Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, May 22, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Request for a flashing yellow, left-turn arrow at Franklin Road and Main Street in Meridian; reader questions Road Wizard about "dangerous" turning conditions leaving the downtown library in Boise

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Can ACHD install a flashing yellow left-turn arrow signal on eastbound Franklin Road at Main Street in Meridian? Right now the queue in the left-turn lane can build up even though there are ample gaps in westbound traffic on Franklin to make a left turn safely. The left-turn lane can only accommodate three or four vehicles and backs up into a through lane, leading to a lot of swerving and last-second lane changing.
Garrick

Road Wizard:

Drivers making that left turn cross in front of three lanes of oncoming through traffic. There was a time when that fact alone would have prevented the installation of a flashing yellow arrow. More lanes can mean more turning risk.

However, the Franklin and Main intersection has a good layout with lower speeds, and ACHD has recently decided the signal could be used safely there. My bet is on a summertime installation.

Dear Road Wizard: After the comments about River and 9th streets, I wrote it off to ignorance. After last week's description of my "dangerous" comment, I have to downgrade that to stupidity. Obviously you didn't take the time to go there and actually observe the situation. Like most pundits you must have been relying on some report you were reading. The foot, bike and auto traffic can be very intense. Go to the Boise Library! parking lot at 5 p.m. on a Friday and try to get out of the main entrance, and then tell me it's just "frustrating." It would be interesting to see if you can tell your reading public how much time you spent in that area observing before you responded to my email. Come on Road Wizard, I think we would all love to hear about your due diligence.
Doug

Road Wizard:

I have to admit, this letter stung a bit. But I still wanted to share Doug's thoughts.

Doug first wrote about his interest in a green arrow left-turn signal for eastbound River at 9th. This is a challenging turn during peak travel times because there are so few breaks in oncoming traffic. Even so, to preserve big-picture traffic flow, the yellow arrow signal is the only reasonable accommodation for those drivers, and backups can extend toward the library parking lot.

As far as exiting the library onto River, my original answer was based partly on my own personal experience. I go there periodically and actually have an overdue library book.

Initially, Doug didn't give a specific time when he reported the difficulty with exiting the library. Since he provided additional information, I knew to observe traffic at 5 p.m. on a Friday.

I'm glad that I didn't base my answer solely on that visit. There was hardly any traffic on River, few people leaving the library, and only a handful of bicyclists and pedestrians. I watched, drove around and wondered what all the fuss was about.

That wasn't the best example of the often frustrating congestion. That's why it's important to add things such as crash records and the insight of ACHD traffic experts to my own observations when I respond to questions.

I stand by my original response. Exiting the library onto River isn't considered a danger that warrants immediate safety or traffic signal changes. There are also two other ways to leave the parking lot for those looking for alternatives.

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