Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, November 27, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Left-turn signal from Cloverdale Road southbound to eastbound on Fairview Avenue gets more green; reader wants ACHD to reconsider decision against putting in a left-turn lane on Fort Street at 8th Street

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I wanted to write and see if something could be done about the left-turn signal from Cloverdale Road southbound turning east onto Fairview Avenue. During the morning commute, that turn signal only stays green for roughly 10 seconds, which is only enough time for four to five cars to go through. There are still plenty of cars waiting to turn.

Road Wizard:

I must first point out that there are two left-turn lanes from Cloverdale onto Fairview, so 10 vehi-cles have been able to make the light. But the green light length still felt short.

The signal favors Fairview through traffic as the main travel corridor. There wasn't extra green time in the signal cycle to be found there to redistribute to Cloverdale left turns.

However, there was available time in the part of the cycle serving northbound Cloverdale through traffic. The signal was staying green after motorists were clear of the intersection to coincide with the time needed for pedestrians to cross Cloverdale.

ACHD staff observed that the crosswalk is mostly vacant in the morning, and realized that the unneeded green time for pedestrians could be put to better use.

Now, northbound Cloverdale through traffic gets a green light before the left-turn lanes on southbound Cloverdale. If the crosswalk signal isn't activated, the northbound traffic signal will turn red immediately after vehicles are served. The Cloverdale left turns can then get an "early" green light, which is time added to the existing programmed green time.

Dear Road Wizard: I believe that with the changes coming to St. Luke's Boise Medical Center, including the planned roundabouts on Fort Street, there will be more traffic using Fort to get to the North End, which will put more cars at the intersection with 8th Street. A single car turning left from Fort to 8th will stop all through traffic on Fort. I'm hoping ACHD will reconsider its decision not to put a left-turn lane on eastbound Fort at 8th. Earlier you said it was because it would require removing parking that parents use to drop off kids at school. The decision was made to favor parents while the rest of the driving public has to put up with that inconvenience. A good solution would be to put in a turn lane for half the block and leave some parking.

Road Wizard:

While hospital expansion is coming and area street changes are in the works, current traffic conditions haven't changed enough to justify a left-turn lane.

For one thing, the space needed for the lane would require that nearly all parking from the south side of Fort between 8th and 9th be removed.

Parents would have to park further from St. Joseph's Catholic School. That could negatively impact all drivers by changing traffic patterns. It would also increase walking distances for students and expose them to more vehicle traffic.

Plus, a left-turn lane would only be really effective if the turn had a dedicated left-turn arrow. Doing that would pull green light time from westbound Fort traffic, and increase delays for those motorists.

Most of the delays on westbound Fort only last for about half an hour at school release times and again for the same duration during the evening commute. So far, the relatively short periods of congestion don't justify a parking space tradeoff.

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