interchange which is just a clusterfuck, squared.
posted by entropone at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2011


Just making a driving area 'round-ish' does not a roundabout make.

To be sure, the modern roundabout evolved from traffic circles. Traffic circles are not a poor imitation of modern roundabouts. Call them Neanderthal Roundabouts, if you will.

roundabouts, while better functioning traffic devices than signaled intersections, are not well received in the US

Tell me about it. My local city council just rejected one, largely as a cost savings (though it would have been 2/3 grant funded!), and the people -- they are rejoicing.

They like the "training wheel" roundabout that was built in a partly-developed shopping mall, though. "Not too much traffic!" Sheesh.
posted by dhartung at 12:10 PM on December 13, 2011


Apparently, someone got a ticket for running one and took it to court where it was determined that the signs did not meet CA's Dept of Transportation code, and were removed and replaced with regulation octagonal signs.

If the tour guide didn't end this story with "And that's why we can't have nice things", was any real lesson learned?
posted by Spatch at 12:16 PM on December 13, 2011


roundabouts, while better functioning traffic devices than signaled intersections, are not well received in the US

I've expressed my disdain for roundabouts/rotaries above, but can someone explain how they're "better functioning"? At a signaled intersection, I sit and wait for my turn, then I get to go. I make my turn, I go straight, whatever I was going to do, fairly confident that the sigal will keep all but the most determined moron from hitting my car.

At a roundabout, I sit there trying to find a gap between the cars in the right most lane that's large enough for me to enter, hoping someone in the roundabout doesn't change lanes suddenly into the gap I'm eyeing, and listening to the people behind me honking their horns because I'm not going when they would. When I'm in the roundabout I have to worry about being in the right lane, so as not to find myself forced down some side street in the totally wrong direction.

Seriously, how is this an improvement?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2011


This is an insane set of rules that I've never heard of and never known anyone else that followed them. And at least in the state of Ohio I'm fairly certain that it is not in any instructional material provided by the DMV, so I can't imagine it being used to assess legal liability. I also can't imagine any scenario when this complex decision tree would have helped; some combination of waiting and cautiously starting into the intersection has gotten me through every single four way stop that I've been in, without any sort of wreck.

Wow. Today I Learned. I learned the person on the right goes first in driver's ed class, in the DMV's handbook, and it was on my driver's test and is pretty much taken for granted. But I IM'd my friend from Ohio with the hypothetical question of who goes first when two people arrive at the intersection at the same time, instead of answering "the guy on the right." He replied "at the exact same time?" to which I replied "not to the millisecond but a reasonably same time." He said in the rare case where you do arrive at the same time, he'd just wait it out.

Which explains a lot to me because I live on a street that has several 4-way stop sign intersection an often times I'll arrive at the same time as someone else to my right and I will yield to them but they just sit there like an idiot waiting for me. I just thought they were idiots.
posted by birdherder at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2011


> but does anyone know why they've started using those green lights that you can't see until you're right under the damn things?

The instances I have seen the "hidden" green signals are around places where two intersections are back to back, or to sets of signals that are close, and are used to prevent people at intersection A from mistaking the signals at intersection B as their signal. Usually because A has some strange traffic pattern or right of way, so B may turn green before A, and some inattentive driver waiting at light A might jump the gun if they see a green light in their field of vision.

The intersection near my house has dedicated left turn lanes and signals, and at least once a week I see someone in the thru lane try to go when the car to their left takes their turn, because they aren't paying attention to their own signal, instead are going by "I see some green, and a car is moving, so I should be moving." To be fair, the lights are driven by sensors, so if the opposing left turn lane is unoccupied, then it is an all green signal for both left and thru traffic. But still, people are willing to hop on a green light that isn't even in their lane, it makes sense in some intersections hiding the green light from the field of view of drivers until it applies to them.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2011


They like the "training wheel" roundabout that was built in a partly-developed shopping mall, though. "Not too much traffic!" Sheesh.

I saw a small roundabout somewhere here in the bay area the other day with stop signs on all entries to it. Baffling.

As to the no signage proposals, in Buenos Aires most non-avenue and non-central-area streets have no signs at all, you're supposed to yield to the one on your right, plus common sense, etc. Of course, since most people there couldn't care less about rules and regulations it just mostly becomes a big game of chicken. If a lot of people tend to die at any particular intersection the city usually sticks a speed bump in it or a stop light. In any case, it's probably not ideal, but it's not absolute chaos or certain death either, and Buenos Aires is pretty big and full of cars.

I'll take roundabouts and speed bumps any day to that moronic hellish concoction that are stop signs.
posted by palbo at 12:23 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Traffic calming? It's not the traffic that needs calming, it's the people in the traffic that need calming.

Jay and Molly remind us:

When your driving in your automobile,
keep your hands on that steering wheel,
Sometimes, Sometimes
You got to Relax Your Mind
posted by mikelieman at 12:25 PM on December 13, 2011


> roundabouts, while better functioning traffic devices than signaled intersections, are not well received in the US

I've expressed my disdain for roundabouts/rotaries above, but can someone explain how they're "better functioning"? At a signaled intersection, I sit and wait for my turn, then I get to go. I make my turn, I go straight, whatever I was going to do, fairly confident that the sigal will keep all but the most determined moron from hitting my car.


Well, if a particular place has a lot of traffic a roundabout is probably not a good solution and lights are probably needed (and i imagine stop signs would be even worse for traffic anyway).

If the traffic at a roundabout is mild or non-existant then it means that you don't have to stop, or just yield to someone who's clearly in the roundabout already. I find them to be safer, since you have a better view of the cars involved in the intersection.

And hey, you even save gas, not that americans give a shit about that.
posted by palbo at 12:27 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


At a roundabout, I sit there trying to find a gap between the cars in the right most lane that's large enough for me to enter, hoping someone in the roundabout doesn't change lanes suddenly into the gap I'm eyeing, and listening to the people behind me honking their horns because I'm not going when they would. When I'm in the roundabout I have to worry about being in the right lane, so as not to find myself forced down some side street in the totally wrong direction.

Bulgaroktonos, it's called planning ahead. Knowing where you're going before you get there.

Roundabouts are "flow based". Their goal is to keep traffic flowing. Don't think of it as a round road with crazy entrances and exits. It's simply a "T" intersection where the roundabout is the main road and the road you're on has a yield sign.

A signaled or stop signed intersection is "turn based", where traffic is required to stop. This is an interruption to flow and causes unnecessary delays.
posted by LoudMusic at 12:27 PM on December 13, 2011


> Seriously, how is this an improvement?

A properly designed roundabout allows for continual flow of traffic without requiring people to stop. So you can move more cars in the same amount of time through an intersection than you can with a stop sign or signal light. Since vehicles have to come to a stop, line up, then the front vehicles have to start moving again, it cases a continual backlog of people waiting to cross the intersection. Light turns green, car in front starts to move, 5 seconds later, the next car moves, twelve cars back it takes a minute from the light changing to your car actually being able to move, by the time you reach the intersection, the light is red again.

While it might seem slower for an individual to go through a roundabout because their car might have to yield or wait longer, vs "hitting the light just right and going straight through" on average, the overall travel times end up being faster and the miles of cars backed up because of the starting to move lag doesn't occur as often.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes.

To a point, maybe. I suspect a sign with twenty-two sides would provoke less a feeling of alarm than "hunh, that circular sign was not well-finished."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2011


> but does anyone know why they've started using those green lights that you can't see until you're right under the damn things?

I remember seeing those the first time in the 1970s. As a passenger, I could never understand how my parents knew when it changed. I also specifically remember 3M had ads on TV touting their safety and because I liked the design of them and how bright the green was when you can see if compared to the back them really dim lights especially in the afternoon when the sun made it hard to see regular old lights. Weird the stuff I remember from my youth.

Currently there's an intersection with an old-school but LED brighter lights where every afternoon a bird hangs out under in the green light well. I think it might sleep there overnight which must be annoying for the bird if someone wants to turn left. If I go in the same intersection earlier in the day it is clear as the bird is out doing bird stuff.
posted by birdherder at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2011


This is an insane set of rules that I've never heard of and never known anyone else that followed them. And at least in the state of Ohio I'm fairly certain that it is not in any instructional material provided by the DMV, so I can't imagine it being used to assess legal liability. I also can't imagine any scenario when this complex decision tree would have helped; some combination of waiting and cautiously starting into the intersection has gotten me through every single four way stop that I've been in, without any sort of wreck.

Seriously? You may want to seriously consider whether you're fit to operate a motor vehicle if a 4-way stop is too complicated for you. It most certainly is taught in driver's ed and the DMV manual. It's consistent with all of the other stop situations. It's not even remotely complicated. In the relatively rare circumstance you come to an intersection at the same time as someone else, whoever's on the right goes first, and if you're opposed, whoever's going straight goes first. Not. Hard.

I hate when I'm reminded of how few people are even capable of following traffic laws, let alone know them.
posted by cmoj at 12:36 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


They replaced a traffic light with a roundabout on one of the main routes out of town where traffic leaving town was crossing traffic incoming but turning left. Prior to the roundabout it was not unusual to sit through two 90 second light cycles at this intersection due to backed up traffic. After the roundabout installation you usually don't even have to slow down, and at worst have a twenty second pause while a lot of traffic rolls through. All in all a huge improvement.
posted by meinvt at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


So how does a pedestrian cross a traffic circle if the flow of traffic never stops?
posted by octothorpe at 12:44 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw a small roundabout somewhere here in the bay area the other day with stop signs on all entries to it. Baffling.

That is dumb but if you think about it there's a lot of people who either:
a) don't come to a complete stop at a stop sign anyway so it at least slows them down because they...
b) are confused what the yield sign means

The closest roundabout to me is in Tijuana where some do have stop signs but because adherence to actually stopping seems to be optional, especially by taxistas it doesn't impede traffic. Others have the yield (ceda el paso) signs. And on larger thoroughfares the traffic circles are controlled by traffic lights (and for some reason most intersections controlled by lights also have stop signs...maybe throwback to times when electricity wasn't a 24/7 thing like it is now). Then again Mexico also has intersections with this sign (in a small town off the autopista in Morelos or Guerrero state between Cuernavaca and Acapulco where the bus stopped)
posted by birdherder at 12:46 PM on December 13, 2011


So how does a pedestrian cross a traffic circle if the flow of traffic never stops?

Either via "cat walks" over the road, or at pedestrian cross-walks on the 'spoke roads' connected to the circle. Never cross the circle on foot. Same as don't walk through the center of a lighted intersection - always cross the approaching roads at the sign / signal.
posted by LoudMusic at 12:48 PM on December 13, 2011


Same as don't walk through the center of a lighted intersection - always cross the approaching roads at the sign / signal.

I walk through the center of lighted intersections all the time. A lot of them around here have a fourway "walk" phase that stops all traffic and lets pedestrians walk across the diagonals.
posted by octothorpe at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here in Portland, the Coe Circle has pedestrian cross walks around the sides (which also double as the bus stops), so you only have to cross two lanes of traffic at a time, half of which are already slowing down to enter the roundabout. It's definitely not an ideal situation, but it is a good working solution that I have seen. Also just to the south is a dedicated bike street on Davis, so if you are trying to travel east / west by bike and don't actually need to be on Glisan, that is the best option of crossing in that area.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2011


I walk through the center of lighted intersections all the time. A lot of them around here have a fourway "walk" phase that stops all traffic and lets pedestrians walk across the diagonals.

I saw that once! I don't remember where now, but it was some American city. There were even additional Walk/Don't Walk signs, pointed diagonally towards the center.
posted by kmz at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2011


If the traffic at a roundabout is mild or non-existant then it means that you don't have to stop, or just yield to someone who's clearly in the roundabout already. I find them to be safer, since you have a better view of the cars involved in the intersection.

And hey, you even save gas, not that americans give a shit about that.


Maybe this is the problem, 'cause the traffic circles I have to deal with are typically packed with cars. They're not substitutes for 4 ways stops, they're substitutes for intersections with traffic lights between like four different streets intersecting. It's fine when there's no traffic, but at rush hour it's brutal.

I also don't prioritize travel time over my own personal well being, so I'd much rather sit at a light than have the stress of dealing with a rotary.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2011


So how does a pedestrian cross a traffic circle if the flow of traffic never stops?

Like traditional intersections there are crosswalks and cars are supposed to yield to pedestrians on the spokes. Compliance with that law is similar to that of traditional crosswalks. Pedestrians without a death wish are the mercy of the drivers to allow them to cross.

I walk through the center of lighted intersections all the time. A lot of them around here have a fourway "walk" phase that stops all traffic and lets pedestrians walk across the diagonals.

Unless is specially marked for diagonal crossing, you could get a jaywalking ticket. Where I live there are four way diagonal crossing intersections in a downtown pedestrian heavy area. Like traffic circles outside of shopping centers, diagonal crossing intersections are that not common in the United States.
posted by birdherder at 1:01 PM on December 13, 2011


Here in Massachusetts if a stop sign has a white border around it it means it's merely a suggestion, not mandatory.

Admiralty Stop Signs?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:01 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


So how does a pedestrian cross a traffic circle if the flow of traffic never stops?

Regular old crosswalks at the entrance points. Works pretty well in my experience.

As a driver I LOVE roundabounts; most of the ones around here are placed where a low-flow street intersects a high-flow street, and it makes some of the turns much easier. Plus people slow down, usually, so it makes for a more steady driving experience.

But as a cyclist I hate 'em, at least as they're implemented around here. The bike lane exits onto the sidewalk, and then you have to either get off the bike and walk, or maneuver very carefully through all the 90-degree turns onto the crosswalks. It's okay if you're just turning right, otherwise it's incredibly annoying. I really wish there were a better way to integrate bike traffic into the roundabouts. (I've ridden with traffic a few times on the one nearest to my office, but that's a bit hair-raising for me.)

it was some American city. There were even additional Walk/Don't Walk signs, pointed diagonally towards the center

My hometown (Pasadena, CA) put them in Old Town, I think when I was in college or shortly afterwards. So cool.
posted by epersonae at 1:02 PM on December 13, 2011


> It's fine when there's no traffic, but at rush hour it's brutal.

If the system was designed to handle 100 cars an hour, and there are now peak rates of 1,000 cars an hour, it doesn't matter what type of intersection is in place, it will be a nightmare. Fixes include doing flow analysis of the intersection, making various changes to the streets and layouts, and also helping on a systemic level by introducing things such as more alternative transit systems such as light rail, streetcar, and busses that would reduce the number of vehicles needed to go through that area. Of course that would cost money, and make things kind of horrible to commute through while the construction was happening, but would help in the long run considerably.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:03 PM on December 13, 2011


Seconded, from everyone who lives in DC with your infernal and accursed roundabouts.

Traffic circles and roundabouts really aren't the same thing.
posted by spaltavian at 1:04 PM on December 13, 2011


I like roundabouts as a driver, but I have to admit as a pedestrian I much prefer crossing traditional intersections. Whether with stop signs or with red lights, there's at least some point in time where cars are supposed to actually stop.
posted by kmz at 1:06 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quebec has diagonal crosswalks. Not that pedestrians follow the rules of the road (extreme jaywalking is one of my favourite sports in Quebec). Or anyone else, for that matter.
posted by Yowser at 1:15 PM on December 13, 2011


Traffic circles and roundabouts really aren't the same thing.

Spend a day or two in DC traffic and you'll be ready to take a swing at anything in the roundabout family.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:20 PM on December 13, 2011


Roundabouts aren't meant to replace traffic lights at an intersection where there's unending traffic. They work best when there's sporadic traffic from different directions, as it allows you to pass safely through the intersection without stopping (most of the time), or pausing to yield to a car with the right of way.

Driving in the US with four way stops sent me mad. There's no traffic for miles and I still have to stop? Or when there is traffic I'm meant to know which of the eight of us arrived first? It often seemed to end with two cars half-entering the intersection then gesturing to the other to go.
posted by twirlypen at 1:24 PM on December 13, 2011


Unless is specially marked for diagonal crossing, you could get a jaywalking ticket.

I've been jaywalking in Pittsburgh for two decades and haven't gotten a ticket yet. The police made a big deal about a jaywalking crackdown about ten years ago and started issuing tickets for it but people got so mad that they backed down and promised not to do that again.
posted by octothorpe at 1:27 PM on December 13, 2011


Maybe this is the problem, 'cause the traffic circles I have to deal with are typically packed with cars

DC's traffic circles are not roundabouts.
posted by empath at 1:34 PM on December 13, 2011


I really don't understand the whole "I'm in a car, I'm entitled to do whatever I want" mentality. Why so many American drivers see being behind the wheel as a God-given right, not a privilege. I used to try to bike to work, but quickly had to give that up, as I had far too many close calls with speeding, not-stopping commuters with a cell phone in one hand and Starbucks cup in the other, totally oblivious to anything not-car on the road. I've even been brushed a couple times as a pedestrian (and I'm a very brisk walker, even) by drivers who are just SO INCONVENIENCED by having to wait a few seconds for someone to cross the street.

It's like that bit in that old Goofy cartoon where people who are otherwise quite pleasant turn into complete monsters when they get behind the wheel.

I really do not understand (A) Why people can't just leave 15 minutes earlier, slow down, and enjoy the drive, and (B) why we continue to let these people operate motor vehicles at all.
posted by xedrik at 1:36 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand the whole "I'm in a car, I'm entitled to do whatever I want" mentality. Why so many American drivers see being behind the wheel as a God-given right, not a privilege.

I think some of this isn't entitlement, it's inexperience. I had been driving for probably 5 years (minus my carless college years) before I starting encountering pedestrians on a regular basis. I'm pretty good about handling them now, but I'm sure I did my share of inconsiderate things at first.

Obviously, this doesn't account for all of it, I saw a woman stop her car in the middle of the street to yell to get out and have a screaming match with a cyclist yesterday. That woman was probably entitled or maybe just completely crazy. Either way, she should probably not be driving.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:42 PM on December 13, 2011


I walk through the center of lighted intersections all the time.

No, you walk through certain intersections that have been designed for you to do so. An intersection that would be a candidate for a roundabout probably wouldn't be considered for an all-ped phase, so you're not going to have to worry.
posted by hwyengr at 2:00 PM on December 13, 2011


There's some great videos on youube about that drachten intersection references in the Wired article, above.. check here to start: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q47umjW7GfE It really gives you a better sense of how it works than the article which (at least for me) didn't appear to link to any visuals.
posted by modernnomad at 2:02 PM on December 13, 2011


I walk through the center of lighted intersections all the time. A lot of them around here have a fourway "walk" phase that stops all traffic and lets pedestrians walk across the diagonals.

I saw that once! I don't remember where now, but it was some American city. There were even additional Walk/Don't Walk signs, pointed diagonally towards the center.


This is the case on Montgomery Street in downtown San Francisco.
posted by trip and a half at 2:42 PM on December 13, 2011


This is an insane set of rules that I've never heard of and never known anyone else that followed them.

What, are you serious? How is that complicated? That's exactly what they taught me when I learned to drive at age 18, and I've been following those rules my whole life. It's the only way to deal with incredibly screwed-up multi-road intersections like this (which is on my route to/from work) or this (which was on the way to a former girlfriend's house).
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:28 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes.

Maybe so, but I still don't understand why city council here hasn't adopted my Devil Horns, Skull and Cross Bones, or Rising Phoenix shaped road signs. The silhouette of a roaring lion really drives home "left lane must turn left", I feel.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:35 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So who has the right of way when an oncoming vehicle is signaling left but instead turns right, or vice versa, as is typical in my neighborhood in Seattle? What if the vehicle approaching from the right is traveling at nine miles an hour, even though it's a major arterial?
posted by Fnarf at 3:48 PM on December 13, 2011


So who has the right of way when an oncoming vehicle is signaling left but instead turns right, or vice versa, as is typical in my neighborhood in Seattle?

You.

What if the vehicle approaching from the right is traveling at nine miles an hour, even though it's a major arterial?

The other car.

Common sense and most driving handbooks recommend identifying morons and trying to avoid them without engaging in additional moronness.

Don't see the relevance, though.
posted by palbo at 4:07 PM on December 13, 2011


Roundabout convert here. When my town started putting them in, I was initially grumpy about it. Once I had figured them out (not just intellectually but in an instinctual, automatic sense)—which took me driving through them all of six or eight times—their superiority to four-way stops was clear.

One additional bonus to roundabouts, which is not their main advantage, but icing on the cake: if you realize you've gone past your destination, a roundabout offers you the opportunity to make a legal and safe U-turn simply by going all the way around it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:08 PM on December 13, 2011


usually I go around twice, just for added effect. Also, you can test the adhesion limit of the tires on your car if you do it right.
posted by defcom1 at 4:54 PM on December 13, 2011


Common sense and most driving handbooks recommend identifying morons and trying to avoid them without engaging in additional moronness.

I don't think you understand. I'm talking about EVERY OTHER CAR ON THE ROAD. Seriously, Seattle is like a mobile mental hospital. We're pretty good about "taking turns", though. Except that for most people a four-way stop sign means nobody goes at all. Eventually, all four vehicles will start making hesitant little creeps forward, a foot at a time, in unison. Except for the guy on the left, who is reading the paper. The situation is resolved when one person makes a "you go ahead" gesture, then immediately floors it through the intersection.

When I lived in Massachusetts, which was almost as bad, the Boston Globe interviewed a bunch of random people on the street and asked them "who has the right-of-way in a rotary, the car entering or the car in the rotary already?" Exactly 50% plumped for each.
posted by Fnarf at 6:04 PM on December 13, 2011


The worst mistake the US made in traffic design is the all-way/four-way stop.

That "yield to the right" rule is critically important. If you get into a wreck in an uncontrolled intersection, you will be presumed to have approached at nearly the same time (because you both ended up in the intersection at the same time, thus hitting each other) and thus, if you're the vehicle on the left, the accident is 100% your fault. You were required to yield, the other car was *not*.


All well and good for cars, but for pedestrians it's terrible, because any time a pedestrian is hit the accident is presumed to be the pedestrian's fault (if you doubt this, look into how often non-impaired drivers are prosecuted when they kill pedestrians).

I think that removing signage only works in places where removing signage would work. Pardon the tautology.

I think the issue is that most US roads--even local, neighborhood streets-- are designed for relatively high speeds, with wide roadways clear of obstacles and generous turning radii. If you want to remove signage, you need narrower lanes, turns that require slowing to a crawl, and obstacles like bollards which physically interfere with careless or aggressive driving.
posted by alexei at 7:25 PM on December 13, 2011


I love roundabouts, but I have to admit I get pretty confused when they have multiple lanes. For example, consider a two-lane roundabout with four entry points. These descriptions match what I've seen in a driving manual and painted on real-world lanes: as you enter, the right lane can leave the roundabout at exit 1 or 2 and the left lane can leave the roundabout at exit 2 or 3. Suppose you are in the left lane and want to leave at exit 2, but a new car enters alongside as you pass exit 1. Who has the right of way as you try to leave? I don't see any solution that doesn't involve one of the cars yielding and potentially stopping inside the roundabout.
posted by stopgap at 7:48 PM on December 13, 2011


I simply cannot imagine this working in any major american city. The ignore the stop signs anyway, but at least they slow down.

Seems to work fine in Seattle, honestly. Most small residential intersections are uncontrolled (and street grids being what they are, that probably means most intersections are uncontrolled). If there's enough traffic through an intersection that there's much chance of you actually having to interact with another car, it gets a stop sign or light. Drivers in California seem to treat stop-signed intersections the way they're supposed to treat uncontrolled intersections.

Seattle does have the “after you / no, after YOU / no, I insist!” problem at all-way stops, of course, but that's a separate problem.

A lot of [lighted intersections] around here have a fourway "walk" phase

Those are have a number of amusing official names, including “pedestrian scramble”, “Barnes dance”, and “melee intersection”. (Also some boring names like “exclusive pedestrian phase”.)
posted by hattifattener at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2011


I've been jaywalking in Pittsburgh for two decades and haven't gotten a ticket yet. The police made a big deal about a jaywalking crackdown about ten years ago and started issuing tickets for it but people got so mad that they backed down and promised not to do that again.

I remember that. It was one of those obviously bad ideas as soon as they announced it. Really though, the whole pedestrian traffic interaction in Pittsburgh isn't half as confusing to outsiders as the whole "Stop except right turn" thing. I always kept a close eye on the plates of folks around me when heading through those.
posted by meinvt at 9:32 PM on December 13, 2011


Brit here, somewhat astonished that some Americans cannot (or will not) comprehend roundabouts.

The purpose of a roundabout is to keep cars moving with least disruption and maximal efficiency, but you are required to think about when it safe and appropriate for you to enter the roundabout and to know how to signal your intention to exit. The secret is turn-indicators (and of course everyone playing by the same rules).

Like this, looks more complicated written down than it is in practice. What is the American equivalent?
posted by epo at 3:17 AM on December 14, 2011


a roundabout offers you the opportunity to make a legal and safe U-turn simply by going all the way around it

There is one roundabout in town that has (to me) an unintuitive lane layout -- I think because the 4th entrance/exit doesn't actually (yet) exist -- which has more than once caused me to make a U-turn instead of going forward. :\ But at least I can keep going all the way around until I'm in the correct exit lane! Wheee!
posted by epersonae at 6:57 AM on December 14, 2011


Like this, looks more complicated written down than it is in practice. What is the American equivalent?

Blind panic and erratic lane changes. Watching tourists trying to navigate dupont circle is pretty hilarious.
posted by empath at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2011


Here in Portland, the Coe Circle has pedestrian cross walks around the sides

It also has stop signs on all four entrances, which completely defeats the purpose of being a roundabout.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2011


I like traffic lights.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2011


the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes.

Circular signs == Infinite Danger!
posted by cross_impact at 1:26 PM on December 15, 2011


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