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Thread: Median turning lane performance

  1. #1

    Median turning lane performance

    My boss is our County executive and he has a "winter" home in Sarasota, Florida. While vacationing in Florida, he saw "turning" lanes in the median of their arterial streets that allow cars travelling in either direction to turn into a strip mall on the opposite side of the street [I hope that I am describing this properly]. My boss asked the County DOT to install similar lanes in our County and the DOT refused, saying that they were too dangerous. Does anyone know where I could get accident data or studies for that type of median turning lane? Does it really have a safety problem or is the DOT just being conservative?

  2. #2
    Many arterials in Texas are designed this way. I don't know of any studies but you might contact TxDOT and inquire, or ask the Texas Transportation Institute (at Texas A&M University) for info.

  3. #3
    For studies, try the Transportation Research Board. Yes, they are very dangerous, when there are lots of driveway cuts and traffic is heavy. People not only use middle turn lanes, or chicken lanes as some people call them, for turns, they also use them as acceleration lanes. And I've seen car carriers park in them and unload their vehicles for the auto dealerships. The DOT is correct to avoid the dual turn lane in the center because of the multiple points of turning conflicts. And it is hard to get businesses to go along with retrofitting a middle turn lane with a median after they are used to the unrestricted access. Finally, if you are concerned about pedestrian crossings, that's alot of pavement to cross without safe harbor or refuge.

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