A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Second turn lane from First: Not in sight

Written September 5th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

On Thursday afternoon, First Avenue traffic waiting to turn right on the Lyon Street bridge is backed up to Montgomery Street.

Whatever happened to the idea, a reader wanted to know, of adding a second right turn lane on Albany’s First Avenue at the Lyon Street bridge?

The answer is that the idea is still kicking around. But nothing’s getting done about it because of ODOT inaction and lack of designated funding.

As it is, traffic on First Avenue backs up most afternoons because the signal at Lyon Street, which is Highway 20, favors the highway. Almost all those vehicles are waiting to turn right across the bridge into Benton County.

Four or five years ago, says Ron Irish, the city’s transportation systems analyst, the idea of adding a second right-turn lane from First to the bridge was added to the list of potential projects in Albany’s Transportation Systems Plan.

ODOT consent is required, and the city hoped the state would add the extra lane to its list of funded projects. But it hasn’t happened. And Irish says if the state doesn’t come around, the city some day may consider doing this with its own money. That decision has not been made.

Adding the second turn lane would mean acquiring a small amount of additional right of way and getting rid of four or five parking spaces. “The loss of parking would be a concern but probably worth it given the capacity and delay improvements that would result from the addition of a second turn lane,” Irish wrote in an email.

But don’t count on this taking place any time soon, perhaps not in the lifetime of some of the drivers waiting on First. (hh)

4 responses to “Second turn lane from First: Not in sight”

  1. Tim Hanson says:

    Why does traffic back-up on 1st St headed west? My hypothesis is that many people view this a shortcut between east Albany or Millersburg and N. Albany. Rather than taking Pacific through town, they take a back route with practically no traffic signals.

    1. Drivers could use Pacific and turn onto Lyon when they get to downtown.
    2. If they must use 1st, then take Montogomery to 3rd and 3rd to Lyon. Or stay in left lane on 1st, go to Ellsworth, then left and left again on 2nd, and turn on Lyon.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Spot on Tim. Pacific is a nightmare! Often times an accident reality because of congestion, bad driving and worse. 90% of the time I take this prescribed route. In doing so, I have to redirect when it is heavy. There are ways.

      Consent ODOT!

  2. Jon says:

    Why don’t they just make the right lane a turn lane? Same thing they have in Salem to get out over the bridge; one dedicated turn and one other available turn into the far lane.

  3. Westside Gal says:

    I realize this situation doesn’t directly affect the topic, but apparently some out-of-towners think they can turn left from the outside lane on First and Ellsworth. Twice now I’ve been on inside lane in front of Sid Stevens to proceed straight on First, only to have drivers next to me turn left onto Ellsworth at foot of Ellsworth St. Bridge. Kind of scarey! Better signage?


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