Big Mistake?

.June 6, 2014
»çȸAt the last council meeting it was announced that FDOT will promulgate a :”No U-Turn”  regulation on Dunlawton at the intersection of the Lowes/Target Driveway.   The FDOT Traffic Engineers told the city that accident experiences at that location did not justify that type of regulation and advised against it , but yielded to the request when told by city staff that’s what the Mayor wanted .

I am unsure what the Mayor planned to gain with this new regulation, but I suggest it will have additional negative impacts on traffic safety & capacity on Dunlawton.  Perhaps he erroneously assumed that he could make that U-Turn traffic totally disappear in the area by prohibiting it from using that turn-bay (Really!).  Big mistake!
 The effected traffic will now be forced to pass through that intersection twice to travel westbound.   In addition everyone familiar with the area knows that the turn-bay at Yorktown is already near capacity during a good portion of the day. Thus, the additional relocated U-Turn traffic will have major impacts on the LOS at that intersection.  Moreover, that relocated returning westbound traffic on Dunlawton will fill in some of the few remaining traffic flow gaps that today allows the congested left turning movements into the Lowes/Target driveway.
Also, most likely some motorist unfamiliar with the area and this new traffic plan will now make the left into the Lowes/Target driveway and make a U-Turn in the parking lots internal roadways to proceed westbound especially when Police are present.
Traffic flow problems operate somewhat like balloons, squeeze it at one spot and and it will pop out in another.
Because of this type of convoluted thinking by politicians we now: DRIVE on Parkways  &  PARK in Driveways …  And why Mayor’s should not be allowed to play in traffic.


 Below is a copy of my traffic forecast posted to the former City Manager in 2012 ; several months before the Grand Opening of BJ’s.    Do you think perhaps that forecast had some merit?


Concerns on the pending traffic plan changes at the Altamira Project (November 2, 2012)
Dunlawton & Taylor Branch
As I understand it is planned that the existing heavy westbound dual-left turn traffic movement on Taylor Branch Rd will be relocated to the new Yorktown Blvd. extension and the redesigned intersection at “Dunlawton & Yorktown”   Then this intersection would be shutdown, by closing off the median and the Traffic Signal removed.
Dunlawton & Target Driveway
Today the left turn lane at the Target entrance intersection, operates at a  Level Of Service ‘C’  ( LOS ‘C’= Moderate delays with satisfactory or good traffic flow)  This left turn lane into Target & Lowes, functions well today because the upstream traffic signal at Dunlawton & Yorktown creates adequate gaps in the westbound Dunlawton traffic flow.   Additional new U-turn traffic generated by the completion of the Altamira project, and the closing of Taylor Branch intersection, will be added to the left turn traffic and use this turn lane to go westbound. This new u-turn traffic may normally only reduce the LOS to ‘D’ (LOS ‘D’ =  Increased probability of delays, but intersection could remain functional)   However, it appears someone may have forgot in the planning stage, they are relocating the Taylor Branch Rd left turn lanes to Yorktown Blvd.  As a result, there will be reduced gaps remaining in westbound Dunlawton traffic at the Target Driveway.
 In view of the above, this intersection could fail with long left turn & u-turn queue’s.  Forcing some of that traffic to relocate downstream to the left turn lane at Yorktown, thus, negatively effecting capacity at that intersection.  Also, as turning movement delay’s increase, drivers will take chances on shorter & shorter gaps in cross-traffic, thereby increasing the accident experiences at this location.
Dunlawton & Yorktown (redesigned)
A few months ago, via a broadcast council meeting, I watched in total amazement as the city council redesigned the Altamira project’s roadway improvements, with no engineering analysis; input; or advice whatsoever.   In a 20 minute debate, the council changed the new Yorktown Blvd.extension  roadway design.  The council proposed the change based on some ill-conceived notion that by reducing the capacity of the new roadway it would somehow reduce traffic noise in the adjacent neighborhood (really!).  At this point in time, I do not know if the council’s revise traffic plan every made it into the project’s actual construction plans (we hope not).   If it did, they now own this baby, and any failure in the traffic operations for this project will now come back to bite them in the ass.  (do you recall the meaning for the acronym: ‘SNAFU’ – goggle it!)
Dunlawton & Clyde Morris
At this time, this intersection operates at or near capacity during peak hours. If the Taylor Branch Rd intersection is shut down, and with possible capacity deficiencies on the new Yorktown Blvd extension, a portion of the westbound Taylor Rd. traffic would likely relocate to this intersection via Clyde Morris Blvd.   Resulting in a big hit on the LOS at this location.
In Summary
It’s recommend that whoever is controlling the progress of this project, use caution before taking any permanent action to close the Taylor Branch Rd intersection.  However, the intersection could be shut down on a temporary basis via installing Jersey Barrier’s in the median and placing the Signal in flash mode for a period of time.  Thus, allowing any defects in the projects proposed traffic circulation plans to show themselves, and any other impacts the closing may have on traffic safety & capacity in the area.   By closing it via a temporary operation, will forestall the need  to go through the lengthy process of obtaining funding to reconstruct that intersection if conditions proves it necessary.

P. Nelan

One thought on “Big Mistake?

  • June 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    You’re absolutely correct. Twenty-five years of planning for the convenience of the developers has given us the worst traffic jams this side of Orlando. Did you notice that the City recently took down its statement that we are a community “by design and not by accident” from its website? Guess they don’t want to take credit for it either.
    Mike Gardner
    618 Ruth St
    Port Orange, FL 32127


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