Endangered Species Spotted — Thriving in Local Neighborhood

Occasionally in my travels, I’ll come across a solitary specimen of an endangered, and nearly forgotten, species of road sign. Today I hit the mother-load! An entire neighborhood where these threatened signs appear to be thriving. If you look closely at the photograph of the specimen above, you can see its mate across the street. The photograph has been altered to conceal its identity.  So, shhhhhh… don’t tell anyone!

This rare red triangle has been nearly edged out of our communities and consciousness by the invasive red octagon. These red triangles were once used to assign priority where roads intersect. Today, however, they are seen so rarely that very few people know what they mean. While they have been nearly wiped out in most regions of the United States, related—sometimes more colorful—species still thrive in other countries. The near-extinction of this sign is believed to have contributed to the dumbing down of U.S. drivers, many of whom no longer know how to make good decisions.

While the red octagons are present in this neighborhood, they are outnumbered by the red triangles. The red triangles appear to be holding their ground against encroachment from a nearby neighborhood burdened with an overpopulation of red octagons! What an amazing thing to behold!

19 replies
  1. JohnB
    JohnB says:

    Cute. But perhaps you could say their spirit lives on, albeit as merely a pale shadow of their former selves, in the “Idaho Stop” concept. Truly, you can’t keep a good idea down. Perhaps extending the “Idaho Stop” to ALL drivers actually represents a viable “back door” strategy for bringing the red triangle back from the brink of extinction!

    • Gary Cziko
      Gary Cziko says:

      The Idaho stop is alive and well for all drivers all across the U.S.

      Here you can see it in action in Urbana, IL:

      And here in Berkeley, CA:

  2. Bill
    Bill says:

    Maybe there’s hope for the species yet. Finding such a large concentration may bode well for future reproduction. Maybe it would be a good idea to disclose the location so more human contact can take place.

  3. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    I vote with John B. On my way home today, I made a point of observing motorist behavior at octagon signs. I did not see a single FULL stop. When everyone disobeys the law, it is time to reconsider the law.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      It’s time to reconsider the sign. The law isn’t what’s broken. It’s the use of the sign that’s broken.

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        Ask any engineer or cop and they will tell you that traffic control devices should not be used to control speed. Yet, they all also know that the fastest way to the unemployment line is to recommend replacing all way stops with signs that are more appropriate.

  4. Eric
    Eric says:

    There are so many frivolous all-way (that’s the new name) octagonal signs at intersections that don’t need them that it has become necessary to add white regulatory signs beneath some that say “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” to signs that are placed correctly.

    Typically what happens is that the driver is in a neighborhood where almost every intersection is controlled with all way signs and becomes accustomed to it. Then, when exiting the neighborhood at the intersection of a far busier collector street, he assumes the oncoming traffic will have to stop — and they don’t.

    • NE2
      NE2 says:

      That’s the “new name” because you could in theory have a situation where a 5-way intersection has a 4-way stop.

  5. RonE
    RonE says:

    As geekish kids in junior high school a looong time ago, some friends and I sat near a four-way stop and observed 50 cars progress through the intersection. A total of 48 cars rolled through the stop, one car came to a full stop and one car blew completely through the intersection without slowing down. Two percent compliance, but no accidents!

  6. Larry Gies
    Larry Gies says:

    In Belle Isle you will discover red octagons at the traffic circle on Nela Avenue at Lake Drive/Overlook Road. I guess we view traffic circles as something aesthetically pleasing.

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