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February 6, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Series of directional signs

Noway Jim McDonough submits a picture of a series of signs taken in Dublin, Ireland:

No left turn, no right turn, no straight ahead, and a stop sign!

No wonder there aren't any cars!


you need to knock one of the sign posts down before you can proceed. by the look of the stop sign, someone with a tall vehicle already tried.


the people in those buildings pay a lot of $$$ to live there, so they can throw things at the idling cars of people wondering what to do.

Posted by: gmangw at February 6, 2006 12:19 AM

Maybe that is their varient on the "wrong way" sign ;).

Posted by: Role at February 6, 2006 01:25 AM

Apparently, you're supposed to back up.

Or fly.

Posted by: =David at February 6, 2006 01:37 AM

Um, is there a misunderstanding here over the meaning of the "Stop" sign? It doesn't mean "No Entry"; it merely that all vehicles approaching the junction must stop and check for cross-traffic. It is quite legal to go straight through.

As that area of Dublin (Temple Bar) is partially pedestrianised (hence the lack of visible cars), turning right or left at that junction is only going to lead to you ploughing down great numbers of valuable foreign tourists wandering around bemusedly looking for "culture" (Hint: you won't find it in Temple Bar, bud).

What is broken here, believe me, is not this one junction but the entire Dublin city centre, which is mostly one-way and so convoluted that it turns any short journey into an expedition...

Posted by: Kesey at February 6, 2006 09:22 AM

there are 4 signs in that red box, not 3. Everyone knows what the stop sign means, its the next one that's problematic.

Posted by: gmangw at February 6, 2006 10:10 AM

Ireland's street sign version of the childhood game "Red Light Green Light"

It's confusing sign arrangements that create the slow and dumb traffic we all hate so much. Drivers aren't the idiots, the sign guys are. Bad signage = bad drivers.

(Added statement by someone in the background... "How am I supposed to read so many signs when I am trying to drink my coffee without spilling it and sending a text message?")

Okay, maybe combinations of cellphones and coffee make bad drivers too.

Posted by: Poindexter T Quakenfuss at February 6, 2006 10:29 AM

Notice how the no throughfare sign is angled?? It's probably intended to be seen by drivers on the right hand street. The only direction you can go here is straight IMO

Posted by: Mike at February 6, 2006 11:38 AM

Ah, I see the "no entry" sign now; it's not that apparent on the thumbnail.

Based on what I remember of that junction, I think Mike has it right-- that is meant to be visible only from the right-hand street. I suspect that it's been twisted around by a passing ruffian, a common fate of Irish road signs.

Posted by: Kesey at February 6, 2006 01:19 PM

I dont see a no entry, and seeing as i dont drive yet, I can't rally tell what to do. It's still funny tho.

Posted by: levykid at February 6, 2006 01:53 PM

I hate to say it, but this isn't broken. This is a four-way intersection. If you're traveling down the street running "north-south" in the picture, the stop sign applies to you, as well as both the no-turn signs. You can't go left or right, only straight.

The no-straight-ahead sign is not pointing to the "north-south" street, but the "east-west" street, to show traffic coming from the right that they cannot proceed down that street and must turn. The limitations of rendering three-dimensional space in a two-dimensional medium are making this look more complex than it actually is.

Posted by: Steve J at February 6, 2006 06:06 PM

If there are this many people confused by it, it's broken.

Posted by: Jello B. at February 6, 2006 06:20 PM

this is soo not broken. To me, this looks like the Irish version of the On the Road Again Drinking Game. In the US you play that game with drive through liquor stores, there it looks like you play with street signs, oh made a wrong turn did eh, drink another shot, knock down a sign and take a shot and have a beer, its all in good fun.

Posted by: smartypants at February 6, 2006 06:36 PM

sign-placing, like many other sciences, has reached a point where there are many theoretical paths, but in practice has come to a dead-end

Posted by: kamikazeman at February 6, 2006 07:34 PM

sign-placing, like many other sciences, has reached a point where there are many theoretical paths, but in practice has come to a dead-end

Posted by: kamikazeman at February 6, 2006 07:35 PM

Is the 'no left turn' sign real?

Posted by: mmj at February 6, 2006 07:45 PM

Hmm... good point mmj. Where is the post holding it up?

Posted by: someone at February 6, 2006 08:38 PM

I dont' think that no left turn sign is real. It looks fake. It is brighter than the other few signs, and doesn't appear to be attached to any sign post. A clear indication that the law of physics are broken, but not this picture, except for some editing.

Posted by: Gamer at February 6, 2006 08:41 PM

Sorry, I meant I don't think that the "No Left Turn" sign is real. My grammer is broken.

Posted by: Gamer at February 6, 2006 08:44 PM

Now all this spot needs is a "No U-Turn" sign and while the drunken driver (after being at Lucky Paddy's Pub), is deciding what to do, takes another shot and a beer, is being towed out because he can't turn around and leave this convoluted corner.

Posted by: Mat-Tris Fluff at February 6, 2006 08:49 PM

What's broken is people who say (um) to start their post as if this makes them look witty or something.

Posted by: TKN at February 6, 2006 09:44 PM

Saying "um" doesn't make someone seem witty, it makes them seem thoughtful and even perplexed. In writing, it's a reasonable colloquialism. Ergo, not broken.

And back to the signs. I think that part of the problem is that the picture is (intentionally?) taken from the most confusing spot possible. If you were driving down the street (and not on the sidewalk), this may be a bit clearer. (In other words, change the point of perspective, and it becomes more obvious that certain signs just aren't meant for you.)

Posted by: karen at February 6, 2006 09:59 PM

Broken: The sign is placed so it's visible to traffic that shouldn't be seeing it.

Posted by: Loren Pechtel at February 6, 2006 10:02 PM

If you look carefully enough, *all* of the signs are fake. See the one under the stop sign? The light reflects off it differently. The 'No left turn' sign is hanging in mid-air. The 'No forward'ing' sign, seems to be pasted right on top of a traffic light (or equivalent). They don't usually mount signs with two 'extensions' attached to the pole.

Posted by: Trent Chernecki at February 7, 2006 03:06 AM

I agree with Trent. The only real sign is the stop sign. The others have all been digitally added to the image.

Posted by: cmadler at February 7, 2006 07:42 AM

I beg to differ, the no passage sign is lighted differently because it is on an angle. Thus it is intended for trafic comming from the right, but the fact that it can be seen by traffic comming from the direction that the picture was taken from is broken. However it is possible that it is a case of a bent sign rather than a bad installation. And yes I have seen a sign on that type of post before.

As for the no left turn sign, it is kind of hard to tell with the low resoloution of the picture but I think it is attached to the building with a grey bracket.

Posted by: Sean P at February 7, 2006 09:43 AM

I checked the junction and the "No Right" and "No Left" signs are correct. The "No Entry" sign refers to the street on the left and is for motorists coming from the right. As of noon today (Feb 7th), it was not facing as shown but facing the street on the right. Also, a sign instructing drivers that they must continue on straight is obscured from the viewpoint shown.

Posted by: Eamonn at February 7, 2006 12:41 PM

It does look a little funky. Either it is edited, it is a trick by the locals to confuse out-of-towners, or it's what happens when the public workers find out that they forgot to put up a few signs...

Posted by: zero??? at February 7, 2006 04:35 PM

I know it's tempting to automatically say that a picture has been altered (in this case due to the brightness of the signs), but consider what happens when you shine a bright light on the average street sign. They look abnormally bright because they are designed to reflect headlamps (or in this case the flash of a camera), and the brightness is heavily dependent on the angle of incident light. I don't deny the possibility that they were fudged though...

Posted by: Jeff at February 8, 2006 05:44 AM

I don't think it's faked. I do think that either the traffic cannot actually flow in the direction that the photo was taken (i.e. the photographer is on a pedestrianised street or one where traffic can only come towards them) and/or that there is some clever cropping going on that would help disambiguate. I notice that there is a hint of a vehicle on the right hand side of the picture and also the edge of a blue round sign (signs giving positive instruction) which could well be an arrow saying where you *can* go.

Note also that this is taken from the position and height of a pedestrian i.e. a couple of feet higher and six feet to the left of where the average motorist's PoV. Either that or it was taken by an American in an SUV.

Other possible but unlikely theory: there are more than four ways at this junction. (The local knowledge already posting suggests otherwise, but you *might* have considered it before assuming it was a fourway).

Posted by: Simon Trew at February 8, 2006 06:01 PM

BTW I'm not saying it either is or isn't broken. I suppose one could be pragmatic and inquire as to how many accidents happen at this junction or in the streets immediately beyond.

Posted by: Simon Trew at February 8, 2006 06:05 PM

The street that the photographer is standing on is "traffic-calmed" with access to emergency vehicles and for deliveries between 6AM and 10AM. Same applies to street on left.



|Exit from traffic-calmed area.






Calmed ^



| Calmed



Posted by: Eamonn at February 14, 2006 12:50 PM

I'm pretty sure the no left turn sign has been added in, as there is no (visible) sign post, and it is much brighter, and no sign of any shading (the white is pure white). Also, the sign is not at any angle at all.

Posted by: EBG at March 11, 2006 08:12 PM

Guys have you ever been to Europe?? They are different. Whereas Americans almost always put street signs on posts, Europeans will usually try to just post them on buildings if there is one nearby. It probably saves money and reduces sidewalk clutter because if you think about it the posts sometimes really aren't necessary! It seemed bizarre to me at first too since I've been acculturated the American way but I'm sure you would quickly get used to it living there.

Posted by: Mike at July 1, 2006 01:11 AM

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