Reporting Sharrie Williams
PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) – Plano residents complained and city leaders listened. Three years after a major traffic change went into affect, city council members have agreed to pull the plug on the so-called “Michigan left turn.”
Engineers implemented the new design at the intersection of Preston and Legacy back in 2010, to better manage traffic at the busy intersection. Studies show it was working as intended by reducing accidents, dramatically cutting down backups and wait times, and increasing traffic flow.
The design would not allow drivers to make a left turn at the intersection. Instead, they were forced to turn right, make a U-turn and then continue in the desired direction.
Plano resident Deborah Vary, who is originally from Michigan, liked it.
“I like it that its safer, and it only takes you what? A few more seconds,” she asked.
But the majority of Plano residents didn’t share that opinion.
“It got me completely turned around. I was very confused. I’m glad they’re getting rid of it,” commented Plano resident Seagram Kern.
“I think it’s not necessary. It would be much easier to turn left instead of loop around,” remarked Plano resident Liz Brown.
So city leaders say even though it made the roads safer, the voices of those who hated it were too loud to ignore.
“If you’re not accepting to any traffic control device, you will ignore that device and the long-term impact is you will tend to ignore other devices in your community and overall make your community less safe,” said Plano traffic engineer Lloyd Neal.
Plano’s mayor says the left turn lanes will be put back in place by the fall, and the “Michigan left turn” will become simply an option.
“Perception is reality. So their feeling is it’s not working,” said Plano mayor Harry Larosiliere.
“So we have to be responsive to them.”
The “Michigan left turn” project cost $1.8 million, but most of it was paid for with federal stimulus dollars. It will now cost the city nearly one hundred thousand dollars to revert it back.