A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A traffic change: Dotted line turns solid

Written December 13th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Behold that solid white line angling across Ellsworth in front of St. Mary’s. It was new on Thursday.

ODOT has followed through on changing an important lane marking on Ellsworth Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues. Now let’s see if Albany drivers get the hint.

After ODOT repaved the downtown couplet of Highway 20 this fall, it went along with a suggestion by city traffic engineer Ron Irish (and me, some time ago) to allow both lanes of Ellsworth to make a left turn at Ninth. It painted a broken or dotted diagonal line to allow this. But the dotted line was widely ignored.

On Thursday, though, the broken white line had been made solid, requiring drivers to stay in their left lane. Now drivers in the right lane on Ellsworth have the right of way to drift left after Eighth and get into the center lane to make a left at the Ninth Avenue light. In theory, anyway, this should eliminate the need to get into the left lane as far back as the Ellsworth Street bridge, and this should add to the capacity of Ellsworth without any actual expansion.

But on Thursday night, during a couple of minutes of observation, the newly solid lane marking had not caught all drivers’ attention. Several vehicles including two school buses sailed straight ahead, crossing the line as though it wasn’t there. In the interest of preventing sideswipe collisions, maybe a couple of those warning signs upstream — “Traffic control change ahead” — might help. (hh)

Crossing the new solid lane marker on Thursday night.

And another one  …

And another …

And one more.





19 responses to “A traffic change: Dotted line turns solid”

  1. Cathy Schlecht says:

    NEXT: Paint arrows directing people that do not know the rules of the road…

  2. Paul Dauphin says:

    Why don’t they put up a sign (you’d think it would not be needed) saying “NO LEFT TURN ON RED” at the intersection of 9th and Ellsworth….. There’s a lot of left turners (on a red light0 (who aren’t looking right/east down 9th St) crossing in front of cars going west on 9th St., turning into the far left lane (9th St.) to turn south on Lyon St,. .. I’ve almost been hit several times.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      I think your compass directions are turned around. For instance, from Ninth Avenue on to Lyon is a turn to the north.

      • tom cordier says:

        I turn left on a red light on to 9th from the left and/or center lanes—-after looking to the right for clearance. That’s legal and encouraged to move traffic along.

  3. Mary Ellen says:

    So can we turn left on the red light at Ellsworth and 9th?

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Yes, both lanes after stopping, one way to one way is legal

      • JD says:

        I thought if they are red arrows, you are not allowed to turn. Is that not the case?
        If it isn’t the case, what is the significance of having red arrows there?

        • Rich Kellum says:

          when I asked the Albany Police during my stint at the Citizens academy I was told it was legal to turn after the stop and check of traffic

        • Dad says:

          I wondered the same thing: what’s the purpose of the lighted arrows? Apparently just to keep the traveling public from doing something really silly.
          Anyway, I recently visited the Albany DMV. As they extracted money from my wallet, I inquired. Yes, left turn on red is legal, arrow or no!

          Ooh, how about replacing the traffic lights with a double-circle roundabout? That would really keep the traffic flowing! Yeah, no, that’s not gonna happen.

        • JD says:

          I noticed the red arrow use as I was turning left from Geary onto Pacific (near Walgreens). Maybe Oregon uses the red arrow to indicate that it is a one way street, where many other states use them for do not turn on red.
          I was born/raised/learned to drive in Oregon, and when visiting another state received a ticket for turning on a red arrow, so I have been cautious.
          The Oregon DMV manual didn’t really make it clear, I will now turn with confidence. :)

  4. J. Jacobson says:

    Just like the rest of Albany’s infatuation with the status quo, this particular fork in the road will remain problematic. As long as Albany’s residents continue to view the world thru their rearview mirror, we can expect ongoing aggravation and avoidable crashes at this locale. Times change. Things change. People change. Traffic lanes change. If you wish to live your life in the past, that’s fine. But if your rearward vision causes the death or injury of another person operating their vehicle legally while you insist on the “good old days,” then you will pay a price.

    • James Engel says:

      What are you moaning & groaning on & on about J. Jacobson?? I’m on Ellsworth St at 9th so it’s a simple issue of making a left turn from a one way- Ellsworth St (South more or less) to travel east bound on 9th Ave ( a one way) regardless of what the signal is showing. With traffic clear on 9th then I can turn left! Your ponderings are odd.

    • centrist says:

      Apparently, JJ has a point in mind. Can’t find it tho

  5. North Albany Guy says:

    Also assume bicyclist going straight should use the middle lane (or the crosswalk.)

  6. centrist says:

    Absolutely a good solution. The left lane moves left (like most did anyway). The right moves left to turn or merges right to go straight. Helps sorting out the merge in the ramp to Pacific and unloads traffic on Ellsworth.
    Now, please move faster than 20-

  7. Shawn says:

    I’ll bet the paint was still wet when an officer gave me a ticket for unlawful lane change. I also wonder if it was sheer coincidence that was sitting in the Exit of the funeral home.

  8. Constant Observer says:

    The Oregon Driver’s Manual says that crossing a wide solid white line is permitted but discouraged. If your only fault was crossing the solid white line, perhaps you could quote the Driver’s Manual in your defense. It could be that lack of using a turn signal was also involved, or perhaps you turned into the wrong lane of travel on 9th.


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