When U turn, others can’t

06/06/2014 6:04 PM

06/06/2014 6:04 PM

The problem

Ah, the simple pleasures: an afternoon breeze, finding a bone you forgot you buried, going right on red and continuing to cruise on home after a long day at work.

Well, sometimes and in some places.

Clark Howard of Overland Park doesn’t understand why a sign sometimes prohibits right turns on red for eastbound College Boulevard traffic turning south onto Quivira Road. The sign activates when Quivira traffic is turning east or west onto College.

“I don’t believe U-turns are permitted there,” Howard said. “If the U-turn is permitted, then it’s understandable. However, you can make that turn by only using two lanes.”

And presumably leave room for drivers such as Howard to go right on red.

The answer

It turns out that U-turns are permitted, and they are at the root of Howard’s aggravation.

Because Overland Park allows northbound-to-southbound U-turns on Quivira, the eastbound “no right turn on red” sign activates when the northbound green arrow is on. It keeps eastbound traffic from running into the northbound drivers making U-turns, said city traffic engineer Brian Shields.

“The fact that we have three lanes doesn’t matter, as some vehicles are larger than others and need more room to maneuver,” he added.

The Watchdog says he’s been known to make illegal U-turns when a certain perky papillon is moving in the opposite direction.

Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to watchdog@kcstar.com. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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