February 25


There is an article in today’s Star &
Tribune (Minnesota’s largest newspaper) about a traffic signal in my fair
city.  The signal at Excelsior Boulevard and 38th Street has a “Right Turn on Green Arrow Only” sign on it for
the northeast bound exclusive right turn lane.  To discourage people from using this
as a cut through route, the city times the signal so the
green right turn arrow won’t come up in the evenings.  It forces motorists
to either make an illegal right turn or pull back onto the mainline (which could get you a ticket for careless driving) and turn at
a different intersection.  This strikes me as bad design on several levels – discouraging the use of a public street, violating motorist expectation,
forcing people to merge back onto a mainline, etc. 

  • This may be a solution that works for drivers that are familiar with the intersection but for drivers that are unfamiliar with the policy, it seems dangerous. I am not sure what the speeds along Excelsior are, but forcing drivers to merge into traffic does not sound like good judgement.

  • This is poor engineering bending to political whim. Regardless of how much political pressure we receive as traffic engineers, this is one of those instances where you need to say “NO” and live with the consequences. The traffic engineer that has permitted this operation has opened himself/herself to a lawsuit should an accident occur as someone attempts to get back into the thru lane.

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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