This left-turn arrow isn’t going away anytime soon

05/06/2014 10:15 PM

05/06/2014 10:15 PM

The problem

For more than 30 years, Dan Breitenstein has lived east of 115th Street and Antioch Road in Overland Park. He says that until Antioch was widened to three lanes each way, drivers got by just fine without a left-turn arrow there.

Now, he says, the arrow makes southbound drivers “wait an inordinate and unnecessary amount of time” before turning left onto 115th.

“If ever there was a need for a yellow flashing left turn arrow after a reasonably timed green, this is the intersection for it,” he said. “One can see several hundred yards ahead in the opposite lanes for oncoming traffic, so turning left would be reasonably safe.”

The answer

Sorry, Dan. Overland Park thinks otherwise, although it doesn’t rule out a flashing yellow arrow someday.

Before Antioch was widened, said city traffic engineer Brian Shields, Overland Park looked at accident patterns and found 15 accidents had occurred at the intersection in the previous three years. Six involved left turns.

In addition, Antioch curves just south of 115th, so the city deemed it prudent to have the arrows in place when drivers had to cross three lanes of traffic.

The flashing yellow arrows have come into vogue since then, and Overland Park is looking at using them where appropriate to give drivers more leeway.

“We have several other locations that would be considered before this one,” Shields said.

The Watchdog offers three ways to pass the time while waiting for a turn arrow: Floss your canines, “paws” for a quick prayer or ogle the good-looking Dalmatian in the next car over.

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