Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, August 28, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Very short left turn from westbound Fairview Avenue onto southbound Eagle Road near The Village in Meridian; additional stop signs at Deep Canyon Drive, Deep Canyon Drive and High County Way in Star are not justified

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I'm not sure if it's ACHD or the Idaho Transportation Department that is in charge of signal timing on Eagle Road, but I have noticed that when turning left from westbound Fairview Avenue onto southbound Eagle, the left-turn light is very short, especially for such a major intersection. On Sunday afternoon I had to wait three full signal cycles, and there wasn't even a huge amount of traffic. It took at least five minutes. I know Eagle is a very busy highway so some sacrifices must be made, but that turn signal in particular is very bad, with all the traffic leaving The Village at Meridian, Walmart, etc. I hope something can be done to remedy this, as there isn't really a way for me to avoid that signal.

Road Wizard:

Eagle Road/Idaho 55 has a coordinated traffic signal system that gets top priority all of the time. To keep highway traffic moving, Fairview has to be considered a mere side street, despite this being the busiest intersection in Ada County. And unfortunately, side street left turns at coordinated crossings often get the lowest priority out of necessity.

Eagle traffic demands aren't the only reasons why the left-turn light from westbound Fairview onto Eagle is shorter than what feels appropriate. Pedestrians must navigate the far-reaching crosswalks and need time in the signal cycle to do it safely.

This all results in relatively short green lights for left turns from Fairview to Eagle, as well as from Eagle to Fairview.

One thing that might help the so-short westbound Fairview left turn is changing the order of the green lights. Previously, the westbound Fairview left turn got a green light before eastbound through traffic on Fairview. Doing the opposite may create some additional left-turn time when there aren't pedestrians, and traffic is lighter, such as on Sundays.

We have the opportunity to see if this strategy will work. ACHD, which operates all of the signals in Ada County, has already changed the sequence.

Dear Road Wizard: What does it take to get a stop sign from ACHD? We have been working fruitlessly for years to add a three-way stop to the blind intersection of Deep Canyon Drive, Deep Canyon Drive, and High Country Way in Star. Approaching the intersection uphill from two of the three directions is quite dangerous and adding a stop sign would create a safe place to travel east through the neighborhood, drop kids off buses, provide direction to drivers who need to stay on Deep Canyon, and slow speeders. I don't understand why intersections with completely clear visibility receive stop signs when this blind one does not.

Road Wizard:

This type of citizen effort is admirable and appreciated, but it may be time to give up the cause.

This is a rural residential area, with large lots and no reported crashes. A driver's view of oncoming traffic really does meet sight distance standards, and there is already a stop sign at one of the Deep Canyon approaches.

ACHD did previously relocate the stop sign to improve the sight distance, and added a sign on High Country that warns of an upcoming intersection in response to Kristine's concerns.

The amount of traffic at an intersection is a big factor when considering stop signs or a three-way stop; this particular area enjoys very low traffic volumes.

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