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Word Nerd

Stuck at the red arrow

I was pretty excited when the city approved a left turn light at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Sixth Street in Sunnyside.

It's an annoying spot during those rare busy moments. No, not as bad as a couple of other places in town, but certainly annoying.

A dedicated turn light seemed like just the solution. But the change hasn't been as pleasant as I had hoped it would be.

For the first few days after the installation of the new lights, the intersection was an unholy mess. The lights blinked red on Sixth Street, but yellow on Lincoln Avenue. Motorists traveling on Sixth thought it was an all-way stop, and I witnessed several near misses before the lights got the proper programming in place.

And now that the lights are working as planned, taking a left turn actually takes longer at most times of the day.

The light does not give a driver the option to take a left turn if the traffic is clear. So if a vehicle pulls up just after the red arrow appears, it is stuck there for the whole light cycle, even if there is no oncoming traffic and the through lanes next to them have a green light.

It's an improvement during heavy traffic, but tweaking the lights to allow for a cautious left turn while through traffic has the green would make it better at all times.

Whether my preferred tweak is made or not, I'm glad that the city took action. Now, I hope it can do something about the dual left turn lanes at the intersection of First Street and Lincoln Avenue...

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