Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, July 1, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Willowbrook/Willow Brook signs in Meridian will be replaced; practical reason for left-turn wait at Fairview and Eagle roads; Adams Elementary School on Warm Springs Avenue isn't scheduled for a pedestrian crossing upgrade.

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I have noticed that several of the street signs on Willowbrook Drive in Meridian are really faded and old. One even has Willowbrook spelled out as two words. Can you get someone to look into replacing them with new signs?


Road Wizard:

These signs are likely 15 years old, which is about how long they are expected to last. They will be replaced with new signs, but it will take some extra paper pushing to make that happen.

The signs must show the official street name as documented in the 30-plus-year-old subdivision plats that mapped out each phase of the development. Both "Willowbrook" and "Willow Brook" appear in the maps, which is why this single street is typed two different ways on street signs.

Before the new signs can be installed, any "Willow Brook" references need to be changed to "Willowbrook" in the land records. The signs will then be made in ACHD's sign shop, but they have a huge workload right now which could further add to the wait time.

Dear Road Wizard: Is it possible to change the time for the left-turn green light at Fairview and Eagle roads? I travel there regularly, coming eastbound from Meridian, and the left-turn lane onto Eagle going north only allows seven or eight vehicles to turn. I have counted them many times. There is always a back-up in this left-turn lane, and several times I have had to sit through three light changes to turn left and continue north. Can this be fixed?


Road Wizard:

It's the same story for motorists coming from westbound Fairview turning left onto southbound Eagle/Idaho 55. This is one of the busiest intersections in Ada County, but the left turns get the lowest priority out of necessity.

There is so much traffic on this highway throughout the day that taking just five seconds from the northbound Eagle through-traffic movement can cause Eagle traffic to back up from Fairview to Interstate 84. It's very dangerous to have traffic stacked up on the freeway. So instead, the backups are shifted to the left turns along Eagle side streets. It's safer, but also a struggle for those drivers.

It doesn't help that Eagle/Fairview sits in a highly developed commercial area. There aren't any practical adjustments that can be made within the sophisticated traffic signal coordination system along Eagle to "fix" the left-turning hassles.

Dear Road Wizard: Is it possible that the current red/green crosswalk light at Adams Elementary School on Warm Springs Avenue could be changed to a newer type? The red light stays on for an unnecessarily extended period after all pedestrians/bicyclists have crossed and the traffic piles up. It seems that the rules for this type of light don't allow for traffic to progress while the light is red, even though there are no longer people crossing.


Road Wizard:

You must be hoping for a "HAWK" pedestrian signal that allows drivers to proceed on flashing red lights after first stopping for pedestrians and waiting for them to clear the crosswalk. Those signals help move traffic while also encouraging better stopping trends for motorists when the signal is activated. It would be a nice upgrade.

But right now ACHD's priority is adding enhanced crosswalk signals/beacons at locations that don't have any of those elements before upgrading locations that do.

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