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Author Topic: Poor Road Design  (Read 1083 times)

Michael

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Poor Road Design
« on: March 28, 2019, 09:38:52 PM »

I came across two situations while driving yesterday that prompted me to make this topic.  I didn't think they fit in any of the redesign threads, so I figured I'd make this topic.

The first thing is the angle of departure on this ramp.  Yesterday was the first time I drove it, and I can't recall ever being on it as a passenger.  As I approached the curve, I quickly realized that I wasn't slowing down enough by coasting, so I hit the brakes.  As I reached the striping at the gore, I thought there should be chevrons and an advisory speed sign like the ones at this interchange.  If you pan to the right in my first Street View link, there is an exit advisory speed sign, but that's it.  When I take the next ramp in the interchange, I normally don't have to hit the brakes until where the middle car is in this Street View image.  It is weird though since after looking at both ramps in satellite view, they look like they have the same departure angle.  My guess as to why the first ramp is so tight is that the area around I-481 is classified as a wetland by the DEC.

After exiting I-481, I turned onto Erie Blvd.  After the right turn lane begins, there's a side street, but the lane continues to Erie Blvd.  It's obvious in the Street View image, but between being lower than the Street View camera and looking toward the sun, it was hard to tell if my lane continued or not.  I could barely see the lane lines continue, but I figured it had to continue since the overhead sign said the lane was for Erie Blvd.
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Rothman

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 09:53:09 PM »

Sounds more like driver error than bad design.
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Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 10:19:50 PM »

Could be worse, we still have a bunch of classic right-on/right-off ramps on CA 99.  Granted when said ramps were built they certainly were not considered a poor design.  Really there isn’t much objective criteria other than traffic accident statistics (personally I don’t think lack of adherence to Interstate standards is by default a bad design) that would denote a truly poor design.  Subjectively I can think of a ton of examples too numerous to list. 

TheStranger

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 10:32:10 PM »

The infamous EDSA arterial belt route in Metro Manila is essentially a Santa Clara County-style expressway that did not have land access managed well over a 25-30 year period, turning what should have been a local bypass into a perpetually choked link to multiple major commercial districts (particularly the Ortigas/Megamall complex in Mandaluyong & Pasig and the North EDSA mall in Quezon City).  Bus terminals with at-grade access to the avenue and lots of dense business frontages with no parking setback have led to needing multiple rail transit and new-build freeway projects (Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, NLEX Harbor Link/NLEX-SLEX Connector) to try to alleviate the overstressed corridor.
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Michael

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2019, 08:46:00 PM »

Sounds more like driver error than bad design.

In my defense, I was able to apply the brakes normally since I quickly realized just coasting wasn't slowing me down fast enough. :)  Based on this, it looks like each curve has a 400 foot radius.  Most loop ramps I've seen have at least a 500 foot radius.  Also, there's a pretty short deceleration lane.  I'm surprised that at this interchange if I start coasting on I-81 north a bit before the east to north loop comes in, I don't have to hit my brakes at all on the north to west loop.  By the time I get to where the loop tightens, I've slowed down to 25 MPH just by coasting.

Could be worse, we still have a bunch of classic right-on/right-off ramps on CA 99.  Granted when said ramps were built they certainly were not considered a poor design.  Really there isn’t much objective criteria other than traffic accident statistics (personally I don’t think lack of adherence to Interstate standards is by default a bad design) that would denote a truly poor design.  Subjectively I can think of a ton of examples too numerous to list. 

I've seen various tight RIROs in CA on Street View, and they look horrible.  On the way to a wedding last fall, I went by the (in?)famous Exit 111 RIRO on NY 17, and it looks much worse in person.  The ramps at Exit 122 are pretty bad too, and I posted about them in the NY 17/I-86 thread:

In early October of last year, I was on NY 17 eastbound from Binghamton until Exit 124 in Goshen on the way to a friend's wedding.  I was surprised at how suddenly the amount of traffic increased heading down the hill before Exit 120 in Middletown.  Traffic was a bit heavy at times, but kept moving.  We went between Exit 120 and Exit 122 a few times because the hotel we spent the night at was one of the ones at Exit 122.  The RIRO ramps at Exit 122 for NY 17 westbound were super tight, and I was surprised that they weren't changed from their original design since the interchange was redesigned in 2015 according to Historic Aerials.
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Michael

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2019, 08:42:32 PM »

I figured I'd revisit this thread since I drove on a road on Wednesday that I thought had a poor design.  I had been on NY 298 eastbound for a while, and I was in the far left lane here because when the road widened from a single lane, I never switched lanes, plus I was ultimately going to the eastern end of NY 298 and wanted to avoid any right turning cars or right turn lanes.  The signs on the right indicate NY 298 goes straight, and there are no "ONLY" arrows and/or signs, so I assumed I was in a through lane.  Once I got here, I thought I was in a left-turn lane for the u-turn on the left side of the image because there were dashed lines painted across the lane and I couldn't see the gore since I was lower than the Street View camera.  Once I got closer, I realized I was still going straight, but I quickly realized that I was heading for the upcoming circle.

After passing the u-turn ramp, I realized that the lane to my right was an option lane once I got here.  It was easy to just go through the circle instead of following the signs through the bypass lanes, but I thought that it could be signed better.  The circle itself has lanes that merge and split at each leg with super short weaves.  There are yield signs, but they seem put up as an afterthought.  I looked for traffic before entering the circle, but I don't recall seeing a yield sign (even though there's one on the left in Street View).  Also, there's no line across the pavement on this approach, or 2 of the other ones (1 of the 4 has a line).  Thankfully, the circle isn't too busy, but I would think it was bad when there were more businesses in the area.

A bit to the east, Carrier Circle was the busiest I've ever seen it, and there was a line of cars waiting.  I'll quote my post in the New York thread below:
EDIT: I forgot to mention that on this past Wednesday, I saw Carrier Circle the busiest I've ever seen it.  The circle was full of cars, and I had to wait in a line that stretched from the yield sign at the circle to the median turn ramp at Old Court St on the left side of this image.  I saw a line of cars waiting at Thompson Rd too.  I was driving through during rush hour, which I've never done before.  This was the first time I've ever seen a line of cars waiting at the circle.
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Michael

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2019, 07:12:35 PM »

I came across yet another poorly designed road last night.  I wanted to turn left here onto Franklin St (the 45° turn to the left), but I assumed the turn arrow was for the West St ramp, so I didn't move over to the turn lane.  At the last minute, I realized the turn lane was for both turns.  I tried to move over to the turn lane since there was no one behind me but I ended up turning while straddling the line between the through and turn lane.  Since Street View went through, a small "Franklin/West Ramp" sign has been added above the turn arrow, and the left through lane now has a straight only arrow.  The problem with the "Franklin/West Ramp" sign is that it's too small and hard to read.  When I saw it, I was thinking of this sign and the Franklin St/West St exit from I-81, and it would have been too late to turn if there were other cars behind me.  I would use a double left turn arrow with 90° and 45º arrow heads instead of the existing turn sign.  It looks like this was done for the turns from the other direction and from Franklin St.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2019, 01:18:03 PM »

Maybe signage ain't the best, but there's nothing wrong with the road design in any of these GSVs you presented.
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GCrites80s

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2019, 09:25:18 PM »

^Yeah, they're just old.
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Super Mateo

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2019, 08:51:59 PM »

I haven't been there personally, but I have watched this messy intersection over in Jackson, WY.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EiC9bvVGnk

Among the things I've seen:
-Eastbound lane misalignment, causing the occasional "straight from left turn lane" maneuver
-Left turns banned in 3 directions
-Flash mode from midnight to 6 AM
-Parked cars as a potential hazard very close to the light
-Heavy pedestrian traffic, with the N/S movement not getting much time
-A dotted double line going N/S to guide traffic across the intersection

The flash mode I simply don't agree with because everyone has to stop.  Everything else, though, is a problem.  If an intersection is properly designed, turns will never need to be prohibited.  I'd say pedestrians should get their own cycle while ALL car traffic stops.  Completely restripe the E/W street by turning the left lane westbound into a left turning lane and reversing the left lane after the junction into the new EB turning lane.  EB's left turn lane would change to straight and the straight lane becomes a right turn lane. They can split phase the N/S road.
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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2019, 09:47:35 PM »

If an intersection is properly designed, turns will never need to be prohibited.

An intersection with all left turns prohibited is 2 phases. If all turns are allowed, it requires 4 phases. (Add 1 to each number if there's a pedestrian phase.)
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GCrites80s

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2019, 10:03:08 PM »

Drastic increases in volume over time can cause that. It often wasn't a bad design initially.
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webny99

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Re: Poor Road Design
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2019, 08:31:32 AM »

If all turns are allowed, it requires 4 phases.

Rochester's eastern suburbs would like a word...
There are more all-turns allowed, 2-phase traffic signals, than I can count.
Here are just a few examples.
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