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Problem Intersection: Memorial Drive And Boulevard

Four-way intersection has four left-hand turn signals, but only three dedicated left-hand turn lanes.

At morning and evening rush hour, the intersection of Boulevard and Memorial Drive can be trying on one's nerves.

Adding the frustration is the traffic signal layout of the intersection for motorists making left-hand turns.

There are four dedicated left-hand turn signals at all four corners of the intersection, where Cabbagetown and Grant Park meet.

The problem, as Space Ship, an East Atlanta Patch reader, points out: Only three of the corners have dedicated left-hand turn lanes.

Motorists traveling east on Memorial and wishing to turn left on Boulevard may have to sit through one or two signal change cycles to do so since their lane isn't left-turn only.

That left-hand turn at the corner of Historic Oakland Cemetery is dangerous for a few reasons, Space Ship says.

"The traffic signal has a protected left turn, but there is no dedicated left turn lane. If someone is in front of the line going straight when the protected green indication comes up, sometimes those drivers will impatiently pass the straight vehicle — in the opposing lane — to make the left turn," he wrote in an e-mail to Patch.

"This is particularly dangerous, because if a vehicle is turning right from Boulevard onto Memorial Drive westbound, the cemetery wall blocks the line of sight from both parties, which could lead to a disastrous crash.

"Why would the city put up a protected left turn signal without a turn lane? So many people use Memorial Drive in the afternoon to commute from downtown, that the left turn at this location is useless!"

One possible fix could be to simply convert that lane into a left-hand-turn-only lane. But that would cut eastbound traffic on Memorial to one lane at that intersection. That risks making the rush hour commutes even more maddening.

What would be the best way to address the problem?

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UPDATE: In our last , we looked at the stretch of McPherson Avenue at Flat Shoals and Moreland avenues.

The problem at McPherson and Flat Shoals: a four-way intersection but only three stop signs. The issue at McPherson and Moreland was a design problem that sometimes had motorists driving southbound on Moreland, driving into oncoming traffic when making a left turn onto McPherson.

We heard from Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong, who said the McPherson-Flat Shoals intersection has been a concern.

"During the EAV Streetscape improvement process, this intersection was an obvious point of concern. Despite requests to either add an additional stop sign or to otherwise improve the traffic flow at this intersection, the City's Traffic and Transportation Dept. did not support any of the recommended changes," Archibong told East Atlanta Patch in an e-mail.

"I'll suggest another review of this intersection, and I'll let you know what the City's traffic engineers suggest."

As for the Moreland and McPherson intersection, Jill Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation said the agency has a plan for reconstructing that intersection.

However, she said she did not have a specific timetable as to when that work would begin.

Tammy June 06, 2012 at 12:49 PM
I seem to recall that there used to be a dedicated left hand turn lane on Memorial to Boulevard but then they repaved and restriped and took it away.
Dark Knight June 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM
There are many intersections like this that will give the westbound side of the road the dedicated green turning signal first and then give what would be the Memorial / Boulevard side mentioned above the green turn signal AND the green light for lanes moving eastbound. After the turn signal expires then the light should turn green for the westbound traveling automobiles.
Space Ship June 06, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Thanks for posting this, Peralte. Dark Knight: It's more than a issue of adjusting signal timing to make the phases work properly. The existing geometry of this intersection doesn't support a protected left turn without a turn lane. I'm surprised there haven't been more head-on collisions at this intersection from the flagrant left-turners who skip around cars at the head of the line. I cringe every time I see this - and it happens just about every day. The City MUST take a hard look at this intersection and either add the left turn lane or take away the left turn phase altogether.
Dark Knight June 06, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Agreed. An added lane would be a more appropriate fix.
Greg Hazlehurs June 06, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Dark knight above has yhe best solution
nbarnett June 06, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I live near this intersection and have seen drivers pass on the left in the westbound lanes--it's dangerous not just for other vehicles but pedestrians and bicylists--there are many in this area. It seems the easiest (ie: cheapest) solution would be creative phasing, either a combination of protected/permissive greens, or switching left turns to the end of the phase. Phasing like this occurs on offset ("dogleg") intersections such as Moreland/Glenwood. This type of fix would be helpful until a better, long-term solution. The addition of a left turn lane (which would be the best solution) would require right-of-way acquisition on the south side of the intersection (the check cashing place and the tire/rim shop). I think this intersection is included in the 15% project list on the TSPLOST and would be addressed with that...

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