Sunday, March 05, 2017
Reader searches for reason behind sudden stop signs on Camelot Drive and Allumbaugh Street in Boise; do road agencies automatically close right-turn lanes before an intersection when the lane disappears on the other side?
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Dear Road Wizard: New stop signs have emerged in my neighborhood. The first location is on Camelot Drive where it intersects with Freemont Street. Freemont dead-ends at Camelot and there has long been a stop sign for traffic on Freemont, giving the right-of-way to traffic moving north/south on Camelot, which makes perfect sense. Now there are stop signs for north/south traffic on Camelot. This makes no sense whatsoever, given the traffic pattern I have observed over the past 12 years. The volume of traffic just doesn't seem to justify the added stops, and from what I have observed the right-turning traffic simply ignores it anyway. Why an all-way stop at this intersection? The same situation exists at Allumbaugh Street and Irving Lane.
These stop signs seem to have appeared out of nowhere, like those pop-up retail stores that come and go. The signs are providing their own type of temporary service.
Residential neighborhood streets near Fairview Avenue and Cole Road may be experiencing extra traffic because the intersection is being rebuilt and widened, and the south leg of the intersection is closed. As a result, motorists may be using Camelot and Allumbaugh as cut-through routes.
ACHD placed the temporary stop signs at the Camelot and Allumbaugh locations to make them less desirable options for non-neighborhood motorists who should be using designated detours. The signs also promote the careful use of the two intersections by residents who may not anticipate the traffic increase.
The south portion of Cole and Fairview will re-open on March 12, although the stop signs are expected to remain until they are no longer needed. The north leg of the intersection will be the next to close.
Dear Road Wizard: I (and a ton of downtown drivers) very much appreciate the removal of the before-the-intersection lane closure on Front Street at Capitol Boulevard. However, I have also seen this kind of thing at a couple of other downtown locations. It really seems like this is a de facto procedure for both the Idaho Transportation Department and ACHD, but when the lane in question is a turn lane it really should never happen like this. Again, thanks for addressing this on Front!
As we saw on Front, removing the portion of the right-most lane closure east of the Capitol intersection improved traffic flow. Right-turning drivers no longer have to merge with through traffic in the next lane over in their effort to make that turn around the right-turn lane closure. The lane restriction west of the intersection is still in place for construction work at the Grove Plaza.
While the advanced lane closure may not have been worth it in this case, there are often good reasons for taking advantage of a turn lane, especially when the amount of turning traffic is relatively low.
For example, the right-most lane of Capitol north of Myrtle Street is closed for hotel construction, and the closure begins on the south side of the intersection. The lane restriction is between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the right-turn-lane closure protects workers while they place and remove equipment on the south side of the intersection in order to open and close the lane. Utilizing the right-turn lane also makes the closure less confusing and abrupt.