The in basket: As I drove down 11th Street eastbound toward Warren Avenue the other day, I noticed a boxed area created by yellow stripes across Warren, westbound, where a left turn pocket would be. Left turns have been prohibited there for as long as I can remember.
I wondered if they will be allowed when the new widened intersection is fully opened.
As my wife and I sat at the eastbound red light, we discussed the four signal heads controlling the three lanes, two lanes for for left turns and the other two for straight ahead movements in the one lane dedicated to that, historically.
I recently wrote in this column that the extra signal head complies with federal regulations that the main movement at a signalized intersection have two signals for redundancy if one burns out or is blocked by a large vehicle.
But when the lights turned green that day, one of the two in the center showed an arrow to the left and the other an arrow pointing straight ahead. It seemed like a likely source of confusion for a newcomer to the intersection as to what is permitted from the inner left turn lane.
The out basket: First, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city traffic engineers, no left turn is being created on westbound 11th to go south on Warren.
The striped box “was just an attempt to outline the hatched area that was here
The only change in permitted movement at the completed intersection will be that only the outside southbound lane on Warren will allow right turns. Previously, both outside southbound lanes allowed right turns, though I hardly ever saw anyone use the innermost of those lanes for a right turn.
Gunnar said I am not the first to ask about possible confusion about the four signal heads, and even sent along an inquiry about it from Bruce Hall, originally sent to his city councilman, Greg Wheeler.
Gunnar’s answer is as I had described, “The federal guidance we are required to follow for designing a signal
system has the through lane (single eastbound traffic on 11th Street)
with two sets of lights, and a single set of lights for the two turn
lanes. So there are four sets of lights for the three lanes.”
It’s a puzzling issue to arise now, Gunnar said, since the same four-signal display for three lanes was there before the intersection was redone, but hanging from wires instead of the new metal poles and cross arms.