Sit and stay! Don’t turn left, even when surrounded by empty highway.
That’s what the traffic masters are telling drivers at a Northland intersection, and Kansas City resident Frank Campobasso hopes they will bark out some new rules.
His gripe is that drivers going west on Tom Watson Parkway — Missouri 45 — can’t turn left on a green light at Lewis Street in Parkville.
Campobasso said he has waited when there is no eastbound traffic and could safely turn. And the westbound green light is pretty long.
It looks like you’ll have to keep sitting, Frank.
It’s true at this spot that turns are permitted only when a green arrow appears, said Zachary Zalneraitis, traffic studies specialist with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
But certain requirements must be met before drivers are allowed to turn left on a solid green light or flashing yellow arrow. Despite the expansive view, the problem here is “insufficient sight distance.”
When the street is empty, Zalneraitis said, it’s possible to see down the hill toward Bell Road. But sight distance for turn lanes is calculated with a vehicle present in the opposing turn lane.
At Lewis Street, this condition reduces the sight distance by several hundred feet and rules out a safe left turn.
The Watchdog says graduates of obedience school are never taught this stuff.
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 email@example.com. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.