Friday, July 25, 2008

Traffic, A Light at the End of the Off Ramp

I wanted to analyze this intersection and point out why it's so horrible. That was obviously more effort than it's worth. This post is about eleven months old...

Of the daily annoyances I encounter, the ones that involve driving are probably the most prevalent and irksome. Whether it be bad drivers, bad laws, or poorly designed roads, driving can be one of the most stress inducing activities you frequently partake in. Probably the saddest part of all is that I know how relaxing driving can be if you find yourself in a situation where none of those factors can influence you. In North Jersey those situations are especially scarce.

Take this intersection, please...

This image, courtesy of Microsoft Virtual Earth, is the intersection of a heavily traveled semi-limited access divided highway and a relatively (especially for the design of the road) highly traveled side street. The highway, State Route 46, acts as a secondary artery for Northern New Jersey. Its path criss crosses I-80, at times it's a limited access highway and at times it's simply divided and is littered with retail and the occasional residence. The cross street is one of those old farm roads come neighborhood through way come major thoroughfare that this area is littered with. Several other neighborhood side streets intersect in the immediate area, as well.

Did you notice what this picture lacks?

It lacks a traffic signal. All of the intersections pictured on the cross street are controlled by stop signs alone. Making matters worse, none of the stop signs apply to the major cross street. All of them apply to the tributaries and off ramps.

Any traffic engineer could watch this intersection during moderate to heavy volume, which happens frequently, to see how the traffic flow at is a horrible failure.

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