Lane Ranger: Williston Road/34th Street intersection ‘ludicrous’

Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 9:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 9:41 p.m.

The configuration of turn lanes and signals at the Williston Road/34th Street intersection creates some dangerous situations, said reader Edward Harpe.

Southbound drivers turning right onto Williston use a slip lane with a yield rather than full stop. Harpe said the angle of the lane creates a blind spot when looking left for oncoming traffic. Drivers who come to a stop to look for oncoming traffic risk getting hit from behind, he said.

Some people avoid the turn lane and go directly to the traffic signal, Harpe said, but a sign forbidding right turns is now on the signal structure. Meanwhile, eastbound traffic on Williston Road is allowed to make U-turns at the intersection.

“This is ludicrous. We permit U-turns at this dangerous intersection but you can’t turn right after a complete stop without breaking the law,” Harpe said. “We all know the angle of the road cannot be changed, but at least remove the sign ... so you can legally make a right turn. Remove the U-turn sign, which is a definite hazard at a busy intersection, and install a right turn signal light.”

City of Gainesville traffic operations manager Phil Mann said the city requested the sign banning right turns because the existence of the right-turn lane makes it illegal to turn right at the intersection.

“GPD was enforcing this and (we) were asked to have a sign installed to make drivers aware of the law,” Mann said in an email. “As to the U-turn, the Florida Department of Transportation installed the medians to make the roadway segment between the Interstate and 34th Street safer. Many visitors through our city exit I-75 … to get fuel, food or purchase other products. The median made the segment safer by forcing all of the traffic to go the intersection to make the U-turn at one place instead of the many left turns from Williston Road into the gas stations or restaurants, or random U-turns to get back onto I-75 Northbound.”

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