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 signal face per approach, but you could find signals with simultaneous green-amber or red-amber phases, and all sorts of oddities as contrived by countless municipalities and road departments.  This page is where I’m collecting some of the more off-beat, if not bizarre, signals from around the Garden State.

The first specimen I submit to you 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. The acute angle of the intersections presents a neat double face.

Kevin Mueller photographed these horizontal Crouse-Hinds Type M signals in Atlantic City. These would have been installed as normal red-amber-green signals around 1960 or so. Decades later, reflecting the decreased traffic due to the depressed local economy, these were converted to amber / red blinkers.

As featured on the Guy Wire Masts page, notice how the bottom light on this signal in Atlantic City is lit in all four directions.  Was it malfunctioning?  Nope, the bottom light facing the secondary street would have been red, not green.  But why?  My best guess is that Atlantic City drivers in the 1930s would have been accustomed to having “upside down” lights on the secondary approach, because the city used so many 3-bulb/4-direction signals. These used a reverse-color configuration by design (see image below). 

Incredibly, at such an oblique-angled intersection, the indications are not even shielded from the other approaches with louvres or extended visors. Oh, and there’s only one light per approach. I’ll bet this corner had its share of accidents; but what a cool signal!

Once upon a time, the corner of Kinderkamack Rd and Park Ave in Park Ridge was controlled by a silver four-way cluster of AGA signal heads. This setup was unusual for the dual long mast arms supporting the cluster off the pole. Thanks goes once again to Steven Conboy for finding this picture of a signal he remembers from his childhood growing up in Bergen County.