Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, July 9, 2017 ACHD's Road Wizard

Reader says wrong-side-of-the-road parking more common in the Treasure Valley; pedestrian signal on Ustick Road near Ash Park Lane not likely to be replaced with a HAWK signal any time soon; meaning of yellow "trucks" signs at intersection lane designations

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Having lived out of Idaho until 2010, I was taken aback at how often people in the Treasure Valley park on the wrong side of the road in residential areas. Why does this go without consequences by local law enforcement? Pulling away from the curb when facing the wrong direction is clearly hazardous and the solution so obvious (enforcement) that the easy acceptance of this parking is puzzling to this newcomer. Can you provide explanation of some sort?

Paul

Road Wizard:

People can be lazy about parking. Others may not realize that parking while facing oncoming traffic is against the law.

The improper parking is most concerning on busy roads where drivers parked on the wrong side have to exit the parking spot by using an oncoming traffic lane. Those locations are where most enforcement is targeted.

Residential roads such as those in subdivisions present less of a safety issue, and homeowners may need to call police for enforcement. It's a hard habit to break. A bill in Louisiana even proposed that parking on the wrong side of the road restrictions shouldn't apply in residential areas, but it didn't pass.

Dear Road Wizard: On Ustick Road, between Ash Park Lane and Sawgrass Way, there's a pedestrian signal with red/yellow/green lights. What's the chance of replacing it with a HAWK signal? Doing so would seemingly increase traffic flow.

Bob

Road Wizard:

I would wager that the ice cream parlor at the crossing increases the crosswalk use in the 100 degree heat, making stopping a misery for drivers without air conditioning.

The "High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk" signals, known as HAWK signals, tend to reduce driver delay at crosswalks. But the pedestrian signal at Ustick and Ash Park was built before the new signals became widely used.

The signal may be upgraded to a HAWK eventually, but it's more of a "want to do" rather than a "need to do" project since the crossing already has a pedestrian signal.

Dear Road Wizard: What do the yellow rectangular "trucks" signs really mean next to intersection turn signals? Is the intent "must" or "should"? Some intersections have both turn lanes posted, some just one. When both are posted, why have a sign at all? Additionally, some dual turn lane intersections have a sign posted between the signals where the swing is already started prior to where the sign appears (like at the Ten Mile Road/Interstate 84 intersection).

Joe

Road Wizard:

Yellow street signs indicate a warning or driver guidance, which is different from white signs which cover enforceable traffic laws. So truck drivers 'should' turn in the lanes with the yellow "trucks" signs at intersections. Many intersections work best when large trucks travel in certain lanes while other intersections only have certain lanes that can handle the vehicles.

The Ten Mile Road Interchange is a "Single-Point Urban Interchange" so the signals are placed in the middle of the intersection. The signal arm ends up over the curve of the left-turn lanes, which may seem like too little, too late for the placement of the truck lane sign, but there are truck lane guides in advance of the intersection.

The Orchard Street Interchange eastbound off-ramp comes to mind as a location with two yellow "trucks" signs. They tell drivers the best left-turn lane to use, and also that the right-turn lane can accommodate the largest vehicles.

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