West Virginia’s Left Turn Lanes

November 19, 2023

I used to think New Jersey with its hatred of left turns (they have something called a roundabout – basically you make three right turns to turn left) and its decision to turn many local roads into highways (with, and I am not joking, on and off ramps) was the oddest road planning I’ve ever driven on.

But then I discovered West Virginia, or more specifically the Charleston area. I haven’t driven in the rest of the state much, but the Charleston area has what I am going to call a segregated left turn lane. (I could not find a formal name for it.)

In most parts of the USA, if you have an intersection where two major roads meet, traffic on Road A will be stopped so drivers from Road B can make their left turn.

In Charleston, however, they have dividers separating the left-most lane in Road B from the other lanes. When a driver needs to make a left turn from Road A, the traffic in just that one lane will be stopped, and the traffic in the other lanes on Road B keeps on moving.

If this sounds confusing, then I have successfully replicated what it is like to encounter a segregated left turn lane for the first time (and the second, third, fourth).

On the one hand I can see the value of this idea – it lets traffic keep flowing. But I also suspect that it causes a lot of accidents, and not just with tourists.

What is the oddest road planning decision you’ve encountered?

This blog was launched in order to share one newbie home buyer’s experience in buying and remodeling a wreck of a house.

Like the house itself, this blog is a work in progress.

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