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#1
Old 01-07-2004, 12:32 PM
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Why is it called a California Stop?

I'm curious about why slowing down for a Stop sign and then carrying on through the intersection without coming to a full stop is called a "California Stop" ...?

Where did this originate? Is it a common expression in North America?

(I'm in British Columbia, Canada).

S.
#2
Old 01-07-2004, 12:44 PM
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It (supposedly) originated and is most common in CA. It's actually called a "CA rolling stop".
#3
Old 01-07-2004, 01:09 PM
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#4
Old 01-07-2004, 01:14 PM
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Here in St. Louis, it's called a "St. Louis stop" or a "city stop" because of the annoying practice of the City of St. Louis to put a stop sign at virtually every corner.

When I lived in western Kentucky it was called an "Illinois stop" presumably as a slur on the driving habits of drivers in southern Illinois (just across the river from where I lived.)

I have also heard it called "genuflecting" which the Catholics on the board will have no trouble figuring out.
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#5
Old 01-07-2004, 01:14 PM
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Out here we would call that a comma.
#6
Old 01-07-2004, 01:17 PM
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Down here in SE TN I've heard it called a 'New York stop', though I never heard it called that when I lived up there.
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#7
Old 01-07-2004, 01:54 PM
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You are of course referring to the famous California LOOKOUT stop.
That is where you holler LOOKOUT as you roll through the stop sign.
#8
Old 01-07-2004, 01:59 PM
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I have heard it called a Hollywood Stop, which stems from the fact that people in movies never stop. I imagine California stop is an extension of that.
#9
Old 01-07-2004, 02:14 PM
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I was kind of surprised when I saw you were from Canada, Stainz. Don't know what city/province you're in, but in Montreal we call it an "American Stop". Man, my driving teacher gave me shit about my "American Stops". Good question as to why. Most American cities I've driven in (many) have MUCH better drivers (as far as rules of the road is concerned) than us (Quebecois).

We drive like idiots. And it's either "conform or die" on our roads. Because of that, I think we end up being better DEFENSIVE drivers than most.

But still ~ why does the "California stop" as you say (never heard of it personally but I would love a California King bed), and the "American stop" connote such bad driving behaviour?

Great question.
#10
Old 01-07-2004, 02:14 PM
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Mmm. We called it a New Orleans Stop when I lived down there. Wherever there are bad drivers, I suppose, the (local name) Stop will be there.
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#11
Old 01-07-2004, 02:19 PM
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Oh now you've got me even MORE curious, Stainz! In 10 posts, we've got it being called:
~ California Stop
~ St.Louis Stop
~ New York Stop
~ Hollywood Stop
~ New Orleans Stop

(Sorry about saying I didn't know what province you were from... I meant city but it came out like that)

I'm wondering if people in London England call it a "Manchester Stop" for example. GREAT question! And still, we have no answers as to WHY it is called this. I guess GMRyujin hit the nail on the head when saying "Wherever there are bad drivers, I suppose, the (local name) Stop will be there."
#12
Old 01-07-2004, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kunilou
Here in St. Louis, it's called a "St. Louis stop" or a "city stop" because of the annoying practice of the City of St. Louis to put a stop sign at virtually every corner.

When I lived in western Kentucky it was called an "Illinois stop" presumably as a slur on the driving habits of drivers in southern Illinois (just across the river from where I lived.)

I have also heard it called "genuflecting" which the Catholics on the board will have no trouble figuring out.
Yes, St. Louis stop signs are genuinely frustrating. There's even one on Compton near Chouteau that comes and goes (it's only there about one random day a week, and sometimes it's on the wrong side of the road!).

AND, I used to live in So. IL (near Carbondale), and I will say that there should be no Kentuckians casting aspersions on the driving skills of anyone! I was always astounded on my occasional trips down to Paducah to find parking lots full of cars sitting every which way in (and on, and across, etc.) the lines in the parking lot. Not to mention people always seeming to turn right or left from the regular lanes when right/left turn lanes are available, totally ignoring the turn lanes and the vehicles in them.

As for the OP, I've only heard it called a "rolling stop." no regional tags applied.
#13
Old 01-07-2004, 02:34 PM
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Californian here, now living in New York. In the Bay Area, we referred to it as a Rolling Stop, but also did call it a California Stop, too.

What I want to Trademark is the term "East Coast Left"(tm). When I moved to New York, I encountered it for the first time and have since witnessed it up and down the East Coast, but never really saw it in California. It's when the light turns green and the car across the intersection from you in the left-turn bay throws itself into the left turn before the cars coming in the other direction, who have the legal right of way, have a chance to accelerate. Drives me flippin' nuts - it is so rude.
#14
Old 01-07-2004, 04:25 PM
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A little story.

A number of years ago I was working as a glorified goffer in a musical theater project in LA. I was asked to drive one of the participants, the venerable songwriter Sammy Cahn (yes, shameless namedropping there), to the theater. I picked him up at his impressive Hollywood home. As we drove along, I stopped (well, slowed down substantially, really) at the Hollywood stop signs, just like the good NYC driver I am. This bothered him to no end. "Go! Just go!" he barked at me whenever I so much as touched the break. All I could think of were the headlines that would result if we got involved in a fatal crash: "Stuyguy Kills Legendary Hollywood Songwriter." Just what I needed.

Ahh, Sammy, I miss ya'.
#15
Old 01-07-2004, 04:33 PM
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"In Brazil, we just call them nuts".

Had to throw it out!

MtM
#16
Old 01-07-2004, 04:49 PM
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On Mars, they're called Saturn stops.
#17
Old 01-07-2004, 04:52 PM
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Incidentally, San Francisco has the most obnoxious stop signs I've ever encountered (maybe this situation exists elsewhere, but I've found it only in SF). In some residential neighborhoods there they put up 4-way stop signs on just about every corner but they do not mark them as such. Every other municipality marks their 4-ways. Why not SF?

In case you think it makes little difference, you are grossly mistaken. If you encounter a 4-way, you stop, and if there are no other cars stopped at the other 3 signs, you can obliviously plow straight ahead confident that any other approaching cars will be obligated to stop for you. Essentially right-of-way shifts between the various drivers approaching the intersection.

At a non-4-way stop you do not have the right-of-way, period. You stop, check for oncoming traffic down the entire length of the intersecting street, and proceed only if and when it is clear.

Driving through one of these SF neighborhoods at night (when you can't see if there are stop signs at all corners) is a maddening excercise of "stop-creep-look-go-roll for 50 feet-repeat." You dare not presume that a non-marked stop sign is really a 4-way because the results could be disasterous.
#18
Old 01-07-2004, 05:03 PM
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I'm used to hearing it as the California Roll.
#19
Old 01-07-2004, 06:14 PM
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When I drove a taxi in Vermont I called it a Hollywood stop - because

1) it's fake,
2) not real, and
3) just for show.
#20
Old 01-07-2004, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WordMan
What I want to Trademark is the term "East Coast Left"(tm).
Would it be even better called the "right coast left?" I've only seen it once in my life, except for the time I actually did it once... and the scary part was that I did it automatically, without really thinking. The guy in the oncoming lane didn't react to the green light, and I robotically calculated that I could whip a fast left without getting hit, so I did.

Now, there's may also be the "West Coast Right" that I've only seen out here... when there's two right hand turn lanes that intersect at a light, drivers in both lanes will make rights on red... I thought it was only legal for the far right turn lane.
#21
Old 01-07-2004, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by troub
I used to live in So. IL (near Carbondale), and I will say that there should be no Kentuckians casting aspersions on the driving skills of anyone!
Hey, if the people in Carbondale, Harrisburg and Metropolis wanted to call it a "Kentucky stop" I would have understood.

And the reason we parked across the lines in parking lots is so we wouldn't get our fenders dinged by the car next to us. Why is that hard to figure out?
#22
Old 01-07-2004, 09:33 PM
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I can cite the term as "Rolling Stop" in popular newspapers as early as 1948.

It's only natural that it would take on regional names at a later date.
#23
Old 01-07-2004, 10:06 PM
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It's also frequently called a 'California Stop' in (at least some parts of) Washington State.
#24
Old 01-07-2004, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WordMan
Californian here, now living in New York. In the Bay Area, we referred to it as a Rolling Stop, but also did call it a California Stop, too.

What I want to Trademark is the term "East Coast Left"(tm). When I moved to New York, I encountered it for the first time and have since witnessed it up and down the East Coast, but never really saw it in California. It's when the light turns green and the car across the intersection from you in the left-turn bay throws itself into the left turn before the cars coming in the other direction, who have the legal right of way, have a chance to accelerate. Drives me flippin' nuts - it is so rude.
Californian here (former New Englander). What you are referring to is what I've already Trademarked as the "Rhode Island Left hand Turn". It's a lot more nuanced than you realize:

It starts while the light is still red. You eye the guy going the opposite direction. (If you're smart, you don't give yourself away by turning on your left-turn signal.) As you see the cross light turning orange, you start your lunge. Just before the light turns, you head out in front of the other guy. The really cool part is when the guy behind you can stick closely enough to your bumper that he, too, can make it thru the intersection.

I can't tell you the disapointment I encountered upon moving out here and seeing all the dedicated left-turn lanes. What sport is that?
#25
Old 01-08-2004, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Governor Quinn
I'm used to hearing it as the California Roll.
Me too. I never heard New Orleans Stop when I was down there, but I can believe it. Walking down there is like one big game of chicken.
-Lil
#26
Old 01-08-2004, 02:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Governor Quinn
I'm used to hearing it as the California Roll.
Hm. California Roll = sushi where I live.
#27
Old 01-08-2004, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by stuyguy
Incidentally, San Francisco has the most obnoxious stop signs I've ever encountered (maybe this situation exists elsewhere, but I've found it only in SF). In some residential neighborhoods there they put up 4-way stop signs on just about every corner but they do not mark them as such. Every other municipality marks their 4-ways. Why not SF?
haha I just got home tonight from San Francisco, man you couldnt be more right, about 85-90% of residental intersections were unmarked 4 way stops the other 10-15% were unmarked 2 way stops.

in the half mile between the house I was staying at and the nearest main road there were 5 4 way stops even though it was obvious the road I was on was the main drag and only needed one of those 4 ways. chirst I was going batty after a week, I can't imagine living there full time.
#28
Old 01-08-2004, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Mace
As you see the cross light turning orange, you start your lunge. Just before the light turns, you head out in front of the other guy. The really cool part is when the guy behind you can stick closely enough to your bumper that he, too, can make it thru the intersection.
That would get you killed multiple times a day in Miami. It must be something about the low latitudes, because recently turned red lights apparently still have a lot of green in them, as we get three and four cars continuing through a light that has just changed to red.
#29
Old 01-08-2004, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Mace
Californian here (former New Englander). What you are referring to is what I've already Trademarked as the "Rhode Island Left hand Turn". It's a lot more nuanced than you realize:

It starts while the light is still red. You eye the guy going the opposite direction. (If you're smart, you don't give yourself away by turning on your left-turn signal.) As you see the cross light turning orange, you start your lunge. Just before the light turns, you head out in front of the other guy. The really cool part is when the guy behind you can stick closely enough to your bumper that he, too, can make it thru the intersection.

I can't tell you the disapointment I encountered upon moving out here and seeing all the dedicated left-turn lanes. What sport is that?
You should move to Pittsburgh, and encounter the far friendlier "Pittsburgh Left."

This is where the guy making the left, if he's the first one at the light, gets waved through by the driver facing him. That way, he doesn't have to wait past a whole line of cars, and doesn't hold up traffic behind him.

Wonderful custom, arising from the unique layout of Pittsburgh roads.
#30
Old 01-08-2004, 08:23 AM
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I am not completly sure about this but according to my mom, when she lived in california in the early sixties coming to a full stop was not a requirement. Stop signs were treated more like yield signs.
I also seem to remember seeing combination yield/stop signs on u-turn routes.
#31
Old 01-08-2004, 09:21 AM
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There is the "New Jersey Left Turn", which is when you make a right turn into a jughandle so that you can then drive straight through the intersection to make your left. My guess is a long ago govenor had a bad experience in a left turn lane, so he removed them.
#32
Old 01-08-2004, 09:38 AM
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All this talk of 4-way stops reminds me of something. I've watched a hell of a lot of American movies and TV and I don't think I've ever seen a roundabout or island as they are also known, do they exist in the US?

The only time I recall seeing one is in National Lampoon's Eurpean Holiday when the Griswolds get stuck endlessly circling one in Paris.

They seem like a pretty good device for bringing multiple roads together in a junction while keeping the traffic faily mobile, so I wonder why they aren't used; or if they are, why you never see one.
#33
Old 01-08-2004, 10:25 AM
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They actually exist in Arlington, Virginia.

Of course, the idiots who installed them didn't listen to critics who said that they are totally alien to American drivers, and they would cause accidents. And they have.

Some candidates for board have promised to bring back four-way stop signs as a safety improvement.
#34
Old 01-08-2004, 12:15 PM
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The Griswolds circle a roundabout in London, in front of Big Ben. Hence the classic line:
"Look kids, Big Ben!"

There is a roundabout not far from where I live, but it's really useless. It used to be a 2-way stop, with the main road not having to yield at all, and now it's a roundabout. The thing is, no one ever comes from the intersecting road anyways, so all it does is cause you to have to swerve a little as you go on your way. Totally useless.
#35
Old 01-08-2004, 12:59 PM
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Mini-roundabouts are popular in Seattle neighborhoods as an alternative to stop signs. They slow traffic without stopping it completely.

We don't have full-on roundabouts in Seattle, though. The first one I've seen in the state (though I do not guarantee it is the actual first) was recently installed at the intersection of Marvin Road and Pacific Avenue east of Olympia. Personally, I think it's the perfect solution for that intersection, but it'll be six months before the locals are completely used to it.
#36
Old 01-08-2004, 02:10 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Quint Essence
[B]I am not completly sure about this but according to my mom, when she lived in california in the early sixties coming to a full stop was not a requirement. Stop signs were treated more like yield signs.



Reminds me of Norfolk VA. It didn't take me long to realize that everyone stops at all the yield signs and yields at all the stop signs. Enough to drive a person nuts!

I bit further North around Annapolis MD you can never be going fast enough. You can be doing 80 in the left lane and i guarantee you there will be someone on your bumper wanting to go 85.

Down in Chattanooga TN there's a very simple rule. NEVER use your turn signals! Only out of towners use them.
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#37
Old 01-08-2004, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GSV Consolation of Dreams
All this talk of 4-way stops reminds me of something. I've watched a hell of a lot of American movies and TV and I don't think I've ever seen a roundabout or island as they are also known, do they exist in the US?
You'll find roudabouts (or "traffic circles" as they're called in some places) in some older parts of U.S. cities, but they never really caught on here. One of the reasons is because many U.S. cities follow a grid pattern, so that normally two, and only two, streets intersect at any one place -- and often at a perpendicular angle to each other.

Because of this rarity, many U.S. drivers are totally confounded by the proper way to enter, navigate and leave a roundabout, either circling around it endlessly, or cutting across multiple lanes when they finally do find the street they were looking for.

I'm sure someone completely used to driving roundabouts would laugh at Cervaise's comment that some American cities are installing them in an effort to slow traffic, but it's true.
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#38
Old 01-08-2004, 04:18 PM
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Another (and more amusing) name for the OP's rolling stop I've heard is the "South Philly Slide." Sound like a dance step.

In Massachusetts, we have roundabouts-on-steroids that we call "rotaries". I grew up near Cape Cod, and every summer we would alternately laugh at, and be terrorized by, the way tourists approached these. Some would freeze in blank uncomprehension, and some would charge in without looking for other traffic, some would do a Griswold, and some would speed up and slow down at each exit from the rotary as they tried to figure out where they were supposed to go. Locals prided themselves on their ability to flow into and out of rotaries.
#39
Old 01-08-2004, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cervaise
On Mars, they're called Saturn stops.
CITE?
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#40
Old 01-08-2004, 04:55 PM
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Tallmadge, Ohio centers around a roundabout.
Oh, and my grandfather has heard slowing for stop signs referred to as a "Hillbilly Roll" in West Virginia.
#41
Old 01-08-2004, 05:03 PM
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Washington, D.C., is the only large American city that I'm aware of that has a lot of circles on major streets. They are extremely complicated and dangerous.
#42
Old 01-08-2004, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GSV Consolation of Dreams
All this talk of 4-way stops reminds me of something. I've watched a hell of a lot of American movies and TV and I don't think I've ever seen a roundabout or island as they are also known, do they exist in the US?

The only time I recall seeing one is in National Lampoon's Eurpean Holiday when the Griswolds get stuck endlessly circling one in Paris.

They seem like a pretty good device for bringing multiple roads together in a junction while keeping the traffic faily mobile, so I wonder why they aren't used; or if they are, why you never see one.
They're popular in New Hampshire There are four that I know of (undoubtably there are more than that,) the closest one just one town over. Maybe you've never seen them because you've never been to New England? There are a few in MA that I know of too.

I don't understand why they are said to induce panic in people who see them for the first time. It's not like something bad happens if you miss your exit, you just go 'round again.
#43
Old 01-08-2004, 05:36 PM
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I've seen the East Coast Left Turn (or whatever) in San Francisco. It's not common, but it happens.
#44
Old 01-08-2004, 06:33 PM
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I'm a California boy, but I lived on the East Coast for several months. People thought I was crazy because I rolled through every stop and drove 10 mph above the speed limit.
#45
Old 01-08-2004, 06:47 PM
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^^^I should probably add that driving like I do is normal out here.
#46
Old 01-08-2004, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GSV Consolation of Dreams
All this talk of 4-way stops reminds me of something. I've watched a hell of a lot of American movies and TV and I don't think I've ever seen a roundabout or island as they are also known, do they exist in the US?

The only time I recall seeing one is in National Lampoon's Eurpean Holiday when the Griswolds get stuck endlessly circling one in Paris.

They seem like a pretty good device for bringing multiple roads together in a junction while keeping the traffic faily mobile, so I wonder why they aren't used; or if they are, why you never see one.
NJ has quite a few infamous traffic circles. As others have mentioned us yanks don't handle them too well.
#47
Old 01-08-2004, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bughunter
Now, there's may also be the "West Coast Right" that I've only seen out here... when there's two right hand turn lanes that intersect at a light, drivers in both lanes will make rights on red... I thought it was only legal for the far right turn lane.
In California, it's legal to turn right on red from a marked right turn lane that isn't the rightmost lane. It's also legal to turn left on red if you're in the marked left turn lane of a one-way street and you're turning onto another one-way street that's flowing right to left.
Quote:
Originally posted by iamthewalrus(:3=
I've seen the East Coast Left Turn (or whatever) in San Francisco. It's not common, but it happens.
There's a place you can turn left in San Francisco?
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#48
Old 01-08-2004, 11:29 PM
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There's a place you can turn left in St Louis?

My brother lives near 55 and Arsenal (near the brewery) and the rule down there seems to be if you're bigger than the other cars, you don't have to stop. This may have something to do with the free beer, however.

I call it a St Louis stop but Ardred calls it a Boulevard stop. I don't know why.
#49
Old 01-09-2004, 03:53 AM
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Thanks for the info about "traffic circles" everyone. Seems there a few around but all on the East Coast but not NYC so that would explain why I've never seen any in the US media.

they really aren't that bad unless you are a cyclist, when they can be fairly terrifying. Personally the thought of a four way junction without traffic lights of some kind fills me with dread. I think they all have them here and if they were removed there would be instant carnage.

Thanks for fighting my ignorance. Carry on.
#50
Old 01-09-2004, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WordMan [B]What I want to Trademark is the term "East Coast Left"(tm). ... It's when the light turns green and the car across the intersection from you in the left-turn bay throws itself into the left turn before the cars coming in the other direction, who have the legal right of way, have a chance to accelerate. [B]
As opposed to the "Buffalo Left," where two or three cars in the left turn lane throw themselves into the left turn immediately after the light turns red.
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