Tight turn for trucks creates traffic mess

My Ballard reader Roy Hobbs sent us this picture:

“At least twice a week, I see a truck getting hung up making the right turn from 15th to get on to Market heading east,” he writes. “This snarls traffic for several cycles of the light because the drivers can’t negotiate the turn, especially with the lightpost where it is. I noticed as I was driving by that the lightpost that is being rubbed by the truck in the picture is heavily damaged from previous incidents. Somebody if going to get hurt if the city doesn’t address this problem.” We’ve seen it many times, too, jamming up traffic in the intersection.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

14 thoughts to “Tight turn for trucks creates traffic mess”

  1. This is absolutely true. I've been standing at that corner, waiting to cross, and seen a big truck like that jumping up onto the curb and getting dangerously close to the light pole. A co-driver had to jump out of the cab and help indicate to the driver how close he was to the pole. If this is a persistent problem, I'd like to see some solution.

  2. I think the solution is truck drivers should stop being idiots. Trucks make wide right turns; you'd think the drivers would figure that out.

  3. The solution is obvious. We need to take that lane away and replace it with another bike lane. Then we can all hope this problem away. This is too easy. Perhaps SDOT should actually do something progressive and modernize a few things in aging Ballard. I believe some cities also prohibit big trucks during AM/PM drive times. But that would probably make too much sense. Like many things, common sense aint so common these days. Without truckers/trains we'd all be bleep outta luck when shopping. Necessary evil.

  4. There are a lot of tight spots for trucks to navigate, and this is one of the worst. It's not so much the truck driver's lack of skill as it is a difficult turn for a rig that large. Having watched many a big truck navigate a Northgate parking lot (without turning it into a monster truck event) I'm amazed at the patience and skill most drivers show.

  5. I see this all the time as well. I think it has a lot to do with how Safeway has their loading dock in the front of the building (practically in the parking lot) and the trucks are navigating their way to it. The loading docks are in a awkward part of the Safeway building.

  6. Take a look just a few blocks south. Trucks turning off Leary to get onto the 15th Ave on-ramp (northbound) regularly scrape the *wooden* utility pole on the corner, taking chunks out of it.

    You can even see the damage in Google Street View


    Take a peek now and you'll see its has become notably more pronounced since then. In this case, not much to be done unless you want to forbid trucks from making a right turn off of Leary.

  7. Along those lines, I saw another Garbage Truck 'near' incident at the top of the big hill at Phinney and 65th(by Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe) recently. The truck was making a right turn heading down the hill(East) and got hung up on the curb. With cars coming up the hill having to back down to give it room. Was able to make it after a few manuevers but barely missed the light pole

  8. My guess is that the curb radius at that corner is sub-standard. I am a civil engineer and have seen this problem all around Seattle. I live in Ballard and have noticed trucks having a tough time at this intersection, too. The reius on this corner is most likely 20-foot like many corners in Seattle. By todays design guidelines, both Market and 15th would require—at least—25-foot radii at all corners, if not 30-foot. Both streets are regional connector arterials and have truck/bus traffic on them.

  9. I'm a Ballardite civil engineer and I'd guess that the curb radius is sub-standard. This is common throughout Seattle and is slowly being corrected as redevelopment occurs. Both of these streets are classified as regional collector arterials and would require a 25-foot or 30-foot radius curb. A curb radius is the distance from the arc of the curb line to the center of the arc (in general, the larger the street, the larger the radius). Since that curb is especially problematic, I'm guessing that radius is 20-feet, based on other development projects in the area.

  10. The curb /street dips down there, so if you are walking across on a rainy day you have to take a big step to avoid the “lake” just off the curb where water collects.

  11. Years ago I saw an 18-wheeler hung up on a post making that turn. The right wheels on the trailer were all the way off the ground. I was surprised that it hadn't taken out the pole entirely.

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