Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, September 16, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Harrison Boulevard walking experience compared to strolling a cruise ship's deck in high seas; wide bike lane/shoulder pavement at Hill Road and Seamans Gulch Road creates confusion; Idaho 55 to Idaho 44 now has a two-lane merge sign - how about other locations?

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I have had several opportunities this summer to walk from Hill Road to 16th Street via the new Harrison Boulevard sidewalks. The sidewalk along the east side is smooth and even. Walking the sidewalk on the west side is akin to trying to stroll a cruise ship's deck in high seas. Each section, especially those closest to Hill Road, seems to have been laid independently despite the fact that the edges meet. Was there an underlying reason why the undulating walk on the west side was necessary?


Road Wizard:

Of course, no one goes in thinking that a sidewalk should end up this way, and there is an underlying issue. The roots of big trees are putting pressure against the sidewalk from below deck. I'd suggest that construction crews should have seen this coming, with the trees planted so close, but these sidewalks were constructed more than 100 years ago.

Eventually the original sidewalk will need to be replaced. The new sidewalk will gently arch over the root structures and shouldn't affect the trees. That will make the walking experience more like a stroll across a cruise ship's deck in calmer seas.

Dear Road Wizard: Happy to have Seamans Gulch Road resurfaced, great job! However, at the intersection of Hill Road and Seamans Gulch, new confusion has been created that maybe you can solve. There is a large pull-off parking area as well as a bike lane near that intersection. The bike lane (if that is what it is, as it's unmarked) is so wide, drivers coming down the hill are using it as a turn lane onto Hill. Could some kind of pavement marking be added to clarify whether it is a car lane for turning, or actually a bike lane?


Road Wizard:

This relatively vast area of shoulder pavement could use some clarifying in the street painting department. It is indeed a bike lane, but identifying it as such can be challenging when the bike lane is significantly wider than what is typically striped.

It is actually permissible though, and even desired, that motorists enter bike lanes prior to making a right turn. Intersections with bike lanes usually have broken bike lane lines at the crossing, which indicate where drivers should cross into the lane after first looking for bicyclists.

This is far preferable to motorists turning right at the last minute across the bike lane and potentially hitting an approaching bicyclist who is assuming the motorist is planning to go straight through the intersection instead of turning.

Dear Road Wizard: I noticed the yield sign for westbound traffic turning from Idaho 55 to Idaho 44 is now a two-lane merge sign. Well done! Will this type of thing be done with all the confusing yield signs?


Road Wizard:

Have we just merged into a travel lane with a truck carrying a big can of worms? There could be many locations where yield signs do not send the best message to drivers.

Yield signs at "free" right turns like these tell drivers coming out of the turns that they are obligated to yield to conflicting traffic at the sign's location. At the Idaho 44 and Idaho 55 intersection, there is a good amount of merging distance, so a "merge" sign better explains that the yielding can happen farther down the road as needed.

What other yield/merge locations do readers suggest?

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