State budges slightly on yellow flashing lefts

The in basket: Probably the most common inquiry/request I get is for installation of flashing yellow left turn arrows at intersections where they don’t now exist. For the most part, those requests involve traffic signals on state highways, including Kitsap Way (SR306) Waaga Way (SR303) and SR305 through Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island.

I have to tell those who make the request that the position of the Olympic Region signal shop, which I have assumed is the position of the region’s administration and probably the entire state Department of Transportation, is that an intersection must have a substantial upgrade in its physical alignment before they would consider reducing the amount of control there. I have gotten that from those in the signal shop.

I decided to quit assuming and asked Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokesman for the Olympic Region, what the state’s official position is on adding the yellow flashing lefts, which allow turners to proceed during red lights on the accompanying straight-through movements, provided the turner yields to any oncoming traffic or that otherwise has the right of way.

Kitsap County took the lead in introducing and using the flashing lefts, though not without problems. It has now been adding signs on the crossbars emphasizing that turners on the yellow flashing lights must yield.

The out basket: Claudia says there is some movement in the direction of using the flashing yellows on state highways, but not here yet.

“WSDOT has installed a few flashing yellow arrows at intersections on state highways in our Northwest Region (which covers King, Snohomish, Whatcom, Island and Skagit counties),” she said. “WSDOT is considering possible installations at other areas around the state.”

3 thoughts on “State budges slightly on yellow flashing lefts

  1. I like the flashing yellow arrows on Mhyre and Bucklin Hill roads in Silverdale. There are times when traffic is just too heavy to be able to take advantage but when it is not they allow more cars to get through in a light cycle.

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