This silver turns left one day at the intersection of Woodland Boulevard and New York Avenue in the middle of Downtown DeLand. PHOTO BY BARB SHEPHERD

I’m that crazy person down at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and New York Avenue, wagging my index finger, pointing at the small sign up near the traffic lights, and waving my arms to convey the message: No turns are allowed at this corner.

I’m not alone. There are many no-turns warriors. I was at this intersection on a busy Friday evening when a DeLand police officer, lights and siren, pulled over a car that had just turned. Weekend revelers, religious zealots and activist atheists joined in a moment of precious unity to cheer the cop.

My reason for writing today is to explain why. From a traffic-management perspective, it’s all about pedestrians and traffic flow. With no turns — not even right turns, thank you very much — pedestrians may use this busy intersection without undue concern about being smashed by a vehicle. With no turns, traffic doesn’t stack behind cars waiting for the right of way.

That’s enough, but it goes beyond that. This is DeLand, and this no-turns rule is a test of sorts. Many other cities may allow turns at their heart-of-the-city intersections, but we don’t.

We may have allowed you to visit here, or even to move here, but now that you’re here, you need to prove that you’re worthy of the privilege by following this rule, thereby proving that you get it: DeLand is different, and DeLand is special, and we show our devotion to these truths by not turning at the corner of New York and Woodland.

It’s like a club, and you really need to belong.

With this worthiness test, we’re measuring at least two things:

1. You care enough to read road signs. If you’re not seeing the “no turns” sign, can we really count on you to see bicyclists or other traffic signs?

2. You’re intelligent enough to figure out how to go around the block and accomplish the change in direction you’re seeking. It’s not that hard, people.

People who ace this test are the kind of people we want to add to DeLand.

But our zeal for preventing these turns goes still deeper.

At the heart of our arm-waving and finger-wagging is our determination to maintain some measure of power over the future of this place we love.

We see and feel DeLand slipping from us, and we’re not going to let it go.

People who don’t get it may rip down the Hotel Putnam and allow it to be done without a fight. They may take our Stover Theatre and our Hulley Tower, and replace our Victorian homes with crackerboxes, but they’re not taking down that no-turns sign.

Developers and the elected officials who enable them may rape our woods, cause our taxes to rise as local governments struggle to keep up, overfill our state parks, threaten our water resources and jampack our roads with traffic, but, by golly, they will not turn at this corner.

This is DeLand, and you will not turn it into Anytown, USA.

We won’t allow it, and we practice our protests, every time we see you with your signal on.

— Shepherd is publisher of The Beacon.


    • Yeaahhhhhhh but, I don’t want additional signs cluttering my downtown. Like Barb was saying, it’s a test of perception and commitment to the town. I get that more signs would make it more visible but catering to the those less observant vs enforcing a core common sense of our community doesn’t satisfy me, or the point of the article I think.

  1. I have to say, one has not lived until one makes a turn on New York from Woodland. It is liberating, it is exciting.
    However, the signs should be at street level facing each driver in each direction on each light pole. If your attention is up at the sky to see the signs now as placed, no way can you see cyclists or pedestrians.

    • You mean up by the traffic signals? Where you should at least look when approaching the intersection?

  2. Oh for God’s sake! What will it take—some child under the wheels of a F-150 to catch the attention of those who can’t see the painted arrows on the pavement or the No Turns hanging from the Stop Light? Having nearly been struck down on my cane by a turning pick-up, Yes! I have written my share of letters on this subject to both the Mayor and DOT (Department of Transportation) which—if you were unaware—has responsibility for this corner because it is a crossroad of two state highways—44 and 17. When they erected a sign that says, “$275 Fine for turning,” and enforce it for a week, the problem will be solved. You think?

  3. Amen!!! I completely agree and am the one honking at the drivers with their turn signals on! Not in our town!

  4. The problem being that if you are foolish enough to point or honk you could get shot. It’s a free carry World now…..frightening.

    • If you think this is how law abiding conceal weapons carriers act at someone pointing or honking, you’re delusional. The only people who react that way are criminals. No law will change how they act, but open carry levels the playing field to allow the law abiders to protect themselves and others when the criminals act a fool.

  5. Not only should people read and follow the directions on the signs but they should be ticketed for not using their turn signals when turning or merging in front of you AND for not having lights on when it’s dark and/or raining out. Common sense can save lives …

  6. It’s My Birthday, And All I Want to Say is Above All,Be Safe Out There Follow The Rules,Once You Follow The Rules, It’s Like Riding a Bike.its Automatic For Me I Turn On Alternate Streets Without Thinking About It.Second Nature Now. I’ve Lived in Neighboring Lake Helen 17 Yrs and Visit Deland Almost as Much as I Am in Beautiful Lake Helen… Love Love Love Deland. Thank You Barb.For Sharing 🙏🌹😉

  7. Fdot should stripe the corners to square them off versus just having rounded curbs like any city USA. This would help traffic to be directed straight forward.

  8. Absolutely, Barb! They really need more signage, but part of having a FL DL is reading signs and following the law. We do have much bigger issues to address, but for DeLandites this is an issue.

  9. Everyone here saying “more signage.” 🙄 It’s by the traffic light you should ALWAYS be looking at when you’re there. If you’re not doing that one little thing, YOU are the scary driver who needs to be off the streets.

  10. Instead of finger-wagging at violators while admonishing their driving skills – which accomplishes nothing – we should face reality. I’m betting that the majority of the people who turn are from somewhere else. They are likely rubber-necking while enjoying our nifty little downtown and the miss the “no turns” message. We need to get practical and install an illuminated sign that you can’t miss. Several times my life has been threatened by turning cars at this intersection while using the crosswalk. We need to take action while welcoming new visitors to our awesome downtown.

  11. I agree with the no turns however, “we allow” people to visit/move here? Ummm…. That is simply not true. If you have the money (which is overpriced if you ask me) anyone can live in or visit DeLand. It has nothing to do with “our/your/anyone’s say-so”. It’s that simple.


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