Weird NJ Signals

Ahh, the “good ol’ days” before the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)… not only could you find intersections controlled by one small signal face (8″ ~ or smaller ~ diameter) per approach, but you could find signals with simultaneous green-amber or red-amber phases, double arrow indications fit for an 8″ lens, and all sorts of bizarre and beautiful signal wizardry, as contrived by countless municipalities and road departments.  Many vintage signal fans like myself can recall when some of these oddities were still around, and in fact, a handful still are.  This page is in honor of those creative, if not always safe or efficient, signal oddities from around the Garden State.

The first odd specimen is still out there as of this writing.  Keystone State signal fan Ian Ligget discovered this 5-way stop blinker in South Hackensack.  Not only are 5-way clusters unusual, this one happens to be an incandescent cluster of Highway Signal & Sign heads from the 1950s with the original Corning lenses.  Not too many of this make are left in original form.

As featured on the Guy Wires page, look closely at this 4-way AGA signal in Atlantic City.  What the heck – is it indicating green in all directions??  Nope, the bottom light facing the secondary street would have been RED, not green.  But why?  Atlantic City drivers would have been accustomed to having the red on bottom on the secondary approach because the city used many fixed-face 3-bulb signals which required this configuration to operate.  However, a cluster of adjustable heads like this obviously doesn’t need to be set up that way.  Perhaps the 3-bulb intersections were the majority in A.C., so this was just to keep things uniform?  The confusing, oblique angle of the signals and the fact that there is only one head per approach also makes this a pathetic installation by today’s standards, but is definitely one of the oddest, and yeah, coolest signals I’ve ever seen.  I love it!