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STREET SMART

Irvine Says It Will Do the Right Thing on Main Street Roadwork

August 01, 1994|CAROLINE LEMKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

Back before Irvine decided it needed a few palm trees down the middle of Main Street, there was a right-turn lane (or at least a shoulder wide enough to serve as one) from eastbound Main onto southbound MacArthur Boulevard. This was great for people trying to get to the freeway.

Now, though, there's a right-turn arrow, and there is no turn lane. If the driver in front plans to go through, the rest of us who want to turn right have to wait.

Since there are three lanes (plus a left-turn lane), couldn't the right one be designated a right-turn-only lane? Is this the plan once all the other construction is finished?

Also, as Main heads west under the Costa Mesa Freeway overpass, the right lane sort of disappears without much advance warning. This should be marked better.

Al Christensen

Irvine

When construction is completed in mid-August, eastbound Main Street at MacArthur Boulevard will have one left-turn lane, three through lanes and one right-turn lane, said Barry Greenstein, senior transportation engineer for Irvine. It is less certain when road striping will be painted and more signs erected to alert motorists to the "disappearing" right lane on westbound Main, he said.

Contractors doing the roadwork were supposed to add striping and signs warning of the lane drop, but have yet to do it, Greenstein said. The work should be done before the construction project is finished, he said.

Dear Street Smart:

In Anaheim at the Riverside Freeway westbound off-ramp at Euclid Street, one lane must turn left only and the other lane turn right only. There is much more left-bound traffic than right-bound, and, with the short green light, it usually takes two or three light cycles to make a left turn.

I suggest they allow left turns from both lanes, as is done in the same situation at Harbor Boulevard. All that would be required would be a new turn direction sign.

Richard L. Parker

Orange

There appears to be more traffic waiting to turn left because the right-lane traffic can empty faster than the left by turning right on the red light, said Rose Orem, a spokeswoman for Caltrans. If both left and right turns were allowed from the right lane, just one driver wanting to turn left from the right lane could stop the flow of traffic.

This blockage in turn would create a long line for the right lane, Orem said. That potential delay is the reason Caltrans won't change the lane configuration of this off-ramp.

Caltrans' traffic engineers did do a field investigation of the off-ramp and discovered the only delay in the left lane was due to slow-moving drivers, Orem said. To remedy the problem, Caltrans increased the time for the green light.

Dear Street Smart:

Why don't they put a left-turn-only signal at the intersection of southbound Avenida de la Carlotta and the entrance to the San Diego Freeway? I have witnessed several near-accidents with people trying to enter the freeway.

E. Leonard

Laguna Hills

County traffic experts do plan to install left-turn signals at that intersection, said Ignacio Ochoa, county traffic engineer. But the change won't happen overnight.

As part of a massive plan to improve the El Toro Road corridor, work will begin in the spring of 1996 to widen the Avenida de la Carlotta and Paseo de Valencia intersection, including the on- and off-ramps to Interstate 5, Ochoa said. The plans call for not one, but two left-turn lanes to access the freeway, he said.

Ochoa said the accident history at the intersection does reveal a number of accidents in the past 10 years, but the minority of them have been related to left turns. Therefore, there is no rush to install left-turn signals, he said.

"The number of accidents did not raise a red flag," Ochoa said. "It is not an area where the accidents are so numerous that we need to do interim improvements."

Street Smart appears Mondays in The Times Orange County Edition. Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about traffic, commuting and what makes it difficult to get around in Orange County. Include simple sketches if helpful. Letters may be published in future columns. Please write to Caroline Lemke, c/o Street Smart, The Times Orange County, P.O. Box 2008, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers. Letters may be edited, and no anonymous letters will be accepted.

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