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Author Topic: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?  (Read 29088 times)

froggie

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2012, 04:05:46 PM »

Back to the OP, and Mapmikey hinted at this, there were several "suicide lane" segments in both Virginia and Pennsylvania.  These have all been converted into some form or another of center left turn lane or alternating passing lanes...both US 1 and US 11 in Virginia have alternating segments of both.
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Alps

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2012, 07:24:45 PM »

The only 3 lane section of road I know of where both lanes can pass simultaneously is a short section of Old Stage Road in Chesterfield County, VA. In this photo, I was heading northbound.


(Edited to fix link)
Actually, a number of states allow this to happen, as long as your hill climb/descent stays straight.

Alps

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2012, 07:26:24 PM »


So, I'm curious:  in the picture above, is it legal to pass three abreast?
I'm going to second that question.

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2012, 07:43:37 PM »

Actually, a number of states allow this to happen, as long as your hill climb/descent stays straight.

Indeed, this exists in Ontario too.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2012, 09:42:26 AM »

Come to think of it, I was on a city street not too long ago (Chicago area?) where there was a broken yellow down the middle and white stripes on both sides. In essence, you could theoretically pass in all four lanes.

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2012, 12:03:06 PM »

Except that, IIRC, there's a state law which prohibits passing in an intersection in an urban area; if it was a city street, it would be very hard to complete said passing maneuver between intersections.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2012, 12:22:59 PM »

Except that, IIRC, there's a state law which prohibits passing in an intersection in an urban area; if it was a city street, it would be very hard to complete said passing maneuver between intersections.
I get the feeling it's really meant for getting around something like a bulldozer or a double-parked car/bus. I've passed people on city streets before, though.

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2012, 04:25:00 PM »

This concept used to be moderately popular in Europe, specifically the first generation of Autostrade in Italy which were 3-lane, limited-access highways. Most of them were eliminated or twinned by the 1960's. It was also found in France and Belgium, and there are still a few left here and there.

N20, France:

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2012, 06:19:11 PM »

Except that, IIRC, there's a state law which prohibits passing in an intersection in an urban area; if it was a city street, it would be very hard to complete said passing maneuver between intersections.
I get the feeling it's really meant for getting around something like a bulldozer or a double-parked car/bus. I've passed people on city streets before, though.

At least here in Florida, it's explicitly legal to pass a slow or stopped traffic impediment like a slow moving bulldozer, parked car, or bicyclist on a double yellow.
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Brandon

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2012, 08:48:05 AM »

Come to think of it, I was on a city street not too long ago (Chicago area?) where there was a broken yellow down the middle and white stripes on both sides. In essence, you could theoretically pass in all four lanes.

This being Chicagoland, they'd use all four for passing.   :-P

Seriously, though, there used to be more streets like that (Colorado Avenue between Mall Loop Drive and Hennepin Drive in Joliet was exactly like that until the late 1990s - a solid double yellow is now down the center), and streets wide enough for four lanes that only have two marked.  The drivers tend to use them as four-lane streets anyway.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2012, 08:50:21 AM »

This concept used to be moderately popular in Europe, specifically the first generation of Autostrade in Italy which were 3-lane, limited-access highways. Most of them were eliminated or twinned by the 1960's. It was also found in France and Belgium, and there are still a few left here and there.

N20, France:


Looking at this, I have a very hard time discerning if this road is one-way in my direction, one-way against my direction, or two-way.  This may sound like elitism, but Europe could stand some yellow (or other color) markings to discern the two opposing traffic flows.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2012, 09:22:27 AM »

What one would be the centre line though? There's not one.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2012, 01:15:58 PM »

This concept used to be moderately popular in Europe, specifically the first generation of Autostrade in Italy which were 3-lane, limited-access highways. Most of them were eliminated or twinned by the 1960's. It was also found in France and Belgium, and there are still a few left here and there.

N20, France:


Looking at this, I have a very hard time discerning if this road is one-way in my direction, one-way against my direction, or two-way.  This may sound like elitism, but Europe could stand some yellow (or other color) markings to discern the two opposing traffic flows.

My joking take would be it's a one way road since all roads lead to Rome...LOL!

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2012, 03:17:17 PM »

Come to think of it, I was on a city street not too long ago (Chicago area?) where there was a broken yellow down the middle and white stripes on both sides. In essence, you could theoretically pass in all four lanes.

This being Chicagoland, they'd use all four for passing.   :-P

Seriously, though, there used to be more streets like that (Colorado Avenue between Mall Loop Drive and Hennepin Drive in Joliet was exactly like that until the late 1990s - a solid double yellow is now down the center), and streets wide enough for four lanes that only have two marked.  The drivers tend to use them as four-lane streets anyway.

Exchange Street in West Akron was striped like that for a long time and it was four lanes by popular demand/common practice.  The party ended a couple years ago when they restriped it as one lane each way with a center turn lane.

South 18th St. in Lafayette, Ind. had stretches like that south of Teal Road that had enough occasional parked cars to make driving as two lanes impractical.  This was 10 years or more ago, and I haven't driven down it lately--maybe it has changed with the significant increase in traffic down that way.  When I lived in that general direction (15 to 11 years ago), the area was a lot less developed, and 350 S (now Veterans Memorial Pkwy) was a lonely county road.  It's now a choked artery lined with development.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2012, 05:38:51 PM »

The Colonial Parkway in the VA Peninsula is three lanes.  Although not striped, it uses the expansion cracks as a guide, its still a suicide lane.  Only through the tunnel at Colonial Williamsburg is it NOT used for obvious reasons and does have a double center line to make sure of it!
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2012, 09:44:06 AM »

It should be noted that there are numerous segments of the Colonial Parkway where passing is prohibited (and signed as such).
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Brian556

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2012, 12:36:32 PM »

Look at this! Avenue A in Denton, Texas is four lanes; and the center line is broken; which would indicate that passing is permitted over it. There is no reason for this whatsoever, and it is in my opinion probably just the result of sheer stupidity.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=33.204828,-97.146062&spn=0.000004,0.003133&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=33.204921,-97.146065&panoid=MJItdfx1-Im-0jTNJIidgA&cbp=12,10.54,,0,0
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2012, 02:26:12 PM »

So, I'm curious:  in the picture above, is it legal to pass three abreast?

The answer is in the road markings.  Since there is not a solid yellow line next to the broken one, I'd say yes.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2012, 08:34:44 PM »

The Colonial Parkway in the VA Peninsula is three lanes.  Although not striped, it uses the expansion cracks as a guide, its still a suicide lane.  Only through the tunnel at Colonial Williamsburg is it NOT used for obvious reasons and does have a double center line to make sure of it!

In addition to what froggie said, before I left Hampton Roads I noticed that fewer and fewer people were still using the expansion joints to guide them. Most cars ride the joint on each side, making the road effectively a 2-lane road with wide lanes.

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2012, 11:27:07 PM »

^ When I was on it in December most of the cars I saw treated it as a 3-lane road as intended. Most of the traffic was on the section between Williamsburg and Yorktown, where the "do not pass" signs were more frequent. I do remember the occasional car in that section doing as you described. The section paralleling the James River had very little traffic that day, so I don't really remember how traffic drove on it.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2012, 09:21:28 AM »


In addition to what froggie said, before I left Hampton Roads I noticed that fewer and fewer people were still using the expansion joints to guide them. Most cars ride the joint on each side, making the road effectively a 2-lane road with wide lanes.

that is precisely what I remember when I drove it in July of 2007.  I physically did not have the room to attempt a pass down the middle - and I'll bet that if I did for a moment, the other traffic would've decided I was in violation of some law or another and possibly insane.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2012, 05:36:35 PM »

This concept used to be moderately popular in Europe, specifically the first generation of Autostrade in Italy which were 3-lane, limited-access highways. Most of them were eliminated or twinned by the 1960's. It was also found in France and Belgium, and there are still a few left here and there.

N20, France:


Looking at this, I have a very hard time discerning if this road is one-way in my direction, one-way against my direction, or two-way.  This may sound like elitism, but Europe could stand some yellow (or other color) markings to discern the two opposing traffic flows.

Of course, you're assuming there aren't arrows painted on the pavement just out of camera shot.
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Alps

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #47 on: May 29, 2012, 09:04:03 PM »


In addition to what froggie said, before I left Hampton Roads I noticed that fewer and fewer people were still using the expansion joints to guide them. Most cars ride the joint on each side, making the road effectively a 2-lane road with wide lanes.

that is precisely what I remember when I drove it in July of 2007.  I physically did not have the room to attempt a pass down the middle - and I'll bet that if I did for a moment, the other traffic would've decided I was in violation of some law or another and possibly insane.
I've noticed people drive it both ways. However, all of my passing maneuvers were undertaken with the car on my side keeping to the right, thus allowing me into the middle lane instead of all the way over. I have made one pass three abreast, but mostly not. And yes, there are a lot of marked no-passing zones.

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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #48 on: August 13, 2012, 04:53:17 PM »

Three lane single-carriageways were very common in the United Kingdom between the 1930s and early 1990s.

Obviously after the war we were rather short of cash so plenty of trunk roads got these as cheap and cheerful upgrades pending motorway bypasses later on. For example, long lengths of the A6 in the North West were like this (about 5 miles still remain over the notorious Shap Summit).

Safety considerations have all but eliminated the shortest lengths of these now, where they'd merrily charge through any vertical or horizontal alignment, today's three lane roads have either been converted to distinct priority (2+1) or had the centre lane painted out completely. Those that survive are often restricted to 50mph (originally they'd have had 70mph and then 60mph limits after the oil crisis).

I thought they were a European thing, pleasantly surprised to see they were used in the USA, although with modern traffic volumes I expect they'd have a terrible level of service today.
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Re: Rural 3-lane roads: 1950s suicide lane, or modern efficient highway?
« Reply #49 on: August 13, 2012, 05:42:10 PM »

Look at this! Avenue A in Denton, Texas is four lanes; and the center line is broken; which would indicate that passing is permitted over it. There is no reason for this whatsoever, and it is in my opinion probably just the result of sheer stupidity.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=33.204828,-97.146062&spn=0.000004,0.003133&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=33.204921,-97.146065&panoid=MJItdfx1-Im-0jTNJIidgA&cbp=12,10.54,,0,0

Most of the older four-lane streets in Denton use raised reflectors instead of stripes, which I dislike greatly. Those lanes are extremely narrow and rarely are there turn lanes, as well. I guess they wanted to skimp on the yellow ones, thinking a double yellow is "understood." If you ever got ticketed, you could probably get off on that basis.
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