Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, May 15, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Two left-turn lanes trouble at Federal Way onto Bergeson; reason for not having full traffic signal at Broad Street and Capitol Boulevard; turn sign blocked by trees at Vista Avenue and Overland Road

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Every day that I commute home, traveling east on Federal Way, I turn left off of Federal Way onto Bergeson Street. There are two left-turn lanes. Most people will move to the right-most left-turn lane because they are staying on Bergeson and aren't taking a left turn at Gekeler down the hill. However, many people see this as an opportunity to move into the less-crowded, left-most turn lane and race down the hill past other drivers, only to suddenly switch lanes to avoid the left-turn-only at Gekeler. I have personally had several near misses. If possible, I would like to see improved signage at Federal Way/Bergeson. If a raised divider could be installed it would prevent people from making a sudden lane change at the last second.
Joe

Road Wizard:

Some last-minute merging might be expected at any lane that requires a turn, but this is a more extreme case.It can be downright painful to be behind a long line of vehicles in the staying-on-Bergeson left-turn lane on Federal Way and miss the light when the other turn lane is empty. The problem is that only about 30 percent of left-turning drivers plan to make another left turn at Gekeler.Signs on the signal mast arm at Federal Way show drivers which lane goes where; another sign is posted beyond the signal on Bergeson. The painted lane lines are clear. Some drivers choose to ignore all that, and adding signs won't likely change the behavior.Forcibly keeping drivers in the correct lanes with a concrete lane divider sounds good, but in reality has potentially serious drawbacks. If a person on a motorcycle or bicycle changed lanes without first noticing the divider, they could be severely injured. There are no reported crashes here in recent years caused by last-minute lane changing, so all things considered, the intersection is functioning as best as possible.

Dear Road Wizard: I'm curious about the intersection at Capitol Boulevard and Broad Street. It seems very odd that traffic on Capitol is stopped by a light, but traffic on Broad crossing or turning onto Capitol only has a stop sign. I feel nervous when traveling on Broad because I don't really have an idea of when the traffic on Capitol will be given a green light. Are there plans to change this intersection when the hotel in the former Dunkley Music lot is completed?
Erin

Road Wizard:

The signal on Capitol at Broad is a pedestrian signal only. A full traffic signal wasn't installed because Broad is a pedestrian-oriented street. Adding traffic signals might encourage undesirable through traffic. For those driving on Broad, the pedestrian signal has a countdown which tells drivers how much longer Capitol traffic will be stopped. Even so, driving across Capitol is challenging, which is why signs are posted that restrict drivers to turns only onto Capitol from Broad between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Dear Road Wizard: As you approach Vista Avenue heading east on Overland Road, the sign that tells you the right lane is now a right-turn-only lane is hidden by trees. Who is in charge of keeping a clear site?
Barbara

Road Wizard:

ACHD comes to the rescue when a critical sign is obstructed. A crew pruned the branches, but the property owner is ultimately responsible.

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