No left turns allowed — New City of Moscow ordinance limits Third Street turns
The City of Moscow passed an ordinance to prohibit left turns from Main Street onto Third Street between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.“I think anybody who’s lived in Moscow much is familiar with the congestion with left turns on Main Street,” said Tyler Palmer, City of Moscow streets manager.
According to Palmer, one-third of the cars driving on Main Street turn left, but they account for 80 percent of the congestion.
The sidewalk on Third Street bubbles out at the traffic light to make crossing Main shorter for pedestrians, but these bubbles prevent a left turn lane on Main Street.
This meant one car waiting to turn left onto Third Street could stop the whole line of northbound cars on Main Street.
“It was not uncommon to have only one person get through,” Palmer said.
He said traffic would often back up past Friendship Square to Fifth Street and sometimes almost Sixth Street.
Palmer said Main Street is conducive to this change. Drivers only have to go north a short distance and turn left on First or A streets — or the loop at C Street — and then make a left on Jackson Street. From Jackson Street, drivers can turn right on Third Street.
Palmer said the new
policy also decreases the amount of vehicle emissions created by cars waiting at the light.
Another consideration was parking on Third Street. According to Palmer, traffic congestion made parking along the east side of Main hazardous.
He said he observed a much better lunch-rush flow after the sign was put up.
Jonah Mix, a Moscow resident who lives near the intersection, said he thought the change is a bad idea.
“It’s a really big inconvenience that’s far bigger than any congestion it caused,” Mix said.
He said he thinks many people will turn left despite the new rule.
“I definitely don’t like it,” he said.
Lt. Paul Kwiatkowski of the Moscow Police Department said the new policy is in the educational stage. This means tickets are not being issued for left-turn violations, but violators will be pulled over.
“We want to make sure people are aware before we get into the regulatory phase,” Palmer said.
Palmer said the city is not out to “get” people. They just want people to understand the new policy.
“We try to be a friendly city,” he said.
Kasen Christensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org