Drivers worry those taking illegal left turn in southeast Austin will result in accident


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Grace Bowes says waiting to turn left at the intersection of East Ben White Boulevard and Todd Lane can get frustrating.

“The line is always super long and people are always going around the line cutting people either turning or waiting to turn,” Bowes said.

She’s talking about the drivers who will get in the non-turning lane next to her and while their light is green and those waiting in the left turn lane’s light is red they take off and turn left illegally.

“It’s annoying, it’s potentially accident-causing,” she added.

Bowes has captured the illegal maneuver on camera not just once, but twice. However, she says it happens almost daily and has had some close calls.

“One person almost hit me,” she said.

Bowes says she hopes, “That we can get traffic flowing a little smoother and safer.”

That way, no one gets hurt – including her.

“I don’t want to get into an accident on the way home,” said Bowes.

Bowes said she would like to see something done whether that be adjusting the signal timing or adding another turn lane.

One solution to the problem could be adjusting the signal’s timing. There are a couple of ways the Austin Transportation Department could determine if an intersection needs a signal change this includes evaluating the traffic signal. It’s a process they do every three years. Drivers can also call 3-1-1 and put in a request which the city responds to. Lastly, if an ATD traffic signal engineer who is assigned to an area notices congestion or other issues they can make appropriate adjustments.

The last time this intersection was evaluated was in 2020.

Some may suggest a barrier solution that would separate those turning left from the others but TxDOT officials said, “Anything put in the intersection would then block traffic on Todd Lane from going straight through when it is their turn.” That is why drivers will not find barriers in the middle of the intersection.

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