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Right turn should take precedence over U-turn

In a situation where a left-turn arrow authorizing a U-turn conflicts with a right-turn arrow accompanying a red light, what is the protocol and who has the right-of-way? There is at least one intersection in Pinellas County where that exists: Park Street at 54th Avenue N (just north of Tyrone Boulevard). The northbound right turn lane of Park Street going east onto 54th Avenue N versus the left turn lane from 54th Avenue N going south onto Park Street. Green arrows occur at the same time. I am a frequent driver through that intersection.

Gene Douglass

The intersection of Park Street and 54th Avenue N is not a location where the Doc would consider executing a westbound to eastbound U-turn on 54th. With no median and narrow lanes, it's dicey at best and although U-turns aren't prohibited, the geometry certainly isn't U-turn friendly for a vehicle any larger than a Mini Cooper.

As you noted, the signal cycle at this intersection provides a green left-turn arrow for westbound traffic on 54th Avenue N to turn left onto southbound Park Street. At the same time, traffic northbound on Park Street has a red signal, but then a green right-turn arrow comes on just a scant three seconds after the left-turn arrow for the 54th Avenue N traffic has come on. This is less than ideal, but it's incumbent on the driver of a westbound vehicle on 54th Avenue N who wants to make a U-turn to yield to other traffic and to make the U-turn only when it's absolutely safe to do so. This means that traffic turning right from Park Street eastbound onto 54th Avenue N has the right-of-way. Drivers approaching an intersection must yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the intersection. In the event that two vehicles arrive at the same time and both have a green arrow, the driver on the left should yield the right-of way to right-turning traffic.

When in doubt, yield; in the words of the Doc's high school driver's ed teacher: "Never assume anything ... especially that you have the right of way when making a left turn."

What's going on with Douglas Avenue in Dunedin? The northbound lane is closed and it looks like they are getting ready for some kind of construction.

Gary Martin

This is a streetscaping project, which closed the northbound lane of Douglas Avenue between Grant Street and Skinner Boulevard last week. Northbound traffic will be detoured west on Monroe, north on Broadway and east on Skinner Boulevard until approximately July 31. The southbound traffic lane of Douglas Avenue will remain open throughout the life of the project.

The plan is to extend the existing concrete paver sidewalks and decorative street lights along Douglas Avenue from Grant Street to Skinner Boulevard and to resurface Douglas Avenue from Main Street to Skinner Boulevard just south of Monroe Street. Another feature of the project will be a decorative wall at Skinner Boulevard that will be used to exhibit work created by local artists.

Barricade watch

•In Clearwater, Cleveland Street from Garden Avenue to East Avenue will be closed today from 1 to 7 p.m. to make way for the Tech Olympics. Traffic will be detoured via Drew Street and Park Street. More information about the event is online at www.clearwatertechalliance.com.

•In Belleair Beach, sewer repair work and related construction that closed Seventh Street at Gulf Boulevard last week will be ongoing until June 2. Traffic is being detoured to Sixth Street or Eighth Street and Harbor Drive. In the meantime, expect some traffic congestion.

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

Right turn should take precedence over U-turn 05/22/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:37am]
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