Yield signs at intersections with forked right turn lanes

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w1nds0r
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Yield signs at intersections with forked right turn lanes

by: w1nds0r on
Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:22 pm

Hi all, new here. I have a question about signage/intersection design, and right-of-way as modified by the signage.

As we know, when two vehicles approach an intersection from opposing sides, both facing a circular green light, and both want to turn onto the same road in the same direction, the vehicle which is making the right turn has right-of-way over the vehicle that is turning left across traffic.

In Windsor, and I'd imagine many other places, sometimes the right-turn lane has been separated from the other lanes at the traffic signal with a small triangular island. The right-turn lane is still directly beside the intersection, but is now somewhat separate. In Windsor, this separate right-turn lane faces a yield sign.

It seems to me that the yield sign reverses the normal flow of right-of-way, where the opposing left-turning traffic now has right-of-way over the right-turning traffic facing the yield sign.

An example if you wish to check it out on Google Maps would be the intersection of Howard Ave and Grand Marais Rd in Windsor: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2791454 ... 565,19.41z
Think of traffic that is coming along Grand Marais beside the gas station, turning right onto Howard, facing opposing left-turning traffic.

Can anyone break down how this is supposed to work? Am I correct in thinking that the yield sign overrides the usual right-of-way and forces the right-turning traffic to wait even when they face a green light?

Your thoughts are appreciated.
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by: w1nds0r on
Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:29 pm

Additional thoughts...

If the right-turn lane were separated by some distance, in the style of a highway ramp, there would be no question: the yield sign applies at all times. But since these "forked" right turn lanes are directly connected to the main intersection, it is unclear exactly what the intent is. If the right-turning traffic is not deemed to be at the same intersection, then the traffic signal does not apply and the yield sign is all that matters for the right-turners.
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by: w1nds0r on
Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:43 pm

whaddyaknow wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:34 pm
The bottom line is: you are facing a yield sign. The rest is irrelevant.
Yes, unfortunately that is the case I'm thinking.

If one obeys the yield sign at some of these lights, the right-turning traffic will only ever be able to proceed as right-on-red after the light changes. It's completely asinine.

Probably more an issue to table locally with city council, but I guess I'm wondering if anyone knowledgeable with the HTA sees anything noncompliant about these installations (putting a yield sign at a traffic light).
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by: whaddyaknow on
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:26 am

w1nds0r wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:43 pm
If one obeys the yield sign at some of these lights, the right-turning traffic will only ever be able to proceed as right-on-red after the light changes.
I'm not sure I understand your concern. When facing the green, the presence of the yield sign (while still having legal meaning) is pretty much irrelevant in practice. When facing the red, it allows you to continue without stopping when cross-traffic is light.

What am I missing?
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by: lord_Relish on
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:33 am

Where I live, these lanes are very common and referred to as a "bypass" lane.

You are bypassing the intersection - the traffic lights do not apply to you.

You do not have to stop first (in fact, you are NOT to stop in that lane) unless you need to give way to traffic already on the intersecting street or pedestrians crossing that lane.

So don't think of the yield sign as being "at the intersection". It is beside the intersection, controlling traffic in a separate lane that has not been controlled by the lights.

You are correct that it does "reverse" the usual priority of the right turn over the left turn, but most of the time these lanes do not exist on a one-lane road - they are employed on busier streets that have two or more lanes - and if people make their turns into the correct lane you should not conflict.

In terms of having to wait - it really makes no difference whether you are sitting at the stop line waiting to make a right turn, or yielding in the right-turn bypass lane. If traffic is heavy, you may end up waiting until the green light faces your direction anyway, but outside of those busy times it greatly improves flow and reduces wait time.

The thing I dislike most about these bypass lanes is the inconsistency on how to join the traffic on the next street - some have good acceleration lanes so you can merge after making the turn. Some have a tiny little lane (one car length or so) that forces you to stop and wait anyway, and some have nothing at all after the yield sign/crosswalk - you are immediately into the live traffic lane. You'd think there would be some sort of standardized sign that indicated what the lane arrangement was. Nothing more annoying than sitting backed up at one of these lanes waiting to turn while someone who doesn't realize there is an acceleration lane available holds everyone up.

;)
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by: w1nds0r on
Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:06 pm

whaddyaknow wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:26 am
w1nds0r wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:43 pm
If one obeys the yield sign at some of these lights, the right-turning traffic will only ever be able to proceed as right-on-red after the light changes.
I'm not sure I understand your concern. When facing the green, the presence of the yield sign (while still having legal meaning) is pretty much irrelevant in practice. When facing the red, it allows you to continue without stopping when cross-traffic is light.

What am I missing?
If you are facing this sign at an intersection where there is not any straight-through traffic coming from the same direction as you, and you are facing opposing traffic that has a never-ending supply of left-turning vehicles, you as a right-turner in the "bypass lane" will not be able to complete your turn until the light turns red, if you obey the yield sign.

There are intersections with this flow in Windsor, where this type of sign is installed, and that is exactly where my concern comes from. I've watched people have near-misses because they have conflicting understandings of how it's supposed to work, and I've seen it happen every time I've been at one of those that flows that way.
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by: w1nds0r on
Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:15 pm

lord_Relish wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:33 am
Where I live, these lanes are very common and referred to as a "bypass" lane.

You are bypassing the intersection - the traffic lights do not apply to you.

You do not have to stop first (in fact, you are NOT to stop in that lane) unless you need to give way to traffic already on the intersecting street or pedestrians crossing that lane.

So don't think of the yield sign as being "at the intersection". It is beside the intersection, controlling traffic in a separate lane that has not been controlled by the lights.

You are correct that it does "reverse" the usual priority of the right turn over the left turn, but most of the time these lanes do not exist on a one-lane road - they are employed on busier streets that have two or more lanes - and if people make their turns into the correct lane you should not conflict.

In terms of having to wait - it really makes no difference whether you are sitting at the stop line waiting to make a right turn, or yielding in the right-turn bypass lane. If traffic is heavy, you may end up waiting until the green light faces your direction anyway, but outside of those busy times it greatly improves flow and reduces wait time.

The thing I dislike most about these bypass lanes is the inconsistency on how to join the traffic on the next street - some have good acceleration lanes so you can merge after making the turn. Some have a tiny little lane (one car length or so) that forces you to stop and wait anyway, and some have nothing at all after the yield sign/crosswalk - you are immediately into the live traffic lane. You'd think there would be some sort of standardized sign that indicated what the lane arrangement was. Nothing more annoying than sitting backed up at one of these lanes waiting to turn while someone who doesn't realize there is an acceleration lane available holds everyone up.

;)
All of what you say makes perfect sense. I agree that people do not respect the lane they are supposed to turn into, and that is a major complicating factor here.

One of the scenarios I referred to in my reply to the above post actually is a one-lane road, so that definitely throws a wrench into the flow of things. But it's not the norm.

Unfortunately in Windsor, the majority of these do not turn into a protected/dedicated lane. Even in cases where they turn into an "acceleration lane", that lane is also a through-lane from the opposite side of the intersection, is often used as one, and ends too quickly to provide space for everyone to merge. I haven't seen how it's done in other cities, but I can't imagine this completely counter-intuitive engineering is standard practise.

On the surface, it's a very clear and simple issue: turn into the correct lane, and both parties can go simultaneously with no issues. But it just doesn't end up working like that in reality.

Especially if the "bypass lane" is not deemed part of the same intersection, the party entering the road from the bypass lane would be 100% at-fault (Insurance Act) if they were struck by a car that had turned on a green arrow, because now the car with the arrow has cleared the intersection before the collision happened. Food for thought, maybe.
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by: whaddyaknow on
Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:04 pm

"Because Windsor", I guess ;-)

As is pointed out, the problem isn't really with the yield sign, it's with poor driving.

If it were me, I would complain to my councilor. At the very least they should paint guide lines for that left turning traffic to try and nudge them into that correct lane. Better off, increase police presence at that intersection for a while.
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by: w1nds0r on
Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:32 pm

Somewhat of a followup...

It's called a "channelized right turn", and the traffic engineering people confirm that it is not considered part of the same intersection. It is a separate entrance into the flow of traffic, which is not controlled by the traffic signals, only the yield sign.

Therefore, as discussed above, the traffic in that lane definitely do have to come to a full stop and remain so until traffic breaks. That lane never has right of way, it can only go when an opening forms. Of course, being a yield, stopping is not necessary if the way is clear.

Interesting hypothetical: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/rules-road/ ... right-turn

The Ontario HTA might view the particulars a little differently, but if one were to continue and turn right after the island, the car making the right turn in those circumstances would have right-of-way.
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