City of Kelowna adding improvements to some intersections to make right turns safer

Making right turns safer

The City of Kelowna is making improvements to a number of intersections this year in an effort to make right-turns safer.

The “smart channel” right-turn lane design improves sight lines for drivers so they can turn safely while keeping an eye out for pedestrians.

“This is a great example of the evolution of traffic safety,” says Chad Williams, Transportation Planning Engineer. “This geometric reconfiguration of right turn channels improves sight lines and simplifies the turning movement, reducing collisions.”

The design forces the vehicle to enter the cross street at a sharper angle, reducing the turning radius and causing drivers to slow down.

The sharper entry angle also means that more of the intersection and cross street is within the driver’s immediate cone of vision. As a result, the driver does not need to do a sharp left shoulder check, which simplifies the turn. Finally, this layout also positions crossing pedestrians more directly in the line of sight of oncoming vehicles, which increases their visibility for drivers.

“ICBC contributes funding to road improvement projects, each year, that reduce collisions,” says Williams. “Last year ICBC invested more than $170,000 in Kelowna projects, for their safety benefits.”

Improvements are currently underway at Gordon Drive and Clement Avenue and are anticipated for completion by mid-April. People walking and cycling are asked to use an alternate route.

Smart right turns have already been completed at Cooper and Benvoulin roads and at Gerstmar and Springfield roads.

In 2021 the City will be improving three more intersections in Kelowna:

  • Bernard Avenue and Spall Road
  • Clifton Road and Clement Avenue
  • Leathead Road and Hwy 97

The safer right-turn lanes have been used for years in Penticton with great success. Accidents fell by more than 50 per cent after the safer turns lanes were installed along the Channel Parkway.

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