Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, May 12, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Chinden Boulevard/36th Street/Orchard Street has a flashing yellow arrow one way but not the other; drivers cutting through gas station area to avoid the Vista Avenue and Elder Street intersection; mistaken merge lane for Franklin Road onto southbound Eagle Road

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I love reading your column! Thanks for taking the time to respond to questions. I often turn from Chinden Boulevard onto 36th Street. There is a blinking yellow left-turn arrow for westbound Chinden traffic to turn onto Orchard Street, but the eastbound traffic turning left onto 36th is a green-arrow turn or red light. Could you please make it a blinking yellow? I have wasted a lot of time sitting there waiting for the cycle to come around to be allowed to turn.

Carol

Road Wizard:

ACHD installed a flashing yellow arrow signal on westbound Chinden to Orchard because drivers looking to turn left while yielding to oncoming traffic only have to cross two lanes of through traffic.

Eastbound left-turning traffic has to cross three lanes. That additional lane can make things extra challenging from a decision-making/gap-judgement standpoint, particularly during peak travel when that third lane is used by through or right-turning traffic. In some cases, ACHD has installed flashing yellow arrow signals where a driver has to cross three lanes, but only after careful consideration of roadway conditions.

Dear Road Wizard: I had a question about the intersection at Vista Avenue and Elder Street in Boise. During the busy morning commute, more than a few people bypass the intersection by cutting through the gas station on the southwest side. This creates dangerous situations when people are traveling north on Vista, cross the lanes southbound to get into the gas station, quickly drive through, and then weave through traffic on Elder.

Anonymous

Road Wizard:

There isn't much ACHD can do from a traffic engineering standpoint to stop this unlawful driving maneuver; blocking access to the gas station would not go over well.

Private businesses, however, have relative freedom to install devices on their property to mitigate such intrusions. But ultimately, this is a police enforcement matter. Boise Code states that it's illegal to use a private driveway, private property, or parking area to bypass an intersection.

Dear Road Wizard: ACHD added a merge lane for traffic turning right from eastbound Franklin Road onto southbound Eagle Road, a smart move due to the 55 mph speed limit for traffic coming up the hill/bench on Eagle. However, the merge lane is not dedicated to right-hand turns, so traffic backs up, and even drivers turning left from westbound Franklin slide over to the merge lane. It would be wise to truly dedicate this as a right-turn merge lane by installing barriers or, at the very least, appropriate striping. Thanks for your reply and service to the great County of Ada!

Brian

Road Wizard:

Thank you. Eagle Road may be in Ada County, but the road, also known as Idaho 55, is managed by the great State of Idaho, as in the Idaho Transportation Department.

The agency hasn't marked the lane with barriers or striping because it isn't a merge lane for Franklin drivers taking a left onto southbound Eagle. It serves as a regular travel lane.

There are now three travel lanes on Eagle south of Franklin, but only two lanes on Eagle north of Franklin. Why not make the extra lane a merge lane? The plan is to build a third through lane on Eagle north of Franklin once a certain amount of retail space is occupied at The Village at Meridian, but that isn't anticipated for a few years.

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