Right turn only onto Miranda Around Town, posted by 100% bicycle commuter, a resident of Los Altos, on Oct 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm
I commute by bicycle every day from Los Altos to my job on Stanford campus. Most days I make a right turn from Arastradero onto Foothill. The stop light is actually at Miranda, and there is a right-turn-only lane onto Miranda. About once or twice a week, I see that a motorist is stopped in the right-turn-only lane, then proceeds straight to merge onto Foothill when the light turns green. The car to my left is also usually turning onto Foothill. This sandwiches me, as a cyclist, between two cars, only one of which should be there.
I actually don't mind. As a cyclist who has never owned a car, I cherish my own independence and ability to handle any situation. Only occasionally do things become at all a bit close. Rather, this problem far more greatly affects motorists who want to turn right onto Miranda: they're stuck at a (long) red light instead of getting to turn, just because the motorist up front has it wrong!
It occurred to me this morning that as a cyclist, I'm in a unique position to observe what's going on, while the motorists who are stuck behind the stopped car actually can't see what's happening. So today I'm advocating for those motorists: we need to do something about that lane. The four or so signs are not enough or are too ambiguous. There needs to be two completely over-the-top, ridiculously obvious signs that the lane does not turn onto Foothill: one at the beginning of the turn lane (so that a motorist doesn't enter to the right of two columns of stopped cars, only to find out later, when the motorist is locked in, what the true situation is) and one at the turn itself. One possible approach would be to add signs that say what the lane is *not* for: for example, "NO TURN onto Foothill".
Posted by Right Turn on Miranda, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm
I totally understand what you are saying. I need to make a right turn on Miranda every afternoon, but a lot of time I was stuck behind those drivers who are waiting for the green light to go onto Foothill. My guess is they don't want to wait in the long line and by waiting in the right turn only lane instead, they actually get into Foothill earlier because the cars who are following the signs normally have to "yield" to these drivers. I don't think they did not see the multiple signs; hey just ignore them.
Posted by 100% bicycle commuter, a resident of Los Altos, on Oct 18, 2012 at 2:19 am
Thanks for your thoughts! I totally agree with you: there certainly are some drivers who knowingly take advantage of that lane. There's not much we can do about them.
But I also believe that the majority of drivers are not completely aware of what they are doing. I think the most dishonest thing that most of the drivers do is get in the right lane without realizing what it means; then when they're stuck, they just hope for the best and plow ahead. So a big, obvious sign at the beginning of the lane saying "NO TURN onto Foothill; no, really, we mean it!" would solve that problem.
And a big, obvious sign at the end that everyone can see might at least make those who are doing what they're doing in full knowledge blush a little.
Posted by Avoiding those cars on my way onto Foothill, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm
I feel your pain from the other lane...I regularly turn right from Arastradero onto Foothill and must keep a sharp eye out for both bicyclists and cars that drive ahead from the right-turn-only-onto-Miranda lane. I suspect a lot of these cars are completely oblivious to the signs, especially those unfamiliar with this complicated intersection...in heavy traffic, cars must enter the right-turn lane well before the signs are easily visible (esp if large vehicles obscure the view ahead). Even when the signs are visible, I suspect the unique flavor of this intersection confuses drivers.