Left Turns in LA

If you’ve ever driven in LA, you know that making a left turn at an intersection with no green arrows can be dangerous and time consuming during busy traffic hours. Recently on the radio I heard Chief Bratton say that his officers are instructed to allow 3 cars to go through intersections after the light changes, because otherwise traffic would come to a standstill and nobody would ever be able to turn left. The city desperately needs more left turn stoplights and this year there are 330 planned for installation. Second District Councilwoman Wendy Greuel says 330 aren’t enough and she is asking for an additional 120 lights to be installed. From the LA Downtown News article, here are the intersections in Downtown that are on the list for left turn arrows:

First and Hope streets; Fourth Street and Beaudry Avenue; 16th Street and Central Avenue; Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street; Adams Boulevard and Main Street; Figueroa Street at Cesar E. Chavez, Adams and Martin Luther King Jr.; and Vermont Avenue at Exposition, Martin Luther King Jr., Jefferson and Olympic boulevards.

12 Replies to “Left Turns in LA”

  1. Does that mean no more gunning on yellow and forcing the left turners to turn during red?
    Because that’s so LA.

  2. I like the way Canada does it. They use the same three color light system, but when a light first turns green, it blinks green and folks turn left. Then it’s a steady green and everyone goes straight and the lefties turn when it’s clear.

    I don’t know if such a thing could be implemented in LA. I wonder if the new LED light that they’re using will allow the regular green slot to also be programmed to just do a green arrow.

    But again, that may confuse too many people.

    On a side note, The Man was hit making a left turn after the light had turned red by a woman running the light. She ran off after getting out to make sure there was no grave damage to her car, but luckily someone got her license plate number. He wasn’t hurt and it appears that she wasn’t either.

  3. IT’S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!!!! That was my biggest complaint for years when I lived there. Coming from the midwest where left turn signals are everywhere they should be the lack of them in LA was so frustrating. And yes, dangerous as all hell. The amount of traffic that will be eased by installing them at major intersections will be amazing. If they can just get it done!

  4. What’s a left turn arrow? Do you find those at the end of the rainbow growing in a field being grazed by unicorns?

  5. Nah,
    I’ll believe it when I see it.
    In LA, at least on the west side where I live, you find no left turn signals — only the revenue-generating photo-blast machines poised to shoot your plate as you try to make a left turn on pretty much any surface street.

  6. I doubt red light cameras are configured to take pictures of people turning precisely because it’s so hard to tell when those turns are legal. But I could be wrong. And I used to think LA could use more turn arrows too, but I learned that traffic backs up far more often at intersections with arrows thus screwing everyone who wants to go STRAIGHT. Design your routes so you don’t have to make left turns or make a right and u-turn is what I say and don’t complain about the lack of arrows.

  7. I mean design your routes so you don’t have to make left turns at the most highly congested intersections with long lines. Major streets in other cities that have lots of arrows generally don’t have to deal with nearly the volume of traffic as major streets in LA.

  8. What drives me even nuttier is when an intersection HAS the damn left hand turn lights and they don’t seem to be programmed or on during appropriate times! (see: Fairfax & Sunset) And the general Hollywood area needs these like crazy. Try turning left onto Western from Sunset. Now try killing yourself with a spork. Which one is more doable? Please write legibly and with a number two pencil.

  9. When waiting to make a left turn, it’s impossible to monitor opposing traffic through the SUV making a left turn in the opposite direction- a huge waste of time of behalf of myself and the cars waiting behind me.

  10. How about better bus/rail routes to get more people off the roads all together?
    Amen, brother! Try crossing the street while walking to the bus/rail when after the green turn arrow goes off and 5 more cars race like crazy to get through. Or the stupid schlubs who don’t go through and end up blocking the crosswalk? Drives me m-f crazy!

  11. I think the problem is the arrows don’t stay on long enough. By the time the yellow light runners from the cross traffic go through the interesection and the person at the front of the left turn lane looks up from their cell phone or paperback and notices the green arrow, only 2 cars wind up going through per cycle anyway.

    They should have sensors that keep the arrow green longer if the left turn lane is full.

    If anyone is listening please put one on Moorpark westbound at Laurel Canyon. this intersection backs up to Colfax sometimes because the left turn lane is overflowing into the through lane.

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