Right turners blocked at Forest Rock Lane


The in basket: Patty Tompkins was the latest, back in March, to complain about the alignment of Forest Rock Lane where in intersects Highway 305 in Poulsbo. 

She estimated that 95 percent of the traffic on Forest Rock turns right to go north on 305, but the outside lane is marked for both right turns and those wanting to go straight. When the rare driver who wants to go straight is there, it blocks all those right turners until the light turns green. They otherwise could have been on their way after making a right turn on red. 

The inside lane is reserved for left turns. 

She and others before her who also have noticed this suggest dedicating the inner lane to left turns and straight through traffic, leaving the outside lane for right turners. 

The out basket: When I drove this intersection several times late one afternoon, I found that Patty’s estimate of the percentage of right turners, at least among those in the outside lane, might even be conservative. I never saw a car pull up in the outside lane wanting to go straight. 

So I did it myself, and was able to pull far enough forward that right turners still could get past me and make their turn. But two cars wanting to go straight would block the lane.

Patty told me a lot of drivers don’t have that much consideration and others are in vehicles that take up more room than my Mazda 3.

Jim Johnstone of the state signal shop that handles all the signals on Highway 305 said in March they were considering restriping the intersection to create three lanes, one each for left, straight-ahead and right turn traffic. They found enough width for that, but “we can not achieve the necessary turning radius to accommodate a semi-truck turning into Forest Rock Lane,” he said. “So option one is out.”

They’ve decided to make the signal a “split phase” light, in which side street traffic on Forest Rock and that on Seventh Avenue across the highway will get green lights at different times. The outside lane will be for right turns and the inside lane for straight-ahead and left turn traffic. It’s similar to what drivers see at Liberty Road just south of there, he said.

“This option adds additional delay to the overall intersection operation,” he said, but does get other traffic out of the way of right turners.

“This revision will be subject to fitting it into our schedule, which could take several months,” he added. .

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