Superstreets Save Lives And Fuel By Ditching Left Turns

When you think about it, left turns across two lanes of traffic going in opposite directions are kind of crazy. Only an admixture of luck, skill, and a collective social agreement to, as a general rule, avoid crashing into each other keeps you alive. In fact, left turns increase the potential for an accident and also waste fuel. So traffic engineers have come up with a new street design, called “superstreets” that get rid of left turns from side streets onto major roads. And a new study says they are both faster, and safer.

The design uses dividers to force most turns to be right hand turns. Want to go in the opposite direction? Use the U-turns located just down the road from the intersection. You can also make lefts from a limited turn lane, but it only goes over one lane of traffic.

Superstreets have been around since the 60′s, first pionereered in Michigan, where they are called “The Michigan Left.” Why they are getting attention now is the North Carolina State University study, the first of its kind, finds that superstreets reduce travel time by 20%. See, the U-turns are actually faster because drivers aren’t stuck at the light trying to wait for traffic to clear enough to turn. Not only that, but the superstreets studied had 46% fewer reported car collisions and 63% fewer collisions that ended in personal injury.

City planners should take note and think about adding superstreets to their designs.

No Left Turn: ‘Superstreet’ Traffic Design Improves Travel Time, Safety [NCSU.edu via Autoblog]

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  1. uber_mensch says:

    Why go to all of that trouble. Circle intersections have worked in Europe for years.

    • bogartbrown says:

      Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!

    • Hi_Hello says:

      round a bout are awesome!!! if you miss the exit, you just keep going round and round and round.

      none of these ppl blocking trafficing trying to turn crap.

    • Floobtronics says:

      Strangely enough, they’ve been working diligently to remove circles from all of the major roadways in my area (South Jersey). The big ones are all gone now.. I never minded circles, but they’re a source of terror for crappy drivers.

      Studies like this make me laugh. Why? I’m forever hearing crap about NJ being “The land of no left turn”. Now these guys want to make everywhere the land of no left turn. Admittedly, u-turns instead of jug handles might be better overall, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • skylar.sutton says:

      In Michigan some of these superstreets have 55 MPH speed limits… try doing that through a circle and let me know how it works out for you.

      • redhouse387 says:

        Let me know how well you survive when a car pulls out in front of you while going 55 MPH on a “Superstreet”.

        • Eviile says:

          Perhaps you missed the last line of the post.

          “Not only that, but the superstreets studied had 46% fewer reported car collisions and 63% fewer collisions that ended in personal injury.”

          • flychinook says:

            Is there any data for the percent of traffic going through these intersections before/after they become “superstreets”? I’m sure there’s at least a few people who avoid them, opting instead to make one turn at a different intersection instead of 3 at the new one.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Ugh, roundabouts. I don’t think they are difficult to understand. (Read the signs and road markings people!) However, watching other people try to negotiate one, there are a lot of stupid and distracted drivers here in America. They installed one where I live and it’s better than the weird, multiple point intersection that was there but I’ve been cut off or almost hit by people who try to turn from the through lanes or who are going through but are in a turn lane. Or people just don’t yield when entering it.

    • coren says:

      Doesn’t that present some of the same problems, but instead of waiting to turn left you’re waiting for traffic from other entrances to subside? This seems to resolve that.

      • UnicornMaster says:

        That’s assuming the main street is the more important street (kind of like a highway) and also assumes that the U-turn lanes don’t get filled up and pour into the main street. To cross the street you have to merge into traffic, cross two lanes, queue for a U-turn, wait for traffic to subside, then make said U-turn. Oh and then turn right onto the side street.

        Roundabouts are useful for giving all points of the intersection equal weight and if they’re big enough, not too difficult to navigate, and there’s never more than 2 right turns.

        • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

          they wouldn’t block left-hand turns for turning ON to a side street, only left hand turns going from a side street to the highway – they’re eliminating the dangerous act of crossing multiple lanes of traffic moving in both directions.

    • moyawyvern says:

      I grew up around rotaries, and in some cases, and in some places, they work. I now live in South Carolina, where they are very uncommon, and are confusing to many. There is nothing scarier than being on a rotary and seeing a car coming at you.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      They work, as long as everyone knows how to use them.

      There are 2 circles at my home town and when I go home I quite often end up almost rear-ending someone who comes to a full stop before entering the circle. With no one in front of me and a clear circle, I just blow right through it. Pisses people off, even though I’m using the damn thing correctly.

  2. TheWillow says:

    um… isn’t this just New Jersey?

    • kc2idf says:

      I’ve driven one in Canandaigua, NY. It works pretty much as advertised.

    • seth_lerman says:

      That’s what I was thinking. But the difference that I’m seeing is in NJ, they are “jug handles” where you are left waiting at a light to cross the road you just exited. Here, there are special “u-turn” lanes on the left so that you pass your (left) turn, make a u-turn up ahead and now your turn is a right turn.

      Looking at the picture above though, I think the u-turns could be done better. Have the completion of the u-turn be in it’s own lane on the left hand shoulder to then merge in.

      • uberbitter says:

        There are plenty of the superstreet design in NJ too, mostly in southern NJ. I actually hate them, but perhaps they are either poorly-implemented or on roads where the speed limit is too high for them to work well.

        • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

          Rt 22 in Springfield, NJ is like this.

          And it’s a total parking lot pretty much anytime between 7am and 7pm every day. Even weekends.

          • GWC3 says:

            I came here to mention Rt. 22 in Springfield, which uses a similar design. It is a horrible, horrible highway that was designed by a lunatic, or perhaps a car crash fetishist.

            There are big box stores on both sides of the highway, and smaller businesses like restaurants and radio shacks in the middle. So it’s either a parking lot, or is full of people doing 55 mph while cars enter the roadway from both sides. This superstreet design is such a bad idea, it’s almost laughable.

            • madanthony says:

              I don’t think Rt. 22 was designed like that intentionally – from what I understand it was originally a two lane, non-divided highway. In stretches like Springfield/Union and Bridgewater, there were already businesses on either side of the road, so rather than tear them down to make a traditional divided highway, they left the businesses in the median and cut the other side of the road on the other side of them, with u-turns to navigate around.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      I thought they were called Michigan lefts. Learned something new today.

      • Chip Skylark of Space says:

        My wife’s from Oakland Cty. Michigan, and I’ve got 25 years of Michigan Left Turns on Woodward Avenue under my belt now, and I agree they’re pretty good from a traffic flow standpoint. I grew up in the Boston area, and I also think that traffic rotaries are okay too. They’ve started adding ‘traffic circles’ to the Twin Cities in the past few years, and I am right at home once again, but I see way too many people to come to an absolute dead stop when they come to one, and that really fucks up the traffic flow.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      problem with nj, some lpace have the jug handles, some doesn’t. So when there isn’t one, NJ driver don’t know how to make left turns.

      You have people hitting people who are trying to make left turns because the driver didn’t think people will stop to make a left.

      and there are still people who doesn’t know how to use the jug handle…. or can’t read street signs

      • Floobtronics says:

        The not reading road signs is the biggest problem. I see it all the time near where I live (Cherry Hill, NJ). Get out on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, if you can make a left, there’s a dedicated left turn lane. If it’s a no-left intersection, there’s a jug-handle, or some way to effectively make a left. I’m forever watching people try to make a left turn from Route 70 going East at this intersection:

        http://bit.ly/gD87m8

        Almost universally, they all have PA plates on their cars. It’s been going on for long enough that it’s really caused me to think that people from PA just can’t read signs.

        • sp00nix says:

          Two way street on this. I see NJ tags doing goofy stuff around here, particularly doing 10 under the speed limit and riding their brakes when they come up to intersections, cutting me off for what ever reason when there is plenty of space to get in my lane safer. I’m good at reading signs, and i still get screwed up in NJ.

        • Hi_Hello says:

          hahahaha it was confusing at first for me as PA to drive in NJ. It wasn’t hard to pick up though. I just end up missing a lot of the jug handle and kept going.

          I see people turning right at a light, where the sign said no turns, straight only. A few feet before the lights is a right turn jug handle…

          The problem with NJ’s signs..and my S.O. got upset when I brought this up. If you were to stop at a red light, at the white line, not going over. there’s a NO TURN ON RED sign.. a few feet before the white line. Which mean, when I’m at a red light, I can’t tell if I can make a right turn or not because I can’t read what sign is behind me! Why can’t they put the sign on the light pole??

          • Floobtronics says:

            I guess having learned to drive in NJ, I’m more in tune with road signs. :)

            Funny story – I once got a phone call from a co-worker from GA that was visiting in NJ. I was to meet him somewhere nearby, and he said, “I’m at the all turns.” I had absolutely no idea what the heck he was talking about. Finally, he said, “there’s this sign, it says ‘all turns’.” I said, “Oh, you’re at the jug-handle”, which was followed by an explanation of what a jug-handle is.

        • xamarshahx says:

          i ahve to agree about the PA driver’s comment

      • teke367 says:

        Exactly. I am fine with Jughandles, they are easy when you know what they are (and while not as efficient as the superstreets in the article perhaps, a lot easier to implement on existing roads), however it drives me crazy when in Brick, NJ, on Brick Blvd, some lights are jug handles, some are left turns (unless its changed since I moved from Ocean County). Problem is, the signs came too late to switch lanes in time (the roads are busy), so if you are awaiting a jughandle, and are in the right lane, by the time you see the sign for a left turn, you’ll never make it over to the left lane, and vice versa.

        Pretty much, driving down that road meant being the right when you needed to be in the left, being in the left when you needed to be in the right, and eventually ending up in the abandoned K-Mart parking lot when the road dumped into RT 70

    • synimatik says:

      Nope. It’s waaaaaaay to void of litter, prostitutes and bad drivers to be NJ.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I thought the exact same thing. The thing is, more recently they’ve been getting rid of a lot of the jug-handles and putting in more left-turn lanes and round-abouts (circles). I think NJ now favors left turn lanes with green arrows.

    • econobiker says:

      NJ where the most direct way often isn’t the fastest.

      Anybody else ever do the jug handle “loop out” at a red light?

      Your coming towards an intersection and the light turns yellow. The jug handle is an “all turns” jug handle (for lefts/rights/uturns) exit on your side of the intersection. This type of jug handle requires you to exit the main road, then stop and then turn left, go to the light, then go across the intersection in order to turn left (or turn left for a uturn).

      If you know the light is long, your car is carrying enough speed, and there is not alot of traffic on the cross street that the jug handle intersects then you can game the system by taking the jug handle, stopping, turning left, and then turning right at the light to proceed the exact same way you were traveling (leaving the pack of slower cars who were in front of you waiting at the light). Is it legal? Probably. Is it moral? Probably not…

      • PDC Ryan says:

        I call this signal hopping – and while I have done it… it makes me nervous and constantly poll friends about its legality. I even have back stories prepared if I’m pulled over – usually about how I thought there was a Dunk’n Donuts at this intersection, but when I got to the jug handle, realized it was a few miles down the road…

        Anyone ever gotten a ticket for this? I suppose at some jug handles where the left lane is left only… and right lane is straight only – this could be an illegal right turn?

      • AllanG54 says:

        I lived down in Monmouth county for 16 years and I think I did that a few times. The heck with morality.

      • econobiker says:

        Looking at the wikipedia what I describe is a reverse jug handle.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Yeah, Route 1 in Massachusetts is like this at times.

    • Cactusjack_1999 says:

      Yep… this is exactly like Jersey.

  3. FatLynn says:

    On this diagram, a person turning right and then making a u-turn has very little time to cross all lanes of traffic.

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Its not meant to be a map, just an example of how it would work. Engineers would be free to make lengths between u-turns longer or shorter as the case may be.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        In addition, it’s not nearly as hard to make a right turn into 2 lanes of traffic as it is to make a left turn over 4 lanes of traffic. If traffic is so havey you are not able to cross two lanes of traffic when making a right turn, what chance would you have to make a left anyway?

        • nbs2 says:

          The problem is that many streets have traffic flowing in a single direction because of rush hour constraints. It may be easier to cross those four lanes of virtually no opposing direction drivers than it is to cross the two lanes of numerous same direction drivers.

    • Nyall says:

      You still have lights at these intersections that control the people going straight and turning right. If its too busy to do a safe right or red, then you wait for the light to tell you to go

  4. shepd says:

    Hey, look, it’s 1960 again!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_left

    This idea is old and implemented. Dunno why it’s getting all over the news. Someone pay for them to figure out something that would just take a bit of driving to see?

    • cvt2010 says:

      Here, let me read the article for you: “Superstreets have been around since the 60′s but now the North Carolina State University study finds that superstreets reduce travel time by 20%.”

    • Mark says:

      When I was in Michigan a gal giving me directions told to me go down the street and then take the ‘dickaround’.

      What a quaint name. I’d love to see the term adopted to this new proposal.

    • ConsumerA says:

      Exactly! I was up in Michigan last summer and saw these intersections around Grand Rapids.

    • DaveWW says:

      Beauty! I lived in Detroit for 8 years and have tried to tell people about the Michigan Left ever since. I had no idea that that was actually a formal name; and a Wikipedia entry to boot!

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      I was just going to post that these looked just like a Michigan Left, I remember those from when I grew up there and learned to drive in there.

      I’ve been told by several friends from out east that if you go straight and then u-turn instead of turn right and then u-turn, that’s a Jersey left.

      • psikic says:

        If you look carefully at the illustration, you will see that this is a modified Michigan left, and isn’t exactly the same. There is no light for a left turn. Assuming the top of this image is North, you approach the intersection from the East, and want to go South, you must turn North (to the right), merge into the left lane, wait for traffic to let you cross the U, go around the U, then merge again into traffic. A simple left turn now takes two merges, at least one shift, and at least one time trying to cross busy traffic. Now a simple left turn at the light might take twice as long. How is this helpful?

    • EarlNowak says:

      Shrug. Streets have been like this in New Orleans since the 18th century.

  5. Davester says:

    Here in Southern Ontario, more and more traffic circles are being installed. They keep traffic moving as long as people know how to use them properly (and old people use the long thin pedal on the right.)

    • Kevin411 says:

      Georgia is getting ready to do a couple of very creative designs to replace complex left-turn interchanges with pairs of no-left-turn intersections, basically making us drive like Brits momentarily by switching sides of the road. It actually looks very workable:

      http://www.ajc.com/news/state-to-give-new-752905.html

      • Saltpork says:

        We have one of those on a very busy intersection here in Missouri. It’s a bit wonky at first, but you get used to driving on the wrong side pretty quickly.

  6. HaveSomeCheese says:

    So instead of waiting for traffic to clear before making a left turn, you wait for traffic to clear before making a U-turn. From this illustration, looks like you make a U-turn and go into a merge lane to merge back into traffic. This doesnt seem any more efficient than making a left turn. Help me, am I missing something?

    • Mom says:

      No, what you’re missing in the pic is that it only for people turning left from the small street to the bigger one. The car turns right onto the big street, then does a u-turn to get going the way they wanted to go in the first place. The advantage is that the driver only has to cross one direction of traffic at a time. Not sure why they’re thinking this is new. I had something similar in front of my house 20 years ago. It had been there much longer than that.

      Personally, I think urban planners would do better to find ways to reduce overall traffic, than to resort to using this much asphalt to solve a “problem” that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

      • Reading Rainbow says:

        Right, this really only affects the side street. Traffic on the main road is processed like it normally is currently.

      • Tim says:

        Amen. By eliminating “problems,” this just encourages people to speed and not pay attention to the road.

        Plus, how do you cross this street as a pedestrian? If it’s at the intersection, you’d have to first cross the right turn slip ramp, then cross two main lanes of traffic, then the left turn ramp, then two lanes of traffic again. Of course, none of these lanes of traffic has traffic lights, because the road is designed to eliminate the need for them. In other words, good luck walking!

        • Chip Skylark of Space says:

          Every Michigan Left intersection has lights. Each turn lane where the left turn folks wait for traffic to clear or stop has one, the main intersection has one. To cross one of these intersections as a pedestrian, just walk up to the crosswalk, and wait for a walk light. Unless you grew up in Boston, in which case, you just look for cars, and then walk any time you damned please.

          • psm321 says:

            actually, the U-turn lanes often don’t have lights. Don’t need them though, pedestrians can cross at the main intersection

    • qwickone says:

      You only have to wait for that one lane to clear, instead of the entire intersection.

    • balthisar says:

      Someone else posted a link for a Michigan Left above. And yeah, you’re missing something, because these things are great! I hate driving outside of SE Michigan at busy locations and wasting time at traffic light cycles. Here’s why they work:

      These primarily are used an arterial roads, i.e., massive volumes of traffic flow on them at peak hours. They also intersect with other arterial roads. The vast, vast majority of traffic continues straight through its intersection. Because there are only two traffic light cycles, you’ve already doubled the amount of time that through traffic receives a green light, because there are no protected left turns holding everyone up. Although the vast majority of people continue straight, there are of course people who turn right as normal on the green signal, and of course the people who want to turn left. This is a very small number of people relative to the people who go straight. Left turners (and U turners) do usually have at least one additional light cycle, i.e., which seems inefficient until you remember that they’ve already rapidly passed through several previous intersections at a high rate of speed by not being held up by waiting for left turn signals.

      Where two such streets meet, you also often have your choice of how to make the left turn. Of course, you can go straight through and make the U turn, or you can turn right and make the U turn. Pretty nice that you can leave an establishment and not have to cross four lanes of traffic at 55 mph in order to make your left 100 meters down the road!

  7. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    I dunno, I see that collisions are reduced, but we have similar streets down here in Corpus Christi, Texas, and while the U-turns are efficient, I’ve personally seen a LOT of close calls from people misjuding the time they have to make the turn before oncoming traffic arrives. It’s especially hard to judge the speed and distance of approaching vehicles at night. It’s sometimes tricky to be at a complete stop, then hit the gas and flip your U-ie and then get up to speed again if the oncoming cars are going 40-50 mph.

    • bnelson333 says:

      I admit to not even have read your comment, but the sight of your avatar alone, +10

    • OutPastPluto says:

      This diagram is missing a direct route across the super street.

      It is also missing traffic lights. So there is NEVER an opportunity to make a turn free of traffic. You just have to “gun it” and hope for the best.

      This sounds like nothing more than a solution to the “problem” of people ignoring traffic lights.

      That’s the real problem with left turns. No one bothers to yield, even when it’s no longer their turn.

      Eliminating the light won’t change uncivilized driving behavior.

      • dangerp says:

        I think you’re misunderstanding the point. This is only for situations where you have a small side street that goes through a major street. There typically aren’t traffic signals in these types of intersections. Usually you just have to wait for traffic to clear in both directions before gunning it across the major road to get to the other side. You’re lucky if there’s a turn lane or empty space in the middle if you want to turn left.

        The article states that these super streets still have traffic signals where appropriate (two major streets crossing), but they aren’t eliminating lights to make the super street.

        The direct route across the super street is accomplished by a right, U, right combo. It sometimes takes a bit longer, but you get extra XP.

    • pot_roast says:

      I love the U-turn lanes here in north Texas. They make things pretty handy!

  8. MadMaxEsq says:

    Many of the big intersections in Seoul worked this way. Traffic was terrible all around, so there’s no telling if these made it better or worse.

  9. Shmoodog says:

    It’s called a jug handle. Except Jersey managed to make even those hazardous and frustrating to use, showing that poor execution can ruin any good idea.

  10. shthar says:

    aggggghhhh!

    It’s worse than the roundabouts that are all of a sudden everywhere.

    Driving is not supposed to be like lying in bed!

    Pay attention you morons!

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      As someone who moved from Michigan (where these are everywhere) to Indiana (where they try to put circles in at every opportunity) I have to disagree. The circles confuse many more people, and the side street get screwed because there is so much traffic going straight though the intersection, they get held up at the yield entering the circle.

    • chaelyc says:

      They’re actually incredibly useful. I’ve lived in Michigan 26 years and never saw an accident as a result of a Michigan left being executed properly. All you have to do is NOT pull out in front of oncoming traffic, which is an idea most drivers are familiar with already.

  11. no says:

    There are all sorts of designs for these things. There are pros and cons to each. One of the cons to these is they take up much more room (thus cost more and waste more space to roads).

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

      Driving up the cost to retrofit existing rounds that are currently not wide enough to support this configuration. We’re currently fighting a city project that would force businesses to give up parking and structures to implement a bus route that will serve a small audience.

  12. Tim says:

    Oh look, it’s pretty much a freeway intersection without the bridges. Encourage people to speed by giving them a wide open road, discourage walking or bicycling … By the way, where are the pedestrian crossings?

    And look how much space this thing wastes.

    Also, how do you get from the big box fast food restaurant to the suburban sprawl residential development? If you’re on the minor road in that big freeway intersection, you can’t go straight.

    Not a fan.

    • Bunnies Attack! says:

      The only wasted space is the little bulge at the u-turn and even then you could argue that’s part of the city’s right-of-way anyway so its not really displacing anything.

      As for getting across the street, looks like right turn, u turn, right turn. Kinda irritating but if this is for major streets only and you’re not stuck waiting for a light it’ll probably be faster for you. There are a couple intersections like this near us and the lights for the main street are like green for 5 mins while the secondary street lights are green for 15 seconds so its a long-ass wait most of the time.

      As far as cost, the city is saving money by not having to run power and provide and maintain traffic lights.

      • Tim says:

        You’re wasting space by making the main road four lanes. If traffic engineers really liked this, they’d unnecessarily make a road four lanes just so they could implement this intersection. Trust me, that’s how traffic engineers’ minds work.

        If the street is as major as you make it out to be (one in which the green time would be 5 minutes for the main road and 15 seconds for the other one), you’d have a lot of problems: finding an open spot to merge into the main road, getting across all the lanes to get to the U-turn, finding an open spot to merge into the other direction to complete the U-turn, then getting across all the lanes again to get back onto the road..

        As for costs, the cost of constructing this far outweighs the tiny bit of power that modern LED traffic lights use.

        • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

          Agree with your comments.

          I don’t want to have to play Frogger while running errands; would rather wait at lights than have to take my chances pulling into/across/through a high-volume traffic stream that is pretty much engineered to keep up a very high rate of speed relative to the circumstances.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I know it’s just a diagram but the artist’s rendition makes that area look incredibly pedestrian unfriendly. The residential neighborhood is separated from the commercial area by a 4 lane road with no crosswalks and a 55 mph speed limit.

      • tdogg241 says:

        These things are monstrosities that no *city* planner in their right mind would dream about putting in the middle of a populated area. It’s fitting that the artist’s rendition in the post shows big box retailers on one side and housing developments on the other of what is now basically an 8-lane highway instead of a 4- or 5-lane road. These things are for the suburbs where people have little choice but to drive everywhere and have to do it in as little time as possible.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Not a freeway. There would be a light at the 4-way intersection.

  13. katarzyna says:

    Hm… I live in Michigan where there are quite a few of these. When I plan my route, I try to minimize the number of U-turns, and instead opt for regular left turns. Almost all of them around here left turn arrows, which makes intersections less dangerous. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sticking with my plan.

    • scoopie77 says:

      And they’ve had these turns in Michigan since the 1920s. Hardly novel.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      Huh, what’s easier?

      “Try to decipher the signs. Get out of left-hand lane (you dummy) and into right hand lane. Turn right. Get into left-hand lane. Do a U-turn where it says you can. Drive past the intersection you just turned right at. There — it’s like you turned left.”

      or

      “Turn left.”

      Not arguing with you. “Michigan lefts” pretty much melted my brain for quite a while.

    • ThePrettiestStar says:

      I’m a Michigan native-and a huge fan of the “Michigan Left”. I have zero idea why you’d avoid them-they’re easy and usually take less time. With metro Detroit’s traffic these days, I have to sit through 3 left turn arrows before I get my chance to turn. No thanks.

      • katarzyna says:

        When doing a regular left, I almost always get through on the first light cycle. That’s probably not the same everywhere. (I tend to work from 6 am to 3 pm, so I’m probably dealing with lighter traffic than most people, too.) So for me, a regular left takes one cycle, whereas a Michigan left usually takes two to three cycles.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        My dislike for the Michigan Left (coming from someone who learned to drive in a different state) is that it takes 3x as long to get to the turn than it should.

        1) I have to wait for the light to go straight to the u-turn
        2) I have to wait for traffic to clear to make the uturn (or wait for another light)
        3) I have to wait for traffic to clear to make the right turn (or wait for another light)

        Instead of just
        1) Waiting for light and turning left…

        3x as much time, 3x as much wear on my tires. No idea who thought it was a good idea, but they were wrong.

  14. 3ZKL says:

    While I agree that these type of intersections are great for cars and save lives, cyclists like myself loathe them. It makes crossing a major intersection on a bike a complete and total nightmare. Forget about it if you have a pack of bikes with you. . .While I have seen pedestrian facilities at the new-ish ‘superstreet’ on 15-501 in Chapel Hill, NC my understanding is that they are not common amongst other superstreet sites. However, since these tend to work best with major divided highways my sincere hope it does not impact major cycling routes across the US. Traffic circles are great and fairly bike friendly but are really only effective on roads with a low speed limit (

    Without getting into the whole ‘bikes need to get off the road’ debate (which I am sure Consumerist commenters would never take part in), I urge folks to think about sustainable transportation infrastructure for the future. Sure hybrid and electric cars are great, but a bike yields infinite MPG and ZERO carbon emissions. . .

  15. SomeWhiteGuy says:

    They have a few of these in New Orleans and it’s the worst thing they could have done. If the intersection or light where you want to take a left turn at gets backed up it’s impossible to make a U-Turn, so a line builds up and stops the flow of traffic in the opposite direction… now you’ve stopped 2 of the 4 directions at that intersection and if they are @$$#0les about it the ones who are near the intersection will stop in the middle and block the other two directions as well and we have a great 4-way clusterfvck.

    Just saying.

  16. spazztastic says:

    It looks like all you’ve done is move the left turn away from the signalized intersection, and down the road a ways to an UNSIGNALED intersection.

  17. Chmeeee says:

    Instead of trying to make huge streets even bigger and faster, we should be working on making a more efficient network that works for more than just cars/trucks. Things like this are necessary because in most areas of the country that have been built up in the last 50 years (AKA not the Northeast), development patterns force all of the traffic onto a few streets. Traffic is therefore hellish on those streets and we need crazy crap like this.

    If you use a traditional city grid with multiple connections allowing drivers alternatives to get where they’re going, then no one street needs to be huge. Three 2 lane streets have more vehicle capacity than one 6 lane street does. They are more walkable, bikeable, and liveable. They also don’t need crazy intersection geometry that eats up all of the adjacent real estate.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’ve never understood the logic of abandoning the grid for city planning. In addition to the qualities you mention, it’s nice when the address system is done in a logical manner. If I need to find a business at 2320 3rd Ave, I know exactly where it is and don’t need directions. I know it will be on the south side of 3rd Ave, on the block between 23rd and 24th St. but closer to 23rd.

  18. damicatz says:

    I hate super streets. They put one in by where I live and now instead of getting stopped at one light, I get stopped at three lights. And, by their own admission, the city times the lights deliberately so that you always pull up as it’s turning red (to “discourage” through traffic; I’m unfortunate enough to live in an area with a bunch of elitest stuck up white liberals that don’t want “city traffic” clogging up their roads).

    • damicatz says:

      Oh and as for the no waiting at the light nonsense, it’s just that. Nonsense.

      The super street I have to travel through has “no turn on red” on the u-turn lanes. Which basically means you end up waiting 3 minutes to make a u-turn onto a road with no traffic anyways (because all the cars are holed up at the light up the street).

    • maubs says:

      Wow. That defeats the entire purpose of the superstreet. How can the planners be that dumb?

  19. sp00nix says:

    Jersey?

  20. bsh0544 says:

    Is it just me or are there still left turns from the superstreet (the one with the u-turns) onto the side streets?

    • mikeyz says:

      Right in the center of the picture, there are four lanes marked with arrows, and the left one clearly has a “left turn only” arrow.

    • Tim says:

      I think Ben means “minimizing” left turns. Of course, that’s a left turn … and U-turns are left turns too.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      This would actually make the intersections usable. My biggest gripe is if I need to make a left I can’t do so at the intersection but must pass it, u-turn, and then turn right.

      If they had both, I’d be happy.

  21. scoopie77 says:

    I used to live by one of these in Michigan, and I had 14 stop lights to go two miles. That’s not very pleasant.

    • ellemdee says:

      Some streets are worse than others. There’s one stretch I know of that has 3 lights within a quarter mile, while many only have lights at the half mile mark. It seems to depend on how busy the area is (if a light is needed at a particular turnaround).

  22. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I’d rather see streets designed around being more pedestrian friendly. I realize it’s just an artists rendition but the above example doesn’t have crosswalks linking the residential area to the left to the commercial areas to the right.

    DOT work is the bread-and-butter of the work I do and pedestrians seem to just be an afterthought to most of transportation projects we work in. It’s almost like our engineers design streets to be virtually uncrossable on foot and bridges & overpasses rarely ever have sidewalks. If the DOT doesn’t ask for it, we’re not going to design for it and make our bids higher than our competition.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      The major shopping complex in my town consists of a double row of shops with an enormous parking lot in between; it didn’t occur to anyone, apparently, to put in dedicated pedestrian crossings from one side to another. So if you, say, have lunch at Five Guys and then want to cross over to shop at Barnes & Noble and Old Navy, you have to get in our car and drive a couple hundred feet and park again. That, or take your life (and your childrens’ lives) in your hands trying to dodge vehicles in the parking lot.

      Such stupid planning!

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        We have a similar situation brewing where BART crosses the VTA light rail. It was supposed to be a single station but now they’ve changed it to save a little money. Now they are placing the two stations on either side of Montague Expressway. I complained about how stupid that was and they blurted out, “We can just put in a flyover for pedestrian traffic.” That’s right, make the old, handicapped, children walk down several flights of steps, walk a few hundred feet, go up and over a major thoroughfare, back down to ground level, walk a couple hundred feet more, climb up several flights of stairs just to save a tiny percentage of the taxes we paid. There are so many changes that make it unusable overall, removing most the stations, not connecting with the airport, city hall, parking, etc. just to save 5% of the billions they’ve collected. They won’t break ground for a couple more years and we can look forward to this porkbarrel 2018 at the earliest.

  23. sp00nix says:

    I hate these, if i need to go left, i now need to dodge high speed traffic to make it to the U-Turn across many lanes within a short distance. NOT FUN.

    • psikic says:

      My point exactly.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      People have problems doing right hand merges into the slow lanes now in MD. And often, changing to the left lane and slowing down in time to hit the U turn lane in rush hour traffic uses this theory:

      If the other guy’s car is relatively new, and mine is paid for, I win and can merge left.

      if my car is new and the other guy’s car is old, he wins, ignores my turn signal and cuts me off.

      If both cars are roughly equal in age, the size of the vehicle decides the winner.

      If both cars are roughly equal in age and size, then it’s a straight up game of chicken.

    • code65536 says:

      I hate these. There was one near where I used to live in North Carolina (hmm, the picture is from the NC DOT), and I hated it for precisely the reason you state. That intersection is just a chaotic mess, and I’m not convinced that it’s any safer.

      Would it kill the DOT to put up a traffic light instead?

      • kevslim says:

        @Code,

        Just curious, but was it Capital Boulevard in Raleigh? I use to live in an apartment community near there which required using one of these if you wanted to head south on Capital (the other option was to drive up to the lighted intersection). During rush hour, forget it. The flow of oncoming traffic never provided an opening and people were stuck in there for a long time.

        They were useful during light traffic times, though.

    • jshier says:

      Yes, these are terrible. Horribly confusing if you haven’t lived with them for long and a major pain in the ass to make what would be an otherwise simple commute. Safer, maybe, though it sure doesn’t feel like it when you have to get across three lanes of traffic to turn right. Faster? Not in my experience.

    • chaelyc says:

      Or you just drive down the road 1 turn further before you take the MI left & leave yourself an extra quarter mile or so to merge across lanes. It’s a small price to pay to not feel like Frogger trying to make a right onto a side street.

  24. KillerBee says:

    I’m still seeing left turns into oncoming traffic when you make those u-turns. So, in effect, it doesn’t eliminate left turns, and it doesn’t eliminate waiting for traffic to clear before you make that turn. All it does is prevent you from crossing traffic going in one direction. This doesn’t solve anything if you think about it.

    • palfas says:

      NO, stop being dense. It eliminates the need for a left turn arrow at the intersection and the extra time which the arrow blocks traffic going straight.

  25. Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

    There are a few normal intersections in town that my husband navigates like these u-turn streets. The left turn lane is always crazy backed up, so he just goes straight, then makes a u-turn on the other side, then turns right. All that usually happens before the left turn light is even green.

  26. esc27 says:

    All that seems to do is keep people from driving straight through the intersection. Most people would still make a left turn down the street in the U-turn area (why drive straight across the road and merge back on when you can just turn?)

    I expect it would fail horribly in high traffic. Without a light to force an opening, how is someone supposed to use the u-turn?

    Then there is the logic problem of having to drive away from your destination and temporarily get on another road just to cross a street.

    A four way stop would be better, or a traffic circle.

  27. webweazel says:

    I bet guys who drive tractor-trailers for a living are feeling more than a slight bit ill while looking at that mess.
    This might be okay for an intersection out on a 2-lane highway (NOT 4-lane) that does not have much traffic on a normal day, but in a busy intersection, this would not have the benefits they are seeking. This, as drawn here, would need a stoplight. Making people go right at highway speeds, slamming lanes and dodging cars to slide into the turn lanes, then waiting for the light up the road to change so you can do a U-bee, then slamming lanes and dodging cars again to get to the right turn JUST TO CROSS THE STREET seems quite along the line of insane.
    Would I want to go through all that rigamarole to go home from the supermarket or work every day? I would most definitely live somewhere else.
    Did the guy who designs mall parking lots come up with this one, too? He needed his meds adjusted quite a few years ago.

    • webweazel says:

      Perhaps instead of doing a U-bee and having that “hump” sticking out on the road, they would just have a short bit of “service” or “frontage” road leading to the other road and merging there. U-bees and fast lane changing are much more difficult to accomplish over simply crossing the lanes by turning off to a road that routes back and meets the one you wanted.

  28. econobiker says:

    Just install round-a-bouts and forget the traffic lights…

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Small or simple traffic circles are the bomb. Larger complex ones are a nightmare. Grand Army Plaza (Brooklyn, NY) was always a nut house in traffic, but Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) ratcheted up the insanity by a notch.

  29. Shadowfax says:

    Strikes me as stupid. You’re still doing left turns across traffic, only now you’re doing it so you get onto an acceleration lane and then have to merge with that traffic rather than clearing it by going down the side street.

    Additionally it’s a waste of fuel as instead of just crossing the street you have to turn right (still waiting for traffic,) then drive a while, U turn (again waiting for traffic) then sit in the acceleration lane until traffic clears a third time, then drive awhile again, then turn right, all to get back to pretty much where you started.

    Asinine.

  30. maruadventurer says:

    I really don’t see how this improves things. Sure you have removed the left turn at the cross street. But all that has done is moved the crossing traffic upstream. It puts the the vehicle making the U turn immediately in the path of the inside high speed lane instead of the lower outside lane. In many busy two lanes at rush hour the U turn vehicle probably not get an opening to even attempt the turn. So the U turn traffic backs up to such a point that the blockage spills onto the main line of traffic flow bringing things to a grind halt.

    • palfas says:

      except the put a bump in the shoulder so you can complete the U turn and be in the right hand lane, not the fast lane. There are still lights at the intersection, so once the traffic slows for the red, you will be able to complete your U turn w/o a problem.

  31. Red Cat Linux says:

    Sounds like Route 40 in MD.

    It sucks, in case you are wondering.

  32. psm321 says:

    This article reminded me of the first panel in this XKCD for some reason
    http://xkcd.com/207/

  33. john says:

    This is why I drive a vehicle with a V8. You only have to be faster than guy behind you or the oncoming traffic.

    Kind of like how you outrun a bear. You only have to be faster than your buddy.

  34. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I was confused by the “no left” headline. A U-turn is two lefts…. and not only that by it’s a left at an uncontrolled intersection into traffic that trying to beat the yellow light.

    Wouldn’t a “UPS left” be safer & more efficient? Instead of a left turn UPS drivers overshoot and make 3 rights. UPS studies show that it saves time & gas.

    Get rid of the mega median and use the new outside space for the 3 rights – like a clover leaf with no overpass.

  35. u1itn0w2day says:

    The no left turn mentality has been around for decades by the so called live in theroetical world safety ‘experts’. My guess the insurance companies have something to do with this.

    I’ve worked for companies that if you had an accident in a company vehicle while making a left hand turn the company would find you liable if not the authorities. In other words have an accident making a left hand turn be prepared to be fired or suspended. You are supposed to make right hand turns until you get where you are going. So much for gas or vehicle milage or even time.

  36. Jimmy37 says:

    So what is so unique or timely about this? New Jersey has right-turn only intersections for years. Some call them jug-handle turns.

  37. Jimmy37 says:

    Oh and this is safer as people enter from the right and speed across to the left to make that u-turn, or worse, don’t speed, holding up traffic on the right until they are able to move over?

    I drive past an exit where people are constantly cutting across 2 lanes to make the left-turn at the next light.

  38. The cake is a lie! says:

    You should see the fucked up intersections they are implementing in Salt Lake right now. They’ve moved the left turning lane off a major highway off to the left of oncoming traffic. it required another traffic signal to be placed 100 yards from the main intersection and left turn traffic is diverted to a new lane while cross traffic is moving. Right turns on red are illegal while left turn traffic is being channeled. It is very confusing the first few times you run through them and I see someone turning right into oncoming left turn traffic every single day. Fucked Up.

  39. xjeyne says:

    I’ve seen roads like this in suburban Atlanta and they are really awesome. Where I live now, there is the constant issue of drivers poking their vehicle out of a side street to turn left across three lanes. It is dangerous and extremely irritating, especially when none of the traffic lights are timed properly and we already have to deal with extremely long lines at intersections during rush hour, then have to deal with these idiots on top of it. I’m really surprised I haven’t seen a collision yet.

  40. VouxCroux says:

    It’s weird…and goes against everything we’ve been taught about driving, but if it works and the statistics back it up, then I suppose it works.

  41. springer61 says:

    Come on Consumerist get it right. They’re called a “Michigan turn.” Yes. This is true. Been a “Michigan turn” since it was thought up. Probably by a Michigander? Michiganian? We’re never sure about it. We are like our weather….wait a sec, it’s gonna change…..

  42. owtytrof says:

    There are clearly left turns right in the middle of that illustration, plus the U-turns are in a leftward direction.

    Wouldn’t a U-turn be twice as much left as a regular left turn?

  43. rengreen says:

    Friends make fun of me for uturning when I get lost, but it is more efficient. And eventually you get used to roundabouts. There’s a couple I have to drive through regularly in Buffalo, and I don’t even freak out anymore.

  44. yunixx says:

    If you look at the photo of a super-street here http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wmshummersuperstreets/ you can see that:

    - These super-streets have NO signals at intersections, which is different from Jersey and other places people are complaining about (not that I have seen any of these in California). This should keeps thru traffic on the super-street moving more efficiently. Which should eliminate back-ups blocking the u-turn.

    - They eliminate left turns from side streets onto the super-street. it does not eliminate ALL left-turns.

    - A lot of broad-side accident (I am guessing) happens when people turn left from a side stree to the major street. The driver has to go across faster traffic double the distance. Which I guess should reduce the personal injuries from these accidents.

    - i am guessing this is not for regular streets in a city. It is more useful on a fast major street (like an expressway here in California) instead.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      If there are no signals then why are there white lines accross the street at the intersection?

      • yunixx says:

        It is defined as a thoroughfare where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median.

      • yunixx says:

        Good question. So I zoomed in on the photo and do see the signal to stop the super-street traffic to let left-turners go. I stand corrected :)

        So the main difference between Michigan Left and this is the elimination of the thru movement of traffic on the side-streets – thus eliminating a need for a signal in that direction.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I can’t imagine being a pedestrian and having to cross that intersection in the photo.

  45. palfas says:

    To all those who “don’t get it” please read the wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_left

    You don’t have to turn right and then U and the right again to go straight. To go straight, you just wait at the light and then go. The U turn maneuver is only for traffic that wants to turn left (no matter which road you’re coming from)

    Pedestrians still cross at the intersection, just like normal, with the light.

    How hard is this to understand?!?

    • yunixx says:

      The webpage that this article points to clearly says “It is defined as a thoroughfare where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median.”. The picture above also clearly conveys that.

      So I am guessing this super-street is not a “Michigan Left”.

    • palfas says:

      Note, I was referring to the existing “Michigan lefts” not the new super street, sorry.

  46. unsmith says:

    More traffic circles please, and less of this crap.

    Circles allow you to pass through an intersection that would normally be a four-way stop without stopping, which saves fuel and wear and tear on your car. It’s not that hard.

  47. jayde_drag0n says:

    um.. a u-turn still requires you to make a left and cross traffic

  48. yunixx says:

    Good question. So I zoomed in on the photo and do see the signal to stop the super-street traffic to let left-turners go. I stand corrected :)

    So the main difference between Michigan Left and this is the elimination of the thru movement of traffic on the side-streets – thus eliminating a need for a signal in that direction.

  49. Froggmann says:

    Wow that’s a big ass dive shop.

  50. MEoip says:

    Here in Indiana we keep installing traffic circles and round-abouts (two different things). Perhaps the best design we have can be found here (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=carmel,+IN&sll=39.893353,-74.926919&sspn=0.002605,0.006539&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Carmel,+Hamilton,+Indiana&ll=39.941549,-86.113018&spn=0.002603,0.006539&t=h&z=18)
    and the worst here (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Britney+chase&sll=39.941051,-86.240809&sspn=0.005001,0.013078&ie=UTF8&ll=39.977026,-86.241431&spn=0.000629,0.001635&t=h&z=20)
    This second is what we call a traffic dot. For the first 5 there was no law dictating how to approach them on a left turn (go around or cut the corner) they eventually put sidewalks around them and planted trees since people kept driving through the middle).

  51. dourdan says:

    it reminds me of when i was stationed in germany. f you miss your turn in germany you have to go about 4 miles untill you can correct your mistake.

    all the while with the gps going “please make a u turn… please make a u turn..”

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      If you miss your turn in America you just back up to correct your mistake. Last week a car in the fast lane made complete stop beside an exit ramp. Then waited for traffic to slow enough in adjacent lanes to make a 90 degree cut across traffic to the exit.

  52. framitz says:

    I saw something better while working in Germany. It was an experimental stretch of road that had electronic speed ‘advice’. The signs would help put you at a speed such that by the time you get to a controlled intersection the light is ALWAYS green. So when you got to the intersection there was no cross traffic. Sometime it had you over the limit, and sometimes under, it never failed in the hundreds of times I used that road.

    I do wonder how that worked out and if it was implemented elsewhere. I really liked it.

    It would be very complicated to implement in the US. German drivers are better at obeying signs than Americans.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      I do that now, have lights timing down to a t. I slow down and maintain distance to make sure when I am at the light it is green. it DOES save gas and wear and tear of stop and go.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      LOL, wouldn’t work in america. People don’t read signs.

  53. PsiCop says:

    So am I to understand that having to seek out and navigate U-turns all over the place is all that much safer than left turns? Have they actually run the numbers to show this? Or have they just latched onto a “hot” idea that will confuse and annoy drivers?

  54. cornstalker says:

    YES! This is exactly what I need outside my workplace. The only way to leave the office park where I work (and go in the direction of home) is to turn left on a four-lane street. I could make a left turn just like the one described above, but for some stupid reason there’s a “no u-turn” sign there.

  55. maztec says:

    As a pedestrian these scare the shit out of me.

    First, where do I cross? Second, when I do cross I am dealing with traffic that is not dependable and numerous extra loops and roads to walk over. Third, this separates the perfectly quaint community on the left from the commerce center on the right … meaning I have to drive if I want to buy my groceries, even if they are in walkable distance.

    Finally, the study refers to saving lives and time and safety for cars.. It doesn’t even look at the effect of this on pedestrians. That, if anything, is a serious oversight.

    Ugh.

    • psm321 says:

      I don’t get these complaints… these sorts of streets are actually MUCH easier to cross because ou have the island in the middle and only have to cross one direction of traffic at a time.

  56. WickedCrispy says:

    I don’t do unprotected left-turns. I despise people that sit with their thumb up their ass waiting 10 minutes blocking 20 cars behind them with their left blinker stupidly on to do so. You can go down and make a U-turn in 30 seconds which is what I do. I hate it when they launch like a spazz out into the suicide middle lane, too, because when I’m driving along I never know if they’re going to wait, or just Hail Mary and gun it out in front of me.

    I also hate the morons sitting in the right hand bus lane waiting to go straight through the intersection instead of turning right.

  57. WickedCrispy says:

    As for pedestrians, I’m sure they’d set up little fenced walkover bridges, like how CA does over freeways and such.

    • Pax says:

      My partner is deathly afraid of bridges. She has had full-blown panic attacks trying to cross a pedestrian bridge over a busy thoroughfare in Boston. The bridges you speak of, would be absolutely impassable to her.

      And she doesn’t drive, either.

      So you might as well dig a kilometer-deep moat along the route of the thoroughfare, line the walls with razorblades, and fill the bottom with molten lava, two hundred meters deep. Because that’d be neither more nor less impassable to her, or anyone like her.

  58. I'll Buy That For A Dollar says:

    Isn’t that how UPS cut down on fuel costs for their delivery trucks?

  59. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!

  60. outshined says:

    UPS has been doing this for a while.

    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=3005890&page=1

  61. David Millar says:

    Although it’s not quite the same as the super street, I live in Michigan and dealt with Michigan turns quite a bit when I drove (and sometimes now when I take public transit and walk). At first they’re hard to figure out if no one has ever explained them to you in driving school or elsewhere, but once you get used to them they’re no big deal.

    As for circles vs Michigan lefts, I’ve been on buses going through both of these and buses seem to have a harder time in circles due to the quick turning movements involved, and they seem to handle Michigan lefts just fine.

    As for pedestrians, the Michigan lefts are not a big deal either. It’s treated just like a normal road crossing a boulevard – because that’s what it is.

  62. KathleemB says:

    Gotta love that Michigan left! Despite my language as I wait for traffic to clear and let me complete my u turn, the system really does make things easier.

  63. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Interesting. Since the vast, vast majority of the people will be turning ‘right’ after making the U-turn, why not make a ‘right-turn-only’ lane instead of forcing them back into traffic only to hit the brakes to turn. There is enough room already, just needs to have the lines painted such.

  64. ned4spd8874 says:

    Michiganian here….ask anyone around here and they’ll tell you they suck! I hate having to take a Michigan left. It just makes things to complicated.

  65. abberz3589 says:

    This is ridiculous.

  66. dee1313 says:

    What about 18-wheelers? I’d think they don’t do U-turns very well.

  67. FrugalFreak says:

    Will waste gas unless the median has shorter breakthroughs. I hate driving 5 miles just to turn around.

  68. BytheSea says:

    This would piss me off mightily, but if they reduce travel time by eliminating that standing still line waiting to turn, I guess I’d adjust.

  69. JANSCHOLL says:

    We have been doing this for years and years. It’s called a Michigan Left.

  70. David in Brasil says:

    A traffic circle would accomplish the same thing, wouldn’t it? Replace the U-turn with a circle. In many cases, replace the original intersection with a circle. That’s how it’s done in other parts of the world.

  71. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    No. No. They have this in Grand Rapids. You can only turn right and to turn left you have to 1) pass your intersection, wait at a light 2) perform a Uturn, wait at another light to turn right.

    how this “saves gas” is beyond me.

  72. Bby says:

    Michigan “U”ies is what they’re called. And yes, they work.

    No matter how intelligent the design, the people using the roads are stupid typically and the inherent real danger.

  73. pantherx says:

    All of your U-Turns are left turns.

  74. madfrog says:

    This reminds me of my first visit to Jersey. My grandfather gave me directions to his new house and told me to “use the Jughandle” to get there. He then had to explain to me what a Jughandle was. Jughandles, a toll every time you get on/off the road and not be able to pump your own gas is such fun memories for me on this first trip. Kinda miss Grandpa.

  75. canuckster says:

    I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but the few roundabouts I’ve seen in Toronto are so dumbed down they defeat the whole purpose. Following the assumption that Torontonians won’t adapt properly (and that may be correct!), the “feeder” streets all have STOP signs (instead of yield) where they meet the circle, making the whole thing just a waste of time. I’ve even driven one so-called roundabout with a stop sign WITHIN the circle.

    If it’s not going to be a proper roundabout, what’s the point?

  76. Pax says:

    I’m honestly not convinced that a simple overpass/underpass for the side street would not be a superior choice.

    Besides … the work of fifteen minutes, produced an even better setup. It’s pedestrian friendly, and doesn’t need as much space for the main road. And it works equally well for highways, too. Best of all, it’s SIMPLE, and immediately intuitive. Anyone over the age of ten should be able to understand it, from a mile away, with even halfway-adequate signage.

    (Direct URL, in case the image doesn’t show up below: http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c313/GMPax/intersection.jpg )

  77. TPA says:

    Obviously these traffic engineers drive Geo Metros and never a full-size car.

    This would be hell for me! My car is a JDM full-size luxury car with a turning radius worse (22.5 feet) than a Bentley (19.7 feet) or Rolls (22.0 feet) or a Mercedes S-class (19 feet). As a result, U-turns are something I generally avoid. If I must do one, they usually end up being J-turns, which isn’t fuel-efficient nor tyre-efficient. Nor are J-turns exactly safe/normal driving techniques.

    Bring over the roundabouts that we have in Europe — those actually work! I know American drivers are to dimwitted to figure them out but put enough of them in and they’ll eventually figure it out.

  78. chaelyc says:

    Just so y’all know, everyone here in Michigan is totally smug about the Michigan left & secretly believes that every other state is full of idiots for not adopting this 40 years ago.