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Behind-the-Wheel

Turning right in Sechelt

This all started with a simple question in my e-mail: "Are right-turn lanes allowed at four-way stop intersections?"

The story evolved as I asked questions to try to understand the situation before answering here. It turns out to involve the intersection of Trail Avenue and Cowrie Street in Sechelt.

As you can see from this Google Street View taken in 2011 (above), the municipality has marked Trail Avenue with turning lanes at Cowrie Street:

"A few years back" the municipality removed the markings for the right turn lane on the north side of the intersection. Apparently this bothered a citizen so much that they repainted the line and arrow themselves under the cover of darkness one night.

The municipality responded by painting them over again with something similar to driveway sealer.

My correspondent was concerned that without the lane markings, it became a bit of a free for all at the intersection. It was wide enough for two vehicles and no one was about to wait their turn. This was a hazard.

I contacted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to ask about the lane marking situation. The response was that the intersection was not their responsibility, but marking turn lanes here was contrary to accepted design practices because of the configuration.

He added that in this situation, there was only one lane there so legally there cannot be two cars side by side at the stop sign.

The engineer is correct, passing on the right is forbidden in this circumstance but that does not stop many drivers. A bulb out would be much more effective as it leaves drivers with no choice.

It also increases pedestrian safety by reducing the length of the crosswalk and exposure to traffic.

ICBC's Crash Map for this intersection shows 12 collisions between 2013 and 2017, three of which resulted in a casualty of some sort.

This leaves my correspondent to wonder about the turn lanes marked on the other side of the intersection, but that's a story for another day.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/intersections/turning-right-sechelt​

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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