Q: I am curious as to why there is a “No Turn on Red” sign from southbound South Tacoma Way to South Washington Street. It appears that allowing a turn on red (even without stopping) would pose no safety issues as far as vehicle traffic is concerned. Darrell F., Federal Way
A: It comes down to geometry and ambulation, Darrell.
As drivers who frequent that stretch know, South Washington Street sort of Y’s off South Tacoma Way instead of forming a more traditional perpendicular intersection.
That makes it easy for southbound drivers heading off South Tacoma Way to take the turn at speeds higher than they could at a typical crossroads.
That’s problematic for people trying to amble across the street there, according to city traffic engineer Josh Diekmann.
“Therefore, instead of having pedestrians cross the street at the same time as the southbound through movement, as would typically be the case, this specific pedestrian crossing gets its own ‘walk’ phase while all drivers see a red indication,” Diekmann said.
And the drivers southbound on South Tacoma Way also get the “No Turn on Red” sign.
Everybody gets a turn, and nobody gets hurt. Win-win.
Anyone with questions about traffic signal operation within the city can contact Justin Belk, traffic engineer, at 253-591-5404.
We posted a poll on Twitter last week week, something we plan to do from time to time.
Here it is:
“People you allow to merge ahead of you at a clogged freeway interchange should:
▪ Give a little wave.
▪ Just drive, baby.”
We got 110 responses.
The clear winner, with 71 percent of the votes, was, “Give a little wave.”
We support etiquette at all times. As our Granny used to say, “Being polite doesn’t cost a thing.”
We also got this reply from @JessRiled:
“As long as they’re utilizing the zipper effect in bumper to bumper traffic I don’t care.”
Yes, smoothly meshing traffic can be its own reward.