A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 08, 2006
Texas U-Turn (Texas Turnaround)

The “Texas U-Turn” (or “Texas turnaround”) is a lane that allows cars to make a U-turn.
A Texas U-turn, or Texas turnaround, is a lane allowing cars traveling on one side of a one-way frontage road to U-turn into the opposite frontage road (typically crossing over or under a freeway or expressway) without being stopped by traffic lights or crossing the highway traffic at-grade. This particular highway configuration originates (and is particularly common) in Texas (especially in the San Antonio area), but can also be found in Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta, Georgia; Davie, Florida; and North Little Rock, Arkansas. This is also common in Michigan where frontage roads travel along freeways. In some cases these are controlled by signals, and are similar to the Michigan left.
Google Groups: rec.models.railroad
From:  RickATSF
Date:  Sat, Dec 2 1995 12:00 am
Exit at Main street and take the Texas U-turn. 
Google Groups: misc.transport.road 
From:  Michael G. Koerner
Date:  Sun, May 31 1998 12:00 am
(Michael Moroney) wrote:
>Paul Schlichtman writes:

>>> BTW, I like that ‘Texas U-turn’ on Stoughton Rd (US 51) just south of WI
>>> at that new interchange with Milwaukee St.
>>What is a ‘Texas U-turn’?
>I think they’re the same as a “Michigan left” but am not sure. Anyway I’ll
>describe a Michigan left as a possible answer.
>Many of the major local roads in Michigan have wide medians.  Where they
>intersect, you often can’t make a left at the intersections. To do so,
>you go either straight or right for a couple hundred feet, make a U
>turn through a piece of road designed for that purpose (often with its
>own traffic light), and go back through the intersection, making a
>right if you originally went straight.
Not quite.

A ‘Texas U-Turn’ is a way to get from one side of the busy road to the
other.  In Texas, most I-compatable highways have a system of frontage roads
to provide access to the properties along the ROW.  In the built up areas,
these frontage roads are each ‘one-way’ in the direction of the adjacent
freeway lanes.  Cross road interchanges are handled with ‘slip ramps’ from
the freeway to and from the frontage roads.  NOW, if you were going, lets
say, southbound on the frontage road, and the business you want to stop at
is on the northbound side of the freeway, you would have to get onto the
northbound frontage road to get to it.  It is usually a major hassle to make
the two conventional left turns at the major cross road intersection to make
this turnaround.  To make things easier, Texas (and Michigan on the
similarly designed freeways in the Detroit area) installed special turn
around lanes right before these crossroad intersections in this manner:
Google Groups: rec.pets.dogs.behavior
From:  Karen J. Cravens
Date:  Sun, Jun 17 2001 10:49 pm
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Mark Shaw) wrote in

>I have a theory that Texas is where traffic engineers spend their
>first couple of years out of school, then after they learn a bit
>about what they’re doing, they go somewhere else.

Well, sadly I can disprove that theory.  Take a Texas U-turn…well, first
lemme explain a Texas U-turn for people who haven’t seen one, or who didn’t
know what it was called when they did.

Hmm.  A web search only turns up a picture of one here:


which is kind of a poor example, since the “intersection” the U-turns are
servicing is a traffic circle.  Anyway, you sort of get the idea.  The
frontage/service roads on either side of the highway are one-way in the
same direction of traffic, and the Texas U-turn allows you to get off the
highway (normally, you have on/off ramps merging onto the frontage roads,
though not in that picture), cross the highway using the cross street’s
bridge (or underpass) without actually getting into the cross street’s
traffic, and get to a shop or restaurant or whatever on the frontage road
going the opposite direction (the other side of the street).  Nice
arrangement, puts all the commercial sites “on” the highway without having
to have parking lots emptying onto the highway direct, etc.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Tuesday, August 08, 2006 • Permalink

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