Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, April 8, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

"Yield for Bicyclist" sign requested at Capitol Boulevard and Myrtle Street; a huge roundabout was considered for the State Street/Veterans Memorial Parkway/36th Street intersection.

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I have noticed a dangerous pattern at the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and Myrtle Street in Boise. Drivers turning right onto Myrtle from Capitol infrequently check the bike lane to see if any bicyclists are approaching. As someone who uses this bike lane daily, I narrowly miss getting hit by cars very often. Despite the "No Turn on Red" sign, drivers are watching to their left for oncoming traffic, waiting for their turn to go. This means they are not looking to their right or checking their blind spot. Would it be possible to put up a "Yield for Bicyclists" sign or some reminder for drivers to check their blind spot? It does seem like a dangerous enough situation that something should be done about it.

Dylan

Road Wizard:

There is already a bike lane, bike lane signs, and painted bike lane symbols on Capitol, then there is a "bike box" at Myrtle and even an enhanced sign declaring the no-right-turn-on-red restriction.

The green bike box provides space in front of motor vehicles for bicyclists to stop and wait at red lights as they travel through the intersection. This helps reduce the conflict between right-turning motorists and bicyclists traveling straight. The bike lane approaching the bike box is also enhanced with green pavement markings.

There has been one reported bicycle-involved crash at Capitol and Myrtle in the last five years. It had to do with bad bike brakes, not a driver's lack of yielding to bicyclists.

Adding a "Yield for Bicyclists" sign is not planned as there are already other indications of the law. When a motor vehicle and a bicyclist are traveling in the same direction, a motorist overtaking a bicyclist on the right side of the road shall not turn right in front of the bicyclist if the bicyclist has to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

It is also important to remember that installing signs without proper justification contributes to sign clutter and reduces a driver's respect for more critical traffic regulation signs. There already seems to be people ignoring existing signs at Capitol and Myrtle; ACHD has observed that only about half of drivers obey the right-on-red restriction and stop before they enter the bike box.

Where there is a large percentage of right-turning traffic, such as on Capitol at Myrtle, a bicyclist traveling straight may be best off leaving the bike lane early to enter the through-traffic motor vehicle lane, if possible. This makes the bicyclist more visible to right-turning drivers, which is also the goal of the current signs and markings at the intersection.

Dear Road Wizard: I think I understand the general idea of how the "ThrU-turn" at the State Street/Veterans Memorial Parkway/36th Street intersection reconstruction will work, but it seems unnecessarily cumbersome and complicated. Why wouldn't a big, multi-lane roundabout in that intersection have worked?

Walt

Road Wizard:

A three-lane roundabout was considered early in the planning process. However, it was removed from further consideration due to the heavy, unbalanced approach of traffic at the intersection.

The majority of drivers are coming from eastbound or westbound State, or are making left turns from Veterans to State. Going with the ThrU-turn signalized intersection, along with adding enhanced pedestrian crossings, will move all intersection users with greater safety and efficiency.

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