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Mexico road design comes to US!

T_R_Oglodyte

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Like most gringos driving on Mexican arterials, I was initially disoriented by the concept of exiting a road on the right side to make a left turn. (For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, most arterial streets in Mexico do not permit left turns across traffic. To make a left turn you exit the road on the right side and travel on a sort of frontage road to the next intersection. At that intersection you make a left turn onto the road, then proceed straight across the arterial road.)

After I became familiar with that process, I immediately liked it. It's a much safer approach and it keeps traffic moving on the arterial road much more smoothly.

And now a variation of that same concept is gaining popularity in the US. Dubbed a "superstreet", a common design does not any left turns at an intersection. Instead, if you want to make a left turn you proceed through the intersection to another stop sign, where you make a U-turn. After the U-Turn you head back to the main intersection, where you make a right turn on the roadway.

Another variation involves allowing left turns only from the arterial roadway. If you are on the secondary roadway and want to proceed left on the arterial you turn right on the arterial road then go to a U-turn stoplight. That design is illustrated in a video here: How Superstreets Work.

It sounds complicated and there is an initial disorientation factor, but several have been built in the Chapel Hill, and the NC Department of Transportation believes that, even with driver confusion, the redesigned intersections are reducing backups on congested roadways where they have been constructed. Even though there are more stoplights, the redesign increases increases the amount of time a driver on the arterial encounters a red light at the intersection. Plus the accident risks at the intersection are less.

I suppose another benefit is that when people from Chapel Hill operate a vehicle in Mexico, Mexican left turns won't seem so strange!!!
 

Passepartout

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Steve, there are a lot of these in the N. NJ area. Seems to me the left turn things are called 'jug handles'. to turn left- or U-turn, exit right, and lo and behold you come to a light to either go straight or left. Pretty good idea for eliminating left turns across traffic. Sure beats putting 'roundabouts' or traffic circles on main arterials.

Jim Ricks
 

swift

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Thanks for the link. I was trying to picture how those U-turns were going to work for the larger commercial vehicles. I don't see them happening here in California though. They take too much land mass.
 

bookworm

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Yup, we have jug handles and plenty of crazy traffic circles too. Sometimes you have to wonder why they still have these. It uses a large amount of space for an area where land costs are so expensive but I'm not an engineer and I guess those in the know have their reasons. I do remember some years ago driving into the Princeton area for the first time after traveling for 3 days with preschoolers crying in the backseat and a load of stuff and we needed to make a left turn to get to our new home during rush hour. We couldn't figure out how to do this and just kept driving and driving :annoyed:. Finally we got over to the right lane and figured out how to make the turn. Not a great idea for newcomers.
 

caribbeansun

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The area inwhich we live have installed numerous roundabouts, even in areas that didn't need them - confuses the you know what out of people and last I heard had resulted in more accidents than prior to their creation - and they keep adding more and more.
 

Carol C

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Oh, I thought you meant potholes, unexplained gaps in pavement, jutting out metal pieces, uneven road surfaces and such. :ignore:
 

Rose Pink

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Oh, I thought you meant potholes, unexplained gaps in pavement, jutting out metal pieces, uneven road surfaces and such. :ignore:
Uh, that would be Utah after the winter/spring freeze-thaw cycle.
 

PigsDad

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The area inwhich we live have installed numerous roundabouts, even in areas that didn't need them - confuses the you know what out of people and last I heard had resulted in more accidents than prior to their creation - and they keep adding more and more.
I would be surprised if you woud be able to come up with any data to support that statement. Study after study have proven that roundabouts reduce accidents, and reduce serious injuries and fatalities significantly (meaning 60-90%, based on the studies). This is due to the fact there is no way to have a high-speed "T-bone" accident on a roundabout (aka the "widow maker" accidents).

I'll take a roundabout over a standard death trap / intersection any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I am very happy that they have been installing roundabouts at a pretty good pace where I live.

Kurt
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Steve, there are a lot of these in the N. NJ area. Seems to me the left turn things are called 'jug handles'. to turn left- or U-turn, exit right, and lo and behold you come to a light to either go straight or left. Pretty good idea for eliminating left turns across traffic. Sure beats putting 'roundabouts' or traffic circles on main arterials.

Jim Ricks
First time we drove in Mexico, in Los Cabos, when driving el Corredor Turistico it took me awhile to deprogram myself from thinking about making left turns across traffic. But the safety benefits were immediately obvious.

When we went to Puerto Vallarta a few years later, ¡no problemo!. It really is a much safer way to manage left turns on arterial roads.
 

caribbeansun

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It was reported in the local press so I assumed it was true. I don't recall it being an article about fatalities but rather accidents. This may be a result of the introduction of them and may tail off after they've been in use for a year???

I would be surprised if you woud be able to come up with any data to support that statement. Study after study have proven that roundabouts reduce accidents, and reduce serious injuries and fatalities significantly (meaning 60-90%, based on the studies). This is due to the fact there is no way to have a high-speed "T-bone" accident on a roundabout (aka the "widow maker" accidents).

I'll take a roundabout over a standard death trap / intersection any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I am very happy that they have been installing roundabouts at a pretty good pace where I live.

Kurt
 

PigsDad

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It was reported in the local press so I assumed it was true. I don't recall it being an article about fatalities but rather accidents. This may be a result of the introduction of them and may tail off after they've been in use for a year???
That is interesting. With some of these new intersection designs (roundabouts, jug handles), I'm sure there is a learning curve for drivers. I would also assume that the accident rate would drop after the initial confusion clears up.

Kurt
 

Blues

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That design is illustrated in a video here: How Superstreets Work.
Am I the only one having problems with this URL? I can see the video, but there's no sound. It seems like the intent is to have someone explain what's going on, but with no sound, it's not very enlightening.

I've tried this with Firefox 3 and IE6 on my home computer and Firefox 3 and IE7 on my work computer (where I have a gigabit connection to the internet).

-Bob
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Am I the only one having problems with this URL? I can see the video, but there's no sound. It seems like the intent is to have someone explain what's going on, but with no sound, it's not very enlightening.

I've tried this with Firefox 3 and IE6 on my home computer and Firefox 3 and IE7 on my work computer (where I have a gigabit connection to the internet).

-Bob
I don't think there is any sound - animation only.
 
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