New Jersey Moves To Ban the Jughandle

Thursday, February 07, 2013

It's a classic Garden State move - go right in order to go left. Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What It Says About Us, talks about what the jughandle left turn means to New Jersey drivers, and why lawmakers are moving to ban it from the state.


Tom Vanderbilt

Comments [21]

Lissnah from NJ

Circles work very well in Europe where they are common. Jughandles work very well in NJ where the need is great because of increased traffic. What's the alternative; bridges? What would the impact (cost) of that be? Left turn lanes in heavy traffic are unsafe and inefficient. Listen to the traffic professionals. It's preposterous that this bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee.

Feb. 13 2013 02:46 PM

I grew up in South Jersey. When we go back there to visit my mom, we crack up at the whole jug handle spectacle. Seems like an extreme measure to ensure safety at all costs, thus enabling a culture of driving. The whole area is kind of peaceful, pleasant and boring. The culture of safe driving feeds into the dull, car-centric lifestyle. There are no fewer bad drivers than when I grew up there- only more and more measures to mitigate their impact on the roads. At least when we had traffic circles, people had to be on their game and pay attention. Now the roads cater to bad drivers.

Feb. 10 2013 12:19 PM
Joyce Ketterer from Brooklyn

Everyone seems to be forgetting that before New Jersey had jug handles it had traffic circles. Everyone HATED the traffici circles so they replaced them with the only other thing that will work.

Feb. 10 2013 11:30 AM
Sheryl from Howell, NJ

If you are proposing to convert all of the existing jughandles, I say 'good luck!'
Yes, it may be a nightmare for out-of-staters, but for us Jerseyans, we love our jughandles. There is traffic EVERYWHERE (I live off of Rt. 9), and I don't think left turn lanes will do much to fix that.
Great embedded videos above, Brian!

Feb. 07 2013 05:15 PM

accdng to insurance co. number one cause of accidents in nj is people edging into the opposite lane in order to turn left.

Feb. 07 2013 02:06 PM
davie from Northern NJ

A vast majority of left lane turns are quite dangerous so without a delayed or left turn signal jug handles are without a doubt much safer. One must remember there are many drivers with varying amounts of driving ability and skills.

Feb. 07 2013 01:41 PM
The Truth from Becky

Ban Jughandles now!! I had to drive damn near 3 miles outta the way just to get to the mcdonalds on the other side of the street and then another three miles back just to continue in the direction I was going originally! Ridic.

Feb. 07 2013 11:59 AM

all drivers are ruled by reptile brains

Feb. 07 2013 11:58 AM
BK from Hoboken

Keep the jughandles! They are safer and keep cars from backing up in the left lane. It is obvious.

Feb. 07 2013 11:57 AM
John A

Jughandle allows for highway-style arteries through overpopulated (highly dense) NJ, right in towns. Approve. Any problems with proximity of this traffic on child development?

Feb. 07 2013 11:56 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

What is worse than jughandles?


Ever try to navigate a circle, switching lanes until you see your exit?

Feb. 07 2013 11:56 AM
J from NJ

As a NJ resident, I would say jughandles are one of the worst ideas Jersey has come up with (and there's a lot of bad ideas here...). It wastes time with several lights, eats up gas, and continues to give the state an opportunity to cover every piece of available property with concrete. I've watched huge swaths of forest disappear to create these ridiculous monstrosities. Kill all jughandles NOW!

Feb. 07 2013 11:55 AM
Jf from Ny

You made me laugh out loud several times!awesome puns today leo!about left turns-i wish i could legally make a left turn with my bike without waiting through 2 lights in bkln.

Feb. 07 2013 11:55 AM
Michael from Manhattan

Would someone kindly explain how a traffic pattern can be a "cultural expression"?

Feb. 07 2013 11:54 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Have there been computer simulations of traffic flow with and without jughandles?

A jughandle requires land to accomodate the jughandle.

A left turn lane requires all traffic to flow right to accomodate every left turn lane.

A jughandle may be the best solution.

Feb. 07 2013 11:52 AM
Jeff from Austin, TX

From a sustainability perspective, given the huge carbon footprint of concrete, the jughandle seems preposterous.

Feb. 07 2013 11:51 AM
Scott from Ramesy

As a Transportaion Engineer, I disagree with the politicization of a tool to make traffic both safer and more efficient.

Junghandles serve the purpose of eliminating dangerous left turns, and keeping traffic moving on the main roadway. If junghandles are banned, we'll need to add a left turn signal to intersections that don't have them(which will decrease the amount of time non-turning traffic has to move), create unsafe left turns without left turn lights, or build costly overpasses.

No matter what, this ban will unlikely not decrease travel time or congestion.

Feb. 07 2013 11:51 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Thanks for inviting Mr. Vanderbilt back to your program. "Traffic" is a very thought-provoking and entertaining book.

Feb. 07 2013 10:58 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Can we find a way to waste more time? Jughandles are fine. The only danger is the number of drivers who have no experience of jughandles and think that the sign 'All turns from Right Lane' is okay to ignore. Jughandles are much safer than making a left turn across oncoming traffic! BTW, the picture you have used appears to be a partial cloverleaf where the right turn is AFTER the intersection.

Feb. 07 2013 10:15 AM
Ian from Northern New Jersey

There is a jug handle near me (rt.15/rt. 94 crossing) and I can not imagine an easier, safer way to handle the traffic at that intersection.

There isn't room to expand the road/add left-turn signals and trying to turn left onto 94 is a suicide move (and one that got a lot of people killed before the jughandle was added). There is no inconvenience in taking the jug handle and it manages the traffic at rush hour quite well.

Leave our jughandles alone!

Feb. 07 2013 10:12 AM

traffic circles seem to be the best way to keep traffic moving

Feb. 07 2013 10:03 AM

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