There’s not a sign for every city

Dennis Bernier of Mill Creek writes: Traveling north on I-5 there is no signage directing one to use exit 208 to go to Silvana.

At one time there was a small sign at the top of the exit directing you to go left to Silvana. That assumes one already knew to take that exit.

Bronlea Mishler of the state Department of Transportation responds: Information on signs is an evolving process. The big green signs on state highways and interstates are required to be so simple and easy to understand that anyone, going 60 miles an hour, knows whether they’re headed east, west, north or south and include a destination that almost anyone would know, like Arlington, as a point of reference. This is especially important at interchanges like I-5 and Highway 530.

The city selections we made at the Highway 530 interchange also reflect changing highway status.

Originally, 530 was a highway that went through Silvana. What used to be a highway is now a county road called Pioneer Way. The highway currently proceeds only east of I-5. Our priorities for the destinations on signs are for communities on the state highways, and the two most recognizable on Highway 530 are Arlington and Darrington.

That’s why older signs may have included destinations like Silvana, but now only show Arlington or Darrington.

Jac-e Albertsen of Mill Creek writes: There is a problem at the intersection of Trillium Boulevard (going west) when turning right onto Bothell-Everett Highway. The sign says you must stop and wait for the light (no free right turn.)

There appears to be no sensor. If a car is turning left it appears to trigger a sensor, but if no other cars are around you sit in the right turn lane forever, until another car either appears across the intersection, or someone shows up to turn left.

Due to the speed limit (either 40 or 45 mph) on Bothell-Everett Highway and a curve before the intersection, one would guess they took away the free right turn for safety. I can see during high traffic times they may have a point. But many times of the day when traffic is light you sit forever with few cars on either road. All of the other side streets in the area allow free right turns.

Possible solutions: A flashing light on the highway before the curve and intersection, warning drivers of merging traffic; slowing cars on the highway down in this section to 35 mph; allow a free right turn except during high traffic times; a sensor that triggers when folks pull up in the right turn lane on Trillium Blvd.

Bronlea Mishler, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: The reader is correct that the limited sight distance for westbound right-turning traffic is the reason that drivers aren’t allowed to take a free right on red at Trillium Boulevard. For the safety of drivers, we can’t rely solely on warning or speed limit signs to protect turning traffic because some drivers may intentionally or unintentionally ignore the signs.

Our signal engineer went out to the site and checked the traffic sensor in the right-turn lane. The sensor that tells the traffic signal to change was working properly, but we made some changes that should make it easier for drivers who want to make a right turn.

In a standard right-turn lane, a vehicle triggers the sensor by being directly over it. Once the driver moves off the sensor, the sensor resets itself and may not tell the traffic signal to change. That setup isn’t the best solution for the Trillium intersection, because drivers aren’t allowed to take a free right on red.

To make it easier on drivers, our signal engineers reset the sensor so that it will “remember” a vehicle’s presence even if the driver drifts forward off the sensor. We also encourage drivers using the right-turn lane here to stop behind the wide stripe to ensure they are over the traffic sensor. Many times, even where there are right-on red-restrictions, drivers tend to pull forward past the sensors since they are used to looking for gaps in oncoming traffic.

E-mail us at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

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