Hi everyone. There are two intersections that I find myself at quite often and would like some clarification on exactly what is expected. I've attached screenshots of both.
The first is at Steeles Avenue and Jane Street in Toronto/Vaughan. When travelling eastbound on Steeles, there are two lanes. Once passing Jane, there are three lanes. The problem is, the lanes don't line up. If you were to extend the lane markers through the intersection, they would cut the middle lane in half. I'll see drivers do a wide range of things. Sometimes drivers in the right lane will continue into the right lane, other times they'll continue into the middle lane. Sometimes drivers in the left lane will continue into the left left, other times they'll continue into the middle lane. Many times, nobody ends up in the middle lane at all. What does the law say here? Where are you supposed to go from either lane?
The second is exiting Saint Elizabeth Catholic High School in Thornhill. This one is a little tricky to explain, but I'll do my best. There is a pedestrian crosswalk with traffic signals right above the crosswalk. Quite a distance away from the crosswalk (maybe 10-15 metres) on either side there is the solid white line for traffic to stop. In between the two solid white lines, there is an entrance driveway and an exit driveway at the school. The northern driveway on the screenshot is the exit driveway. Cars exiting this driveway and turning left will find themselves right at the edge of the marked pedestrian crosswalk. The traffic lights are immediately above their heads and can be quite hard to see. Most drivers will stop if there is a red light, even though they're now basically in the middle of the intersection between the two thick lines. I have seen some drivers wait for pedestrians and then continue, or just go through if there are no pedestrians. What does the law say here? The only signage when exiting the parking lot is a stop sign. There are no lights facing the parking lot, only perpendicular to the driveway on New Westminster.
Thanks for the help!
- Saint Elizabeth CHS.jpg (213.63 KiB) Viewed 1216 times
- Jane and Steeles.jpg (202.93 KiB) Viewed 1216 times
I know the situation outside St. E quite well, as I live only a couple of minutes away. New Westminster is incredibly poorly marked here, and has been since the lights were added a few years ago. When I approach the light, particularly when driving southbound past the Promenade, I simply assume that everyone around me has the potential to do something really stupid (not necessarily a comment on others' driving skills, but also a function of the poor markings) and make sure that I'm aware of who's around me. I have had to take defensive action.
I'm not at Steeles and Jane often, but would make the same suggestion. If necessary, I'd slow down and let the people beside me get ahead. That way, I couldn't pic the same lane at the same time.
Thanks for the reply, Zatota. I generally do the same as you. Those markings are very confusing. If I'm passing the school towards Clark I'm usually okay. Drivers turning into St. E sort of make their own rules but if I'm coming in that direction I'm generally passing Clark so I'll be in the right lane anyway. I come in and out of that parking lot a few times a month and when I do, I always turn left to get onto Clark. I've never been the first one out and cars in front of me usually stop at the marked crosswalk, but I have seen cars just go through. I'm just curious what should actually happen, or what a police officer would do if they saw someone pull out of the school parking lot and cross that crosswalk under the red light.
I've seen police officers in the parking lot and driveway. On the upside, I think most people are prudent through there. That's a good thing, given what New Westminster is like between Centre and Clark during the day, especially the beginning and end of the school day.
The pedestrian signal is in a poor location. They would have been better moving it towards the entrance driveway. This would have allowed the stop bars to be a lot closer to the signal. It would have also eliminated any potential conflicts when the light is red. Anyone turning left out of the school would do so before the stop bar.
I get why the stop bars are where they are as there are minimum distance requirements and you don't want them within the accesses to the school. I'm really curious how long the amber light is given that there is a significant gap between the stop bar and the lights. The clearance time would be huge.
As for your original question, anyone turning left from the driveway would be within the intersection as they are past the stop bars. As such, if the light were red, they would be allowed to proceed through the signal. That being said, you can't hit any pedestrians who are crossing the street. Rule number one in traffic - don't hit anything or anyone.
That's my take on it, others in the enforcement field may have more insight.
If I turned left and there was a red light I would stop. No question. Err on the side of safety each and every time.
argyll wrote:If I turned left and there was a red light I would stop. No question. Err on the side of safety each and every time.
This is what most people do and it's what I've always done; however, I've never been the first car out so I've always stopped behind others. In practice, given the nature of the location, i.e. rush hour, school zone, kids everywhere, it's the prudent thing to do. I'm still curious what the theory would say and what laws technically apply.
If this intersection had lights in both directions, and traffic coming out of the school had a green light, they would be allowed to turn left provided that pedestrians were not on the crosswalk, and they'd be fine. In any left turn at an intersection with lights, you are at some point passing underneath red lights. Would it not be the case here? You have a stop sign. You stop, wait til it's clear, and then go.
The way you are thinking about it is the correct. If these lights were located just to the left of the exit access, anyone could turn left even if the light was red (just don't hit the pedestrians). The fact that the lights are further removed from the access doesn't matter, since the stop bar is located before the access. If the stop bar was located between the access and the lights, you would be required to stop.
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