This recently changed lane configuration on Ellsworth Street near Ninth in Albany looked as though it might solve a problem. But it has exchanged one problem for another, and ODOT should fix it as soon as it can.
The dotted lane marker on this block of the state highway was supposed to funnel traffic into the left of two turning lanes so that drivers in the right lane could change to the middle so they, too, could turn left on Ninth toward the highway underpass.
Instead, I’ve seen drivers ignore the dotted line and keep rolling straight into the middle, the way we’ve done it for years. So if someone in the right lane starts pulling into the center to make the turn, it’s highly possible that sheet metal will get bent. Or worse.
This was not the idea. The idea was to allow traffic to use both lanes of Ellsworth from First to Eighth with the assurance that cars in the right lane would also be able to make the turn. But this won’t happen as long as that line stays dashed. It ought to be repainted as a solid line at least.
Ron Irish, the city of Albany’s traffic engineer, told me last week he would ask ODOT to repaint the line solid. As of Wednesday, though, ODOT had not yet made the change. (hh)