Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Correction: Exit from Arco into Westbound Fell Traffic Legal

Motorists exiting the Arco service station onto Fell Street may legally cross the solid white stripe and enter the westbound traffic lane. I mistakenly stated in a post last week that the new traffic configuration for Fell Street motorists approaching Divisadero limited Arco customers to only turning left onto Divisadero Street. However, after a review of the California Vehicle Code (CVC), it's clear that there's nothing in the CVC that states road users cannot cross a solid line and, therefore, are not required to turn left at this intersection. The state code does require the driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a street from any private property to yield the right-of-way to all traffic "close enough to constitute an immediate hazard." (CVC 21804a)

This conclusion was confirmed in recent email correspondence between John Rogers, a BIKE NOPA reader and daily bike commuter on Fell, and James Shahamiri, a traffic engineer for the Municipal Transportation Agency. Shahamiri wrote, "It continues to be legal for vehicles to exit the gas station and to turn left onto Fell, either to merge with through traffic on Fell, or to turn left on Divisadero." Rogers' inquiry to MTA was independent of my own coverage of the ongoing developments at this troubled intersection. He provided the emails to me directly.

Although Rogers wrote that he believed the new configuration made biking through the Fell Street segment even more risky than before, Shahamiri replied that the addition of the left turn lane "has not changed the interaction between cars and bicycles." He explained that the previous part-time tow-away area acted as a left-turn pocket. Under the new arrangement, that pocket now functions on a full-time basis.

A final note: while Arco customers have flexibility upon exiting the station, westbound Fell traffic can only turn left onto southbound Divisadero from the new Left Turn Only lane.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not quite sure of the legal standing of continuous white lines, but yes, there are many examples when they can be crossed, including merging into or across bike lanes.

    Even the solid double yellow line can be crossed, for example, when turning into or out of a driveway.

    The only line that CAN'T be crossed is the quadruple yellow (two sets of continuous yellow lines with some space between them) which is the equivalent of a raised medium, but with a lower budget.