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Lane confusion in Soquel Village needs clearing up, reader says
Dear Street Smarts, Q: As you proceed down Old San Jose Road and enter the village of Soquel, there are initially two lanes but as you approach the stoplight heading south there are three lines. There is a left turn lane, a middle lane to proceed straight on and a right lane to turn right. People are confused about how you get to the middle lane to go straight. Where there are two lanes, do you get in the left lane? This is frequently blocked by people waiting to turn left and the left turn light is red but there is a green light for the middle line to proceed straight. If you choose to get in the right lane as you enter the village and then attempt to turn into the center lane, you are frequently fighting for position with someone turning from the left lane. There are lots of angry people and there will be an accident. So, which is the correct approach to the middle lane? Should you choose the left lane going in or the right lane going in? Jim Lindsey, Soquel A: This is a tricky area to navigate. Officer Brad Sadek of the California Highway Patrol offers this advice: "There are three signs indicating the 'Right Lane Must Turn Right.' This means that the right lane terminates at Soquel drive in a right turn. The left lane [ on the two lane portion of southbound Porter] is designated for through and left turn lane traffic. Normally, regulatory signs like the 'Right Lane Must Turn Right' sign accompany a solid white line indicating that a driver must stay in that lane position. Wherever there is a broken white line, it's okay to safely make a lane change. For the sake of this problem, we can treat those solid lines as tall concrete walls -- no matter what the driver wants to do, they cannot legally cross them. On Porter, we do not see these solid line until just about 100 feet before the intersection. This means, a driver can change lanes from the right lane into the left or through lane prior to the 'Keep Clear' area as long as they are able to do so safely." Meanwhile, I also sent your question to county public works to review. Perhaps a change in signage or road markings will come to pass. Stay tuned.