In honor of Presidents Day, here’s a Traffic Q&A twofer, one regarding the South Hill Mall exit from state Route 512 and another on turning right when a right-turn arrow is red.
Q: Why does the 94th Avenue/South Hill Mall exit from eastbound state Route 512 only have one right-turn lane when it clearly is in need of two?
There seems to be a lane that could easily be turned into a second right-turn lane (much like the configuration at Canyon Road, the exit prior). There is a middle lane that goes straight at that light.
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Can the Department of Transportation take that middle lane at that off-ramp and turn it into a second right-turn lane to ease the congestion on the off ramp? – Suzanne W., Puyallup
A: Good news, bad news, Suzanne.
Bad news first: The Transportation Department has no plans to take your advice, at least not anytime soon.
Here’s department spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker: “Before we can answer this inquiry we would need to analyze the traffic flow to see if a second right would significantly improve traffic flow, and we would need to discuss any changes with the City of Puyallup.”
We inquired further, asking what it would take to get the state to take a look.
“We will do it based on the reader’s question,” Bingham Baker said. “I can’t give you a time frame but will let you know when we’ve done some legwork.”
Remind me to check back with DOT, Suzanne, for I’ll surely forget.
Q: Going south toward Lakewood on Bridgeport at the intersection with Gravelly Lake Drive, the right-turn lane now has a new traffic light with a red right-turn arrow and a green right-turn arrow.
Can you make a right turn on a right-turn red arrow or do you have to wait for the right-turn arrow to turn green? Pat R., University Place
A: This question apparently has become a source of contention within Pat’s bridge group, so we’re feeling a bit of pressure here.
But according to our sources, turning right on a red arrow (after stopping, of course) is perfectly legal.
Here’s the key phraseology from RCW, 46.61.055:
“… vehicle operators facing a steady red arrow indication may, after stopping, proceed to make a right turn from a one-way or two-way street into a two-way street or into a one-way street carrying traffic in the direction of the right turn …”
For confirmation, we went to Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler.
“A free right turn is OK on a red arrow, unless there is a ‘No right turn on red’ sign,” Lawler said.
Hope you were on the right side of the argument, Pat, and that you make a grand slam soon.