Traffic Q&A: Thanks to reader, ‘No left turn’ sign coming soon to Sixth and Bantz

Question: Is it legal to make a left-hand turn from Sixth Avenue onto Bantz Boulevard when heading east on Sixth Avenue by Tacoma Boys?

There’s no left-hand turn lane on Sixth Avenue, and cars turning left are blocking traffic.

There should be a “No left turn” sign at that intersection. — Randy Nix, Tacoma

Answer: You can take credit for spurring the city into action, Randy. You should see a “No left turn” sign there shortly.

Responsibility for that intersection is shared by the city of Tacoma and the state Department of Transportation because Bantz is used as a primary access route to westbound state Route 16.

After city traffic engineer Josh Diekmann heard your question, he consulted with WSDOT and, together, they concluded that a sign restricting left turns at Bantz is a good idea.

“In consultation with WSDOT, the city has determined that a sign restricting left turns at this intersection would be beneficial and will be installed to clarify driver understanding,” Diekmann said in an email.

“It appears that some vehicles may currently be using Bantz as an alternate to the Pearl Street corridor, which can be very congested,” Diekmann said.

“The city will review the operation of the signal at Sixth and Pearl to determine if any changes could improve operations for eastbound vehicles waiting to make left turns.”

The idea of adding a legal left-turn lane at that point on Sixth got nowhere with Diekmann. “Adding a left-turn lane for eastbound traffic at Bantz would reduce the length of the westbound left-turn lane at Pearl, which has much higher demand,” he said.