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Author Topic: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?  (Read 2259 times)

A.J. Bertin

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Michigan now has two Diverging Diamond Interchanges. My husband and I were in the Detroit area over the Christmas holiday weekend and used the DDI at I-75 and University Drive (in Oakland County) several times over the course of that weekend. We were wondering something, and I thought I'd ask folks in here for their opinions.

In Michigan, it is legal to turn left onto a one-way street on red. When exiting northbound I-75 onto westbound University Drive (or when exiting southbound to go eastbound), you are essentially making a left turn onto the one-way overpass carriageway). Because of the angle at which you are merging onto the overpass, it's hard to tell whether you're technically making a left-turn movement or a "forward" movement onto the overpass. There was a time when my husband and I were exiting I-75 late at night, and there was absolutely no traffic coming to our right - but we had a red light getting off the freeway. To be on the safe side, we waited until the light was green to proceed, but my question is... in Michigan, is it legal to make this left turn on red? Another way to ask this question is, does Michigan consider it a "left turn" movement or a "forward" movement? If it's truly considered a left turn, it seems like it would be legal to proceed on red. But if Michigan considers it a "forward" movement, proceeding on a red light would be illegal.

We were stumped about this. What does everyone think?
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-A.J. from Michigan

wanderer2575

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 09:08:54 PM »

This is the off-ramp A.J. referenced:  https://goo.gl/maps/wgxbpq9usXC2

Unless a "no turn on red" sign is posted, my opinion is that proceeding on a red is legal.  If nothing else, the arrows painted on the ramp lane pavement indicate a turn movement, not a forward movement.
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vdeane

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 10:03:43 PM »

Good question... I would assume it was legal, but the median and the angle of the ramp do pose interesting questions.  For what it's worth, the one in NY has a "no turn on red" sign, but I'm not sure if that means we would otherwise consider it legal or if it was just posted because people could become confused.

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Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

jeffandnicole

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 10:42:32 PM »

Michigan now has two Diverging Diamond Interchanges. My husband and I were in the Detroit area over the Christmas holiday weekend and used the DDI at I-75 and University Drive (in Oakland County) several times over the course of that weekend. We were wondering something, and I thought I'd ask folks in here for their opinions.

In Michigan, it is legal to turn left onto a one-way street on red. When exiting northbound I-75 onto westbound University Drive (or when exiting southbound to go eastbound), you are essentially making a left turn onto the one-way overpass carriageway). Because of the angle at which you are merging onto the overpass, it's hard to tell whether you're technically making a left-turn movement or a "forward" movement onto the overpass. There was a time when my husband and I were exiting I-75 late at night, and there was absolutely no traffic coming to our right - but we had a red light getting off the freeway. To be on the safe side, we waited until the light was green to proceed, but my question is... in Michigan, is it legal to make this left turn on red? Another way to ask this question is, does Michigan consider it a "left turn" movement or a "forward" movement? If it's truly considered a left turn, it seems like it would be legal to proceed on red. But if Michigan considers it a "forward" movement, proceeding on a red light would be illegal.

We were stumped about this. What does everyone think?

Here's the law in regards to left turns: 257.612, (1) (C) (ii): ...may make a left turn from a 1-way or 2-way street into a 1-way roadway carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn, unless prohibited by sign, signal, marking, light, or other traffic control device...

By the strict definition of the law, No.  The roadway you're turning onto isn't a one-way road. 

You may have cops that see it as a one-way to one-way.  And you'll have cops that's say what I just said above.  Without any specific guidance or law, both cops and courts can rule differently on this.  This would easily be resolved with simple signage such as "Left on Green Arrow Only", "No Turn on Red", or "Left on Red Arrow after Stop" (R10-17a, which can read either Right or Left).  Since DDIs are uncommon, clarification signage should have been used.
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Revive 755

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2017, 10:54:18 PM »

This is the off-ramp A.J. referenced:  https://goo.gl/maps/wgxbpq9usXC2

Unless a "no turn on red" sign is posted, my opinion is that proceeding on a red is legal.  If nothing else, the arrows painted on the ramp lane pavement indicate a turn movement, not a forward movement.

I'll second this, and add that there is still enough of an angle where the stop bars are placed on the ramp to consider it a left turn instead of a straight movement.

You may have cops that see it as a one-way to one-way.  And you'll have cops that's say what I just said above.  Without any specific guidance or law, both cops and courts can rule differently on this.  This would easily be resolved with simple signage such as "Left on Green Arrow Only", "No Turn on Red", or "Left on Red Arrow after Stop" (R10-17a, which can read either Right or Left).  Since DDIs are uncommon, clarification signage should have been used.

Perhaps the state law needs to be amended to clarify the separation between roadways before they are considered as separate roadways?

As for examples of DDI's with clarification signage that would allow the movement in question on red:

* IIRC I-57 at The Hill Avenue in Marion, IL

* I-40 at TN 66 (complete with non-MUTCD compliant signal indications)  Streetview
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Brandon

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 06:33:34 AM »

Michigan now has two Diverging Diamond Interchanges. My husband and I were in the Detroit area over the Christmas holiday weekend and used the DDI at I-75 and University Drive (in Oakland County) several times over the course of that weekend. We were wondering something, and I thought I'd ask folks in here for their opinions.

In Michigan, it is legal to turn left onto a one-way street on red. When exiting northbound I-75 onto westbound University Drive (or when exiting southbound to go eastbound), you are essentially making a left turn onto the one-way overpass carriageway). Because of the angle at which you are merging onto the overpass, it's hard to tell whether you're technically making a left-turn movement or a "forward" movement onto the overpass. There was a time when my husband and I were exiting I-75 late at night, and there was absolutely no traffic coming to our right - but we had a red light getting off the freeway. To be on the safe side, we waited until the light was green to proceed, but my question is... in Michigan, is it legal to make this left turn on red? Another way to ask this question is, does Michigan consider it a "left turn" movement or a "forward" movement? If it's truly considered a left turn, it seems like it would be legal to proceed on red. But if Michigan considers it a "forward" movement, proceeding on a red light would be illegal.

We were stumped about this. What does everyone think?

Here's the law in regards to left turns: 257.612, (1) (C) (ii): ...may make a left turn from a 1-way or 2-way street into a 1-way roadway carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn, unless prohibited by sign, signal, marking, light, or other traffic control device...

By the strict definition of the law, No.  The roadway you're turning onto isn't a one-way road. 

You may have cops that see it as a one-way to one-way.  And you'll have cops that's say what I just said above.  Without any specific guidance or law, both cops and courts can rule differently on this.  This would easily be resolved with simple signage such as "Left on Green Arrow Only", "No Turn on Red", or "Left on Red Arrow after Stop" (R10-17a, which can read either Right or Left).  Since DDIs are uncommon, clarification signage should have been used.

I strongly disagree.  Turning left here would be no different than turning left at a U-Turn in the median, which is allowable under the law as there is no potential for a crash due to turning left from a one-way to a two-way.
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Joe The Dragon

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 04:26:13 PM »

This is the off-ramp A.J. referenced:  https://goo.gl/maps/wgxbpq9usXC2

Unless a "no turn on red" sign is posted, my opinion is that proceeding on a red is legal.  If nothing else, the arrows painted on the ramp lane pavement indicate a turn movement, not a forward movement.

I'll second this, and add that there is still enough of an angle where the stop bars are placed on the ramp to consider it a left turn instead of a straight movement.

You may have cops that see it as a one-way to one-way.  And you'll have cops that's say what I just said above.  Without any specific guidance or law, both cops and courts can rule differently on this.  This would easily be resolved with simple signage such as "Left on Green Arrow Only", "No Turn on Red", or "Left on Red Arrow after Stop" (R10-17a, which can read either Right or Left).  Since DDIs are uncommon, clarification signage should have been used.

Perhaps the state law needs to be amended to clarify the separation between roadways before they are considered as separate roadways?

As for examples of DDI's with clarification signage that would allow the movement in question on red:

* IIRC I-57 at The Hill Avenue in Marion, IL

* I-40 at TN 66 (complete with non-MUTCD compliant signal indications)  Streetview

NON DDI where signage is needed.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.0505711,-87.9124003,3a,46.5y,215.49h,89.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_M35w87mSdTcEfgNssIB-w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
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A.J. Bertin

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 09:23:10 PM »

Thanks, everyone, for chiming in on this. It looks like different people have different opinions. I decided to reach out to Michigan State Police (MSP) and e-mail them my question to see if they could provide some clarity on the legality of the left turn (or forward movement?) on red in this instance. I agree with those who suggested that there should be some kind of signage (No Turn On Red, Turn On Green Only, or something along those lines), and I shared that suggestion with MSP.

Once I hear back from MSP (I'm hoping I do), I'll share what they told me.
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-A.J. from Michigan

A.J. Bertin

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 10:14:01 PM »

As of now, I still haven't heard back from Michigan State Police on my question. I wonder if they are just as stumped as I am about this! LOL
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-A.J. from Michigan

A.J. Bertin

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2017, 08:34:02 PM »

So... I heard back from an Inspector from the Michigan State Police. I was told that the left turn on red at a Diverging Diamond is indeed legal, and a Traffic Services Sergeant was going to forward my message to MDOT to see if there's a possibility that signage could be installed telling motorists that this movement is permitted. :)
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GeekJedi

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Re: Question about Diverging Diamonds in Michigan - left turns on red?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2017, 02:10:10 PM »

So... I heard back from an Inspector from the Michigan State Police. I was told that the left turn on red at a Diverging Diamond is indeed legal, and a Traffic Services Sergeant was going to forward my message to MDOT to see if there's a possibility that signage could be installed telling motorists that this movement is permitted. :)

Well done!
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