The Road Warrior tries a questionable turn in Silverdale

The in basket: Eric Blair said in an e-mail this week, “Now that the lights are installed and working at Ridgetop and 303 (in Silverdale), nothing has changed regarding folks wanting to get over to turn left onto Sid Uhinck Drive. Cars still stop in the right lane and wait for traffic to clear so they can jump over to the left-turn lane. The only difference is there is now a guaranteed break in traffic when the light turns green for those turning left from the exit ramp.

“This was a terribly designed intersection,” Eric said. “Either the light needed to control all directions, left, right and straight coming from the off ramp, or there needed to be a barrier installed to prevent this unsafe maneuver.”

He and Rob Davy objected in a March Road Warrior column to the traffic disruption created by drivers who turn right at the end of that southbound Highway 303 off-ramp to Ridgetop Boulevard then quickly move over two lanes to get into the left turn pocket to reach Sid Uhinck Drive.

At best it can be a chancy double lane change and at worst they have to stop in the outside lane to wait for a break in inside lane traffic, which is illegal and annoys drivers behind them. Besides, Rob argued, changing lanes requires signaling a minimum of 100 feet, 200 feet for a double lane change, and there aren’t 200 feet between the ramp and the left turn pocket.

Both men asked for a row of pylons to keep cars in the outside lane from moving over until past Sid Uhinck, as Eric did again in this week’s e-mail.

Rob also suggested allowing right turns from the other lane on the ramp, the one controlled by the new signal and designed for left turns and straight ahead movement. Anyone turning right there would have only one lane change to get to Sid Uhinck.

The state and county didn’t make that change, but I sat on the off-ramp for a while this week, contemplating making the very right turn Rob suggested, at the light.

A traffic island guiding left turn traffic makes it a bit of an awkward turn for a large vehicle, but there are no signs there forbidding a right turn. When I got up my nerve to try it, while the light was green, I made the turn effortlessly in my 2013 Malibu.

What’s to prevent a driver wanting to go from the off-ramp to Sid Uhinck from turning at the light like I did, I asked State Trooper Russ Winger and Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson.

The out basket: There are no signs prohibiting a right turn there, said Russ, but there are pavement markings that do. Pavement arrows are as restrictive as signs, he said. I had made an illegal turn.

“As the intersection is currently configured, a right turn from the left lane is prohibited,” he said. “There are large white arrows within the lane that indicate left turn or straight through movement to access the on-ramp to SR303. The straight through arrow is fading but it is still in place.

“An additional sign prohibiting a right turn from that lane might help clarify that but it is not required.”

Scott agreed. “If turning right from the inside (left) lane were permitted,” he said, “along with the free right turn already in place from the right lane, it is a set-up for confusion by drivers and collisions would be highly likely.

“If this idea were authorized, then (in my opinion) the county would need to install a lane barrier to prevent drivers who have just completed the free right turn from changing lanes to the left (inside lane) until the outside (channelization) lane is west of the intersection with NW Sid Uhinck Drive.

“When I say confusion… there will always be those who won’t understand or comprehend the signage and believe that they also have a free right turn, even from the left lane, leading to an increase in vehicle collisions.

“I think that it’s best to leave it as the traffic engineers designed (it),” Scott said.

The Road Warrior wonders if ending those double lane changes might not offset the collision hazards inherent in the added right turn opportunity, but barring someone with clout getting behind this idea, I guess we won’t find out.

7 thoughts on “The Road Warrior tries a questionable turn in Silverdale

  1. So if I read this passage right and I did it twice then the whole intersection when it comes to turning onto Sid Uhinck Drive is illegal. If you make the free right turn at the intersection, it is illegal to jump over the 2 left lanes, one because of the “BIG” white line and the fact a driver has to travel 200 feet to make the safe lane change and now it is a painted arrow that makes it illegal to make a right hand turn at the light. By goodness I would say that the engineers who designed this whole intersection need to get their money back from the school that gave them a engineers degree. Because legally they have completely screwed anyone who wants to makes a turn onto Sid Uhinck Drive. Now while I dont ever expect to see or hear of any driver ever getting a ticket for making the illegal left turn onto
    Sid Uhinck Drive from the free right turn lane, in the end someone will eventually get hurt or killed in an accident that is caused by the confusion of that intersection.

    Now when the last story came out and it was stated that making that turn was illegal I stopped going that direction to get home. It only takes me about 2-3 extra minutes to get home driving to Central Valley road and that is fine. Because to be honest when I would have to drive to Ridgetop junior high twice a day during school and then going through that intersection to legally make that left turn, well it was like driving through a gauntlet sometimes. Cars whipping across both lanes to make the same turn was really scary. Countless days of either almost getting side swiped or running into someone who just jumped in front of me. And also there are was the days where things were sketchy getting off the 303 onto ridgetop and cars all of a sudden stopping to make the free right turn because they are waiting for traffic to clear so they can continue the right turn or jump 2 left lanes. Either way I just chose a different route.

    Now I do support some sort of barrier that would prevent the jumping of the 2 lanes because ultimately in the end there is going to be a bad accident there even though I dont drive that way but I would hate to read a story about an bad accident there. People will complain about having to find a different route but they will get over it.

  2. It should be noted that the double lane change to get to Sid Uhinck Drive was just as illegal before the traffic light was installed. The distance from the ramp to the left turn pocket hasn’t changed. nor have the pavement markings governing what’s legal from the inside lane.
    And, once again, it’s not illegal to cross a single white line to reach another legal driving lane, if you signal and no signs say otherwise
    Road Warrior

  3. It does seem to be better when making the free right turn since the signal went in, as drivers finally start to get the message that they don’t have to stop. But still lots of drivers hesitate and try to jump to the left lane right away after making the right turn, even if they are going all the way down to Myhre. It’s safer to just stay in the right lane and keep moving, then past Sid Uhink merge left before the right lane becomes right turn only.

  4. Good point Travis, It was illegal to jump across the 2 lanes then and it is still illegal now. But yet it is still allowed. And like I have stated before it is going to take a bad accident to occur there in order for the county or state to say hey we should do something here, before another accident happens. Plus to add on the fact that cars still do stop at that corner to wait for traffic to clear so they can jump across and it can create a traffic backup on the ramp which alot of people are probably used to since drivers have always stopped at that corner when a driver was never supposed to stop there in the first place, even before the light. Plus it can also create rage in the drivers having to wait for the stopped driver. And that in itself is a cause for alot of road rage accidents.
    I just still believe that when the engineers designed that intersection that did not take into account the access to Sid Uhinck Drive, cause if they did I dont think that there would be stories like the ones you put out. I am also wondering if the engineers office ever get calls about that intersection…

  5. This intersection is much worse than where Costco/PetSmart exits onto Myhre Rd, yet the county has put up a barrier to keep folks turning left out of the parking lot, and also preventing drivers from using a legally marked turn lane to turn left into the parking lot from Myhre.

    It’s time the county or state, whoever has the authority, put a barrier on Ridgetop to stop folks from stopping in the right lane so they can jump over to turn left on Sid Uhinck.

  6. Eliminate left turn on Uhinck by extending double yellow paint.
    This would not prevent emergency vehicles (or scofflaws) from turning left.
    There are four access streets to this residential area from Bucklin.

  7. Eric Blair, you make an excellent point. I would like to see those curb-like barriers similar to what is in front of Jack in the box. But even the cheaper candlestick looking markers would also work, but those would only be temporary since those idiots who think the need to jack up their trucks can just drive right over top of those. But those curb barriers sure can do a number on ones front end if they are hit hard enough. Not really hoping that someone damages their car, but drivers would think twice about hitting those barriers after the first time they come in contact with them…

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