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  1. TopTop #1
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    It seems almost common in Sebastopol.
    Today I had a commercial truck + trailer slam on its brakes in front of me because someone pulled out of Safeway's parking lot into the middle lane next to him. Yesterday I counted 3 cars doing the same manuver with 1 trip through town.
    Countless times have I wanted to exit Andy's or the gravenstein station, only to have my path blocked by someone sitting in the middle lane.
    It's not a crutch for impatience or inability to properly make a left hand turn...
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  2. TopTop #2
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting Member

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    I know just what you mean, ChefJayTay! The traffic is heavier in Sebastopol now and the traffic studies that need to be done may or may not be in the works. After forty sweet years in county, mostly west county, I've seen Sebastopol become a tourist destination with the Barlow - that highway construction (with our tax dollars) widening the entrance to the town came just in time. Traffic being heavy both ways at Safeway and Andy's does cause people to move into the center lane as waiting cars pile up behind them. The traffic light at Occidental Road now takes some time to move through. So the traffic problem is widespread due to what we call gentrification. What other direction could've been taken? For me, that's now the question.
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  4. TopTop #3
    JimmyL's Avatar
    JimmyL
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.



    It's called the Suicide Lane for a reason.
    The Vehicle Code says that you are not to drive for more than 200 feet in it. Whether entering or leaving traffic.
    So the idiot who flew past us as we were heading for the Occidental light on 116 , using it as a left turn lane was clearly scoffing the law. It's all these people who went to Video Game Driving School.
    And then there's the red light runners at just about any light you stop at, don't get me started.
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  5. TopTop #4
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    Most of us have broken the Vehicle Code laws many times during our driving history. So, to say that it's "all these people who went to Video Game Driving School" is just a poor attempt at a joke, or serious faulty judgement. Even if we pass the driving test most of us won't recall the many detailed laws in the code book, and new ones that aren't in the book we studied several years ago.

    Many times people break the driving/parking laws intentionally for a variety of their own reasons, which may be that they have other priorities or places to go, and aren't aware of the consequences of their actions, until they are found at fault for an accident that injures or kills someone. Since most of us may be on "auto-pilot" in familiar areas, our minds may be somewhere else. That's a common, but very dangerous situation. Ever driven several miles, and realized that you don't remember passing certain places? I know I have.

    Aside from that fact, many people don't use "common sense" (a lost art?) when driving, especially on surface streets with lots of traffic, like Sebastopol. Last night, I saw the result of a serious accident on Old Redwood Hwy in Penngrove. The car was completely smashed in the front like an accordion, and there were three rescue vehicles there, with the driver on a gurney. I rarely see this road very busy, except at commuter times, but this was almost 8pm. I didn't see another car, so it may have been towed away.

    Sebastopol might benefit from additional signage to deal with the additional traffic, even though many drivers don't pay attention to signs. They may need another "sign" or wake up call, as the result of an unwise driving decision.

    Traffic in Sebastopol is one of the main reasons I don't want to live there. And as I get older, it's getting harder to turn my head around to check traffic coming in to the same lane I'm moving in to. I've lived in RPk
    for the past 11 years, and enjoyed the good traffic flow, and the many alternative ways to get where I needed to go. With the new homes being built (5000 total) I've watched the traffic increase a little, and it's only going to get worse. As much as I've loved living in RPk for the ease of traffic, and the multitude of places to get groceries within a 2 mile radius, I've given up my resistance to leaving, and will be moving to Petaluma. I have noticed that gas prices are over 10 cents more a gallon, so I won't be buying gas there. I may also discover that overall prices are higher, so I may continue to shop in RPk. Time will tell.

    If you're as attached to Sebastopol as I was to RPk, you may have to "let go" as I did, and hopefully it will be a result of conscious acceptance that it's getting too dangerous from increased gentrification, and/or those gentrifiers (no such word?) or tourists being the ones with enough money to drive under the influence, after extensive wine tours, or events at wineries. It's a volatile combination, and will prove deadly for some residents and visitors, as we've already witnessed.

    Hope the conscious Wacco readers will slow down and pay closer attention when driving in Sebastopol, even if they can well afford the traffic tickets. Money doesn't protect us from accidents (injuries or death) prevention does. Most accidents are preventable, as most of us know from our own experience. And there really are a limited amount of close calls, no matter how good our "Karma" is or if we view ourselves as cats, with 9 lives.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-19-2017 at 12:14 PM.
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  7. TopTop #5
    barfly's Avatar
    barfly
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    Why would a truck slam on its brakes because another vehicle pulled into an adjacent lane? Was someone going too fast or not clear where they were going?

    The California Driver Handbook section on lane control says:
    "A center left turn lane is located in the middle of a two-way street and is marked on both sides by two painted lines... When turning left from a side street or driveway, signal and wait until it is safe. Then you may drive into the center left turn lane. Enter traffic only when it is safe."

    Unless the car pulling out from Safeway traveled more than 200' in the center lane, this indicates it was legal and appropriate.

    Quote ChefJayTay wrote: View Post
    Today I had a commercial truck + trailer slam on its brakes in front of me because someone pulled out of Safeway's parking lot into the middle lane next to him.
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  9. TopTop #6
    Gene's Avatar
    Gene
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    Hi Chef, it is perfectly legal to pull into the center lane leaving Safeway. Just poor driving to not make it obvious your not going to cut in front of traffic. On the topic of traffic many of us avoid Sebastopol if possible because of it. Pedestrian friendly and traffic friendly are hard to combine. Sebastopol is definitely not traffic friendly. The left turn onto highway 12 is an exercise in frustration. The only solution I can think of is a by-pass to allow all of us traveling to the west county to stay out of town all together unless we need to be there. Gene
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  11. TopTop #7
    Lakalu
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    My problem is people using it as a merging lane. Correct behavior is to enter and STOP and then either make the left turn or if coming out of a driveway and turning left (i.e. Safeway), waiting in the middle lane until traffic on right is clear. Do NOT accelerate to merge. It's exactly for Left Turns, that's the point.

    From DMV Hadbook:
    Center Left Turn Lanes

    A center left turn lane is located in the middle of a two-way street and is marked on both sides by two painted lines. The inner line is broken and the outer line is solid. If a street has a center left turn lane, you must use it to prepare for or make a left turn, or to prepare for or make a permitted U-turn (CVC §21460.5 (c)). You may only drive for 200 feet in the center left turn lane. This lane is not a regular traffic lane or a passing lane. To turn left from this lane, signal, look over your shoulder, and drive completely inside the center left turn lane. Do not stop with the back of your vehicle blocking traffic. Make sure the lane is clear in both directions and then turn only when it is safe. Look for vehicles coming toward you in the same lane, preparing to start their left turn.

    When turning left from a side street or driveway, signal and wait until it is safe. Then you may drive into the center left turn lane. Enter traffic only when it is safe.


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  13. TopTop #8
    barfly's Avatar
    barfly
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    Hmmm... How do you get from the center lane to the traffic lane without merging? Maybe I don't understand what you mean by merging. If you don't accelerate to the speed of traffic, how do you move from center to the traffic lane without cutting someone off? At the risk of being pedantic, if you stop and then never accelerate, aren't you just stopped forever?! Other than the requirement to limit center lane travel to less than 200' why are you required to stop?

    Edit: Thinking about this, maybe what you mean is when traffic is heavy and someone tries to force themselves between cars when there is no gap large enough to safely do so. In that case I would agree, that you can't safely merge without violating the 200' rule unless you stop first and wait for a break in traffic.

    Quote Lakalu wrote: View Post
    My problem is people using it as a merging lane. Correct behavior is to enter and STOP and then either make the left turn or if coming out of a driveway and turning left (i.e. Safeway), waiting in the middle lane until traffic on right is clear. Do NOT accelerate to merge. It's exactly for Left Turns, that's the point.
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  15. TopTop #9
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    I've noticed that sometimes guidelines/laws/rules seem clear on paper, but when you're in the real 3D world of distracted drivers talking or texting, depressed drivers, hurrying drivers, poor drivers, and drivers with kids fighting in the back, those handbook rules/laws are easily forgotten. Can anyone relate? Obviously, we're all guilty of not following the rules of the handbook, but it's nice to have them clearly spelled out here.

    Quote barfly wrote: View Post
    Hmmm... How do you get from the center lane to the traffic lane without merging? ....
    Last edited by Barry; 04-21-2017 at 01:16 PM.
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  17. TopTop #10
    Hotspring 44's Avatar
    Hotspring 44
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    Quote JimmyL wrote: View Post
    It's called the Suicide Lane for a reason.
    An FYI, The “Two-Way Left Turn Lane” like the ones on Highway 116 in Sebastopol that are in front of Andy's Produce and Safeway are Not what a “Suicide Lane" actually is.

    Anyway, At: https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/services/...s_longdesc.htm
    In the third graphic down the page, the leftmost lane illustration is what an actual “Suicide Lane” actually has for decades been refereed to as being...
    ...The text referring to that lane is:
    The "Three-Lane Roadways" figure shows Passing Permitted in Direction Having Single Lane is a two-way marking with passing permitted in single-lane direction.

    A three-lane roadway is shown with arrows indicating the direction of travel as a single lane traveling south and two lanes traveling north.

    A broken yellow line is shown adjacent to the southbound lane, and a solid yellow line is shown adjacent to the leftmost of the two northbound lanes.

    A broken white line is shown separating the two northbound lanes. A solid white line is shown on the outer edge of the southbound lane and the rightmost northbound lane.”

    I used to live in a subdivision whereas in order to get onto the access road into the subdivision you had to occupy the passing lane (left lane in 2-lane direction... ...THE SUICIDE LANE!) and hope that you were not going to get rear-ended before being able to make the turn!

    Never mind a head-on which was less likely in that particular location.

    And Yes, the traffic in the single-lane, in one direction in that illustration may use the actual “suicide lane” to pass “when it is “safe””
    Last edited by Hotspring 44; 04-21-2017 at 06:04 PM. Reason: some typo and sumantic corrections
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  19. TopTop #11
    ChefJayTay's Avatar
    ChefJayTay
     

    Re: The center lane is NOT for entering traffic.

    Quote barfly wrote: View Post
    ...

    Unless the car pulling out from Safeway traveled more than 200' in the center lane, this indicates it was legal and appropriate.
    That only makes sense if you consider pulling into the center lane, when there clearly is no space for the vehicle in current traffic, entering safely. The person was clearly impatient. They should have remained in the Safeway parking lot until traffic had cleared to a point they could enter. I feel sorry for semi drivers who go through our town.
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