“The traffic area that I’m most concerned about as being dangerous is the Highway 9 and Soper Hill Road intersection,” writes Rose Marie Bayha, of Lake Stevens. “It seems like a third lane is needed at this intersection.”
Although this is Lake Stevens, much of the development coming is through the city of Marysville. So I reached out to the Marysville city spokeswoman Connie Mennie about Bayha’s concerns.
The short answer is that further development in that area likely will lead to intersection improvements, though the specific improvements have not yet been determined.
A Lowe’s home improvement store is slated to go in there.
“The Lowe’s application has triggered an analysis of the intersection of Soper Hill Road and Highway 9 that could determine that improvements are needed there,” Mennie said.
Farther down Soper Hill Road, the city’s plans call for roundabouts at 87th Avenue NE and 83rd Avenue NE.
Bayha’s concerns stemmed from traffic that is eastbound on Soper Hill Road. Many drivers activate their left-turn signal to get into a lane that is for left-turning and through traffic, then forget to turn it off as they continue straight across Highway 9.
“I can’t count the number of times we’ve had near accidents due to this problem,” she said.
She’s not alone.
Bayha’s question is very similar to one I received from a Marysville reader about a situation on Highway 528, west of Highway 9, in that city.
There, too, drivers often leave their blinkers on and cause confusion, so that cross-street traffic inadvertently pulls in front of them.
Cece Zimmerman, of Marysville, noted the confusion started when a right-turn lane on Highway 528 at 83rd Avenue NE started allowing through traffic, a response to increased traffic volumes when the nearby Walmart complex went in at Highway 9.
Drivers move into the right lane, but then leave their turn signals on as they head through the intersection, Zimmerman noted.
“While sitting on 83rd waiting to take a right turn, it is easy to interrupt the driver’s intention… I have seen many cars pull out in front of the cars on 528,” she said. “Would it be a good idea to put a ‘no turn on red’ for those turning on 83rd, or make the lane on Highway 528 a right-turn only before the intersection?”
No changes are planned there.
But it is a good time for a driver’s education refresher, said Tom Pearce, a Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman.
“Drivers who move into the right lane of westbound SR 528 should turn off their signal immediately if they are going straight through the intersection,” Pearce said. “That said, one of the first things I learned in driver’s education was ‘never trust a turn signal.’ Drivers should always be certain a vehicle is turning before pulling out.”
Have a question for Street Smarts? Drop reporter Melissa Slager a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-339-3432.