Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, October 16, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Drivers reported to be braking hard to avoid crashes at Meridian and Victory roads because of busy entrance; ACHD will watch drivers at enhanced pedestrian crossing at Warm Springs Avenue and Walnut Street

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: With increased traffic on Victory Road due to the development in the area, there is an increased risk at the corner of Victory and Meridian Road. Even with double yellow lines and a turn lane, many drivers cross both to turn into a service station. As one turns the corner onto Victory, one sometimes finds a vehicle stopped within 50 feet of the intersection to make an illegal turn across the lines and turn lane, thus one has to make an abrupt stop to prevent an accident. Would ACHD consider installing a barrier to prevent this?

Road Wizard:

Turning left into the parking lot from Victory Road is not illegal, even if it looks like drivers are "crossing the line(s)."

Businesses like Legacy Feed and Fuel stationed at busy corners like this one often face access challenges. This location has the added issue of limited frontage on Victory, which is why the entrance from Victory is so close to the Meridian Road intersection.

The only other entrance is on Meridian Road, but that one is right-in/right-out only, largely because Meridian Road (Idaho 69) is a busy five-lane, high-speed state highway. That limitation makes the Victory access popular because both right and left turns are allowed in and out of that driveway.

Keeping the left turns open is critical for drivers turning onto Victory from Meridian Road who want to continue east on Victory after they gas up. The Victory access is also the way southbound Meridian Road drivers get into the parking lot.

Turning left across the yellow lines and turn lane may seem wrong, but entering a driveway is really the only time that the Idaho Driver's Manual says drivers can legally cross double yellow lines.

The latest five-year accident report has no recorded crashes related to the turning maneuver. ACHD carefully observed driver behavior in March and didn't see any problems. Therefore, restricting the turn with a barrier isn't justified at this time.

Dear Road Wizard: A little girl almost got hit by a left-turning car recently as she crossed the frenetic intersection of Walnut Street and Warm Springs Avenue in Boise. On behalf of my neighborhood, I request that a traffic study be conducted there, for it seems a matter of time before these "almosts" become actuals. Please let me know if something is already in the works.

Road Wizard:

I'm glad the child didn't get hurt. Others have expressed concern about the intersection, as well. Walnut is the busiest side street off of Warm Springs because it connects drivers to Parkcenter Boulevard and to downtown.

This year ACHD installed an enhanced pedestrian crossing across Warm Springs at Walnut. There are now crossing signs that begin flashing bright yellow/amber when the walk button is activated.

The intersection was studied extensively prior to the crossing improvements. Other options included a "HAWK" pedestrian crossing, which has a red-light stop for drivers, or a full traffic signal. After addressing concerns about aesthetics along the historic Warm Springs corridor and considering the lower travel speeds, traffic numbers and relatively low pedestrian use, ACHD decided on the flashing yellow crosswalk.  
ACHD will observe driver compliance this fall. It will take patience from whoever is on duty because pedestrian usage tends to be sporadic throughout the day, partly because the crosswalk is not part of a school route.

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