Monday, September 22, 2008

Right on Red to US1: Suicide or Manslaughter?

Here's an easy fix that may help cyclists and motorists as well, a "two-fer".

SW 16th Avenue's intersection with US-1 is a "T"-type. There is no continuation of 16th Ave east of the Highway. The roadways are signalized but the crossing is not.

There is a sign hanging above the roadway facing 16th Ave which reads: "Right Turn On Red From Right Lane Only". And yes, there is second southbound lane on 16th Avenue so in order for a motor vehicle to turn right on red a driver in the right lane would have to :
  • nose his vehicle out far enough to see around the vehicle next to him in the other lane
  • to gain the required visibility to the high speed traffic coming south on US-1 he/she would by necessity have to cross the stop line and completely block the striped crossing
  • because of the continuous southbound US-1 traffic during most of the day the entering driver could not afford to take his/her eyes off of the line of traffic and would therefore NEVER see a bicyclist or pedestrian approaching from the south on the M-Path

So by permitting this turn the vehicle driver is forced to break the law in order to even make an attempt to enter the traffic flow without signalized assistance. Look, what's the chance of making a safe merge onto a busy US-1 anyway? Why not use some common sense and replace the sign with one that says: "No Right On Red"?

There are other intersections with permitted right-on-red turns to Southbound US-1 along the M-Path. Who needs them? They are inconsistent and dangerous to drivers and M-Path users alike. I urge the County, City (who does have the authority?) to prohibit these turns all along the Path, BUT LET'S START AT SW 16th AVENUE!

Appreciative nod to the grass cutting crew working along the Path in the Gables this morning. They courteously parked their truck off of the pavement.


Martin said...

I certainly agree with you Hank, but who's going to enforce it? It's already illegal for people to block the crosswalk.

Hank said...

Follow up on 12/29. This morning, approaching this intersection from the south, I noticed an older driver edged out onto the crossing and straining mightily to find an opening to turn south into the speeding southbound traffic. I stopped at the M-Path crossing, but so intent was she in looking north that it took 3 loud calls to get her attention. Only then did she look to the south to see me. Imagine the possible outcome of not stopping before attempting to cross in front of her! This hazzard could be easily avoided by posting and enforcing "no right on red" instructions for drivers. Why not?