The Magic Left Turn Sign at Cesar Chavez and Sandra Muraida

If you’ve ever traveled eastbound on Cesar Chavez just east of Lamar, you may have noticed a one-of-a-kind phenomenon, a street sign that changes at will. I took the following two photos on my way home from work. The one on the left was taken on February 7th. The one on the right was taken on February 14th. And before you start squawking about texting while driving, etc, I was stationary when I took both photos. This is just one example. I’ve seen it change back and forth multiple times over the past year or so. I realize that there’s been construction related to the Seaholm District Redevelopment, but can we please pick one and stick to it? Given how much traffic backs up there during rush hour, I think it should ALWAYS be a no left turn. Any employees from the City of Austin care to comment?

5 Comments so far

  1. M1EK (unregistered) on April 14th, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    There’s a few of these up in North Austin for years now. Generally
    to change a second left turn lane from left turn only to left turn
    + straight, for instance.

  2. ttrentham on April 14th, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    I was being a little snarky (just a little) about it being a “magic
    sign”. When you say that you’ve seen them, do you mean the
    electronic ones? There’s one on eastbound Stassney at northbound
    I-35 frontage. That’s not what this is though. This isn’t a case
    where the sign is controlled electronically and it’s a bunch of
    lights. You can see in the photo. It’s a wooden sign. They must be
    physically going up there and changing them out. And it’s the same
    time of day. You’d think that there would never be a left turn
    during rush hour (I’m typically passing by there somewhere between
    6 and 7pm). That or there are two different kinds of signs that can
    been changed on a timer or something.

  3. M1EK (unregistered) on April 14th, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    I think it’s like the ones up north – metal with a folding section
    that can flip and change half of it. I go through here often enough
    I should be sure but I’m not positive.

  4. ttrentham on April 14th, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    Either way, I’d argue that this isn’t a good use case for that kind
    of sign. You’re talking about toggling a second lane’s ability to
    turn left or go straight or both. This is on a two lane each
    direction road with heavy traffic in both directions where it’s a
    nuisance for one direction and probably a safety hazard in the
    other to allow a left turn. There’s no turn lane at all, so this
    backs up eastbound traffic in the left lane. Westbound traffic
    headed the other way is typically moving pretty fast, so it’s not
    really a safe place to cross for the people turning left. Yes, it’s
    a nuisance if you’re not aware that you can’t go northbound on
    Lamar from eastbound Cesar Chavez, but like a lot of Austin’s
    traffic patterns and streets, that’s the fault of the morons who
    designed that intersection.

  5. M1EK (unregistered) on April 14th, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    I ain’t arguing. The left turners bug the hell out of me there too.

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