The city of Sarasota has reportedly traded one problem for another based on evidence that a recently implemented traffic solution is resulting in an increase in auto accidents. For years, motorists complained about traffic jams on the Ringling Causeway Bridge headed toward the mainland. Some said the gridlock could last for hours as motorists sat on the highway facing northbound on U.S. 41.
The city finally responded by designating a lane previously meant for straight-through traffic as a right turn-only lane. This move was meant to solve the ongoing issue of long delays, but it has possibly had an unfortunate effect in that it has led to an increase in accidents at the intersection.
A force of habit
Although only those intending to turn right should be in the far right lane, many are not accustomed to the change and still use this lane for traveling straight through the intersection. Many cars slow to make the turn and collide with other vehicles. Naturally, these accidents shut down the lanes and cause even more substantial delays than the traffic jams the change was meant to remedy in the first place.
City officials are not giving up quite yet, however, and many blame a lack of signage for the issues. There is currently no “right turn only” sign, and drivers who have taken this route for years do not realize a change has been made. Public officials are hopeful that by adding signs and pavement markings, drivers will adjust their habits and there will eventually be fewer accidents occurring at the intersection.
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