Tag Archives: New Jersey Turnpike

A toll road connecting the Delaware Memorial Bridge to the George Washington Bridge in the Garden State. Opened in the 1950s, it is a major part of the Northeast Corridor as well an elaborate disinformation campaign to keep people from seeing how great NJ is.

REDUCE SPEED: These neon signs used to be all over the New Jersey Turnpike. Photo by Ian Ligget.

REDUCE SPEED: Vintage neon NJ Turnpike sign for sale on ebay

Can somebody please buy, ship and store this outstanding New Jersey Turnpike neon sign for me? It’s only $2,000! You can drop it off with me when I get a house. A really big one, apparently.

In 2013, I mentioned the coming end of NJ Turnpike exceptionalism when it comes to signs. The Turnpike Authority has begun modernizing (note: I did not say “upgrade”) highway signs to comply with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Though not necessarily directly related, the neon “REDUCE SPEED” signs that have been on the Turnpike since time immemorial are being removed in favor of modern LED signs.

I have been wondering what will happen to all of these classic neon signs. I hope that some are saved for museums. Maybe I’ll tweet at them to buy this one, though on second thought the Turnpike ought to donate one. There probably ought to be one or two at a service plaza on the Turnpike itself.

The sign itself probably weighs at least a ton and it has to be picked up. This isn’t a really good time for me to do that logistically or financially. So, a little help?

Failing the acquisition of this neon sign, I’d be okay with a Turnpike trailblazer. A Garden State Parkway, Capital Beltway and even a Pennsylvania Turnpike sign while you are at it.

Photos © Ian Ligget

h/t Steve Anderson

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The decline of NJ Turnpike exceptionalism

Generally speaking, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has its own way of doing things. Much of “Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike” covers that subject. In short, historically the Turnpike has answered only to God (if even that) and even He would have to pay the toll.

DSC_0795
© I.C. Ligget

Perhaps the most benign examples example of that is the Turnpike’s highway signs. At least in my life time, the Turnpike has avoided the typical signing convention of having an EXIT tab, The mileage to the exit is at the top of the sign, instead of the bottom too.

It is a minor quirk, possibly not even noticed by most motorists. Now, that quirk is finally being phased out and via Northeast Roads Facebook group, Lou Corsaro has a photograph to show it:

NJ_turnpike_exit_13_mutcd
© Lou Corsaro

Of greater disappointment than the introduction of exit tabs is the sunseting of the neon advisory signs.

IMG_1156
© I.C. Ligget

I believe these have been in use for most of the Turnpike’s lifetime, but they are going away. I hope several are saved for posterity.

Lastly, the Turnpike is starting to use control cities, but really, Wilmington? Baltimore and/or Washington would be better for the long-haul travelers.

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