|| February 18, 2015
|| Jeff Shea, Traffic Engineer
Permissive left turns (Flashing Yellow Arrow) at
Randall Way & Kitsap Mall Boulevard are going away
Increase in collisions cited in unique
double left turn lanes
(Port Orchard, WA) -
The flashing yellow left turn light has been
a success and is well-received at many locations in Kitsap County. But the
unique nature of the double left-turn lane at the Randall Way and Kitsap
Mall Boulevard intersection has created safety concerns according to Jeff
Shea, Traffic Engineer for Kitsap County. “The flashing yellow left-turn
arrow has been a very popular addition to our signal system. Motorists
enjoy the ability to make left turns when there is no opposing traffic,”
Shea said. The permissive left turns reduce driver frustration and decrease
the need to speed through the intersection when the guarded left turn light
turns yellow,” according to Shea. “The permissive left turn signal helps
improve signal timing and reduces overall wait times at signals because it
reduces the number of cars in queues waiting to make the left turn,” Shea
The popular signal change was installed in
2010. The intersection has seen too many collisions including a fatality.
“We watch our collision data, rely on sheriff’s deputy’s’
observations, and respond to motorist’s complaints to find trouble spots
that need attention, and we feel this location needs attention” said Shea.
We attempted to solve the problem
with a sign near the signal head alerting motorists that they must yield to
oncoming traffic. Unfortunately
this did not reduce the collisions.
After modifying the
intersection with the flashing yellow arrow we monitored the collisions and
watched them drop from a high of 9 in 2011 to 4 in 2013.
In 2014 we saw that we had experienced 8 collisions.
“The fact that it is two lanes makes it different from other
installations of this type of signal, and based on the collision data we’ve
decided to eliminate the permissive left-turn signal,” said Shea. The signal
will return to the protected left-turn green arrow in late February.
The only allowable left turn will be with the green arrow.
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