THE WORST INTERSECTIONS AND ROADS
IN BLOOMINGTON INDIANA AND MONROE COUNTY

There are some very badly designed and operated intersections and roads in Bloomington Indiana. Here is a list of the worst ones:

  1. Bloomfield Road (Indiana 45) at Curry Pike and Leonard Springs Road

    One westbound lane is wasted, while the other lane is overloaded. The right lane is restricted to a right turn that is rarely used, while the left lane carries not only the traffic going straight on the highway, but also a heavily used left turn. The right lane should be extended beyond the intersection to the next intersection. This is causing many rear-end crashes on the exit ramps from Indiana 37. Drivers wanting the left lane stop on the ramps, waiting for the traffic light to create a gap. The driver behind, wanting the right lane, looks left to merge, and hits the stopped car from behind.

  2. The Indiana 37 exit ramp to Second Street (Indiana 45) at Sam's Club

    This is one of the exit ramps mentioned above. The intersection is overloaded during the daytime. At night, it also has a very high probability of causing yellow trap. The traffic signal should be redesigned to use Flashing Yellow Arrows to get rid of the hazard.

  3. wrong red signal right red signal The Northbound Indiana 37 entrance ramp from Second Street (Indiana 45)

    The left turn signals at this entrance ramp shall have red arrows, according to the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), because it was installed after January 2011. The signals have circular reds.

    Lane continuity is lost at this intersection, because eastbound cars must change lanes twice to go straight ahead.

  4. The north College Mall entrance road at the circulatory road north of Sears.

    This intersection is signed wrong. The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices requires that all approaches must stop if a "3-WAY STOP" sign is used. This intersection uses these signs, but has one approach that does not stop, in violation of the federal standard. It is an accident waiting to happen.

  5. Third Street (Indiana 46) at Smith Road

    This signal has the highest probability of causing the dangerous condition known as yellow trap. This causes accidents, and police often wrongly blame drivers for it. Flashing Yellow Arrows should be used to fix the trouble.

  6. Rockport Road at Fullerton Pike

    This intersection is hidden from northbound traffic by a hill crest and a curve. The area should be regraded to remove this hazard.

  7. Tenth Street (Indiana 45) at Russell Road (west intersection)

    This intersection has no left turn lane, and cars waiting to turn left onto Russell Road are being passed on the right by motorists illegally driving onto a shoulder that is not designed to be used as a passing lane. Occasionally, some vehicles that run out of room collide with a culvert the shoulder disappears under.

  8. Walnut Street at Grimes Lane

    This intersection is overloaded during the daytime. At night, it is on flashing, even though it has a sight distance problem, and the other intersections near it do not flash. It sorely needs a free right turn ramp from eastbound Grimes to southbound Walnut. If that can't be made, the existing lanes should be reconfigured for an exclusive right turn lane, and a combined straight and left lane. In this case, the signal should be redesigned to use split phasing on Grimes, and to add a right turn arrow concurrent with the left turn arrow for northbound Walnut.

    Here is another solution to this intersection using flashing yellow arrows

  9. Franklin tangle Third Street at Franklin Road, Fairfield Drive, Wynndale Drive, and a frontage road

    This intersection (see image) is wrongly designed, wrongly built, and wrongly signed. The frontage road (lower left) should have been connected to Wynndale somewhere else. It is too close to Third Street, The overhead signs do not show the actual vehicle paths. And drivers on the frontage road somehow rationalize their way into thinking that a left turn followed by a right turn is an allowable movement on red.

    Likewise, the intersection of Franklin and Fairfield (upper right) is also too close to Third Street. These two intersections were created from roads that used to be separated before the interchange between Third Street (Indiana 48) and Indiana 37 was built. But the major traffic generators on Franklin and the frontage road did not yet exist at that time.

    This traffic signal is a major traffic jam location on Third Street, especially during rush hour, because the frontage road adds an extra green interval to the signal cycle. This means that there is less overall time available for Third Street. Adding to that delay is the fact that both Wynndale and the frontage road get dual clearance timing because the traffic passes through two sets of signals.

    Another problem that backs up traffic is that the pedestrian pushbutton to cross Third Street is tied to Wynndale. Wynndale usually has very little vehicle traffic, and has a signal phase that can not occur at the same time as any other phase.

  10. Whitehall Pike (Indiana 48) at Daniels Way

    Why does a driveway to a house as the fourth leg of the intersection have its own phase? And why are the Daniels leg and the driveway operated with split phasing? Is it because a cop lives in that house? Two better solutions present themselves:

  11. Henderson Street at Allen Street

    The stop signs on Henderson do not conform to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Politics should never be allowed in traffic control decisions. The councilmen who passed this ordinance should be thrown out of office, and never allowed to hold office again. Traffic control should not be in the hands of layman politicians or citizens' pressure groups. Trained engineers should have control of traffic.

  12. Tenth Street at Walnut Street

    This intersection also has a left turn signal without a left turn lane, also causing backups and driver confusion. The intersection and its signal should be redesigned to have dedicated left turn lanes.

  13. Tapp Road

    The speed limit is set at 30 mph, not because of any safety problem, but because a stupid state statute automatically sets all speed limits inside city limits to 30 mph. An expensive traffic study is required to change speed limits inside a city limit to any speed other than 30 mph. But the area is not built up. The road was annexed to make a medical facility farther down the road a "contiguous property," so the city could legally annex the medical facility. The same traffic conditions exist that existed before the annexation, when the speed limit was 40 mph. This political speed limit is causing drivers to speed, as they go the original design speed of the road. These solutions to this problem come to mind:

  14. Third Street between Mitchell Street and High Street

    This is a five-block two-lane bottleneck in the middle of a four-lane road. Plans have been repeatedly made to make it four-lane, either by widening it, or by using Atwater Avenue to extend the one-way pair in use west of Mitchell. Each time, objections came from a neighborhood association and Indiana University. IU owns the land north of Third Street, and will not give any to widen the street (state universities are not subject to local eminent domain). The neighborhood association is against the use of Atwater Avenue, and is against tearing down any of the houses in the neighborhood. Other plans are impossible, because eminent domain can not be used against property belonging to churches. There are 2 churches and a mosque adjoining the various proposed routes.

  15. Tenth Street at Jordan Avenue

    This intersection badly needs overhead signs to explain the confusing array of lanes. But the overhead signs are not allowed, because IU does not want the "view of the architecture of the library" to be marred by overhead signs. How vain can you get?

  16. Third Street downtown

    This section badly needs progression, but the city has a simultaneous system set up instead. The progression needs lagging left turns at some intersections, which the city will not do. No lagging left turns are allowed under the current city administration.

  17. Walnut Street downtown

    There is no through traffic lane continuity on northbound Walnut Street, even though the parallel southbound College Avenue has lane continuity. All of the original two lanes at Winslow Road end in right turns or lane drops. Traffic intending to go through Bloomington on Walnut must change lanes at least once.

    This problem existed in the past, and was fixed in the 1990s. But the current administration brought it back. Rather than move lanes over gradually (because the surveys did not line up when the properties were platted), they went back to the stupidity of adding lanes on the left and dropping them on the right.

  18. The planned location of the new Bloomington Hospital on the Indiana 45/46 Bypass

    This is a bad location. Access to the hospital will be hampered by IU game traffic. And it will require yet another traffic signal on this highway that has too many signals already.

DISHONORABLE MENTION

The following do not conform to the criteria set forth above, because they are not in Monroe County:

  1. Indiana 46 eastbound in the vicinity of McCormick's Creek State Park (Owen County)

    Whoever designed this should be fired for creating conflicting lane uses. The first sign says "KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS." But before you have room to complete a pass, the next sign says, "McCORMICK'S CREEK STATE PARK KEEP LEFT." And then, before you reach the park intersection, the next sign says, "RIGHT LANE MUST TURN RIGHT." Bear in mind that there are only two lanes, with no special lanes for left or right turns. The whole lane use for this section of road should be redesigned.

  2. Indiana 37 at Indiana 60 (South Intersection) at Mitchell (Lawrence County)

    This intersection was recently upgraded to flashing yellow arrows. But the upgrade was done incorrectly. The intersection has four two-way legs, but only one flashing yellow arrow signal face for southbound left turns. There should be another flashing yellow arrow face facing northbound left turns to prevent yellow trap, even though the northbound left turn services a driveway. No green arrow is necessary in this added face.

  3. Indiana 37 at Indiana 58 at Avoca (Lawrence County)

    This intersection is dangerous, because traffic from the west can interrupt high speed traffic on 37 at any time. There is no provision to protect a driver from receiving a yellow light at the point where he can neither stop in time nor clear the intersection before the red. Either the signal must be configured to not give such priority to side street traffic, or a "RED SIGNAL AHEAD" distant signal must be used to give advance warning that the signal is about to change.

  4. US 231 at Indiana 45 and Indiana 58 at Scotland (Greene County)

    This new (2014) intersection causes yellow trap. The MUTCD requires yellow trap to be prevented or warned with a sign, with a 2008 compliance date.

REPAIRED FORMER TROUBLEMAKERS

The following locations are not as bad as they used to be:

  1. intersection mess Whitehall Pike, Liberty Drive, Runkle Way and the Marsh Supermarket

    This (see image) was a big mess! Who did that? There are three movements that can't be made, bad angles, and queues overlapping other intersections. Lines waiting for one signal phase block traffic trying to use other phases. The whole thing was ripped out and redesigned, but they still have intersections too close to each other and two movements that are impossible.

  2. The Indiana 45/46 bypass at Tenth Street (Indiana 45)

    This intersection was grossly overloaded during the daytime. At night, it had a very high probability of causing yellow trap. The intersection was rebuilt. The left turns are dual lane with exclusively protected phasing (red arrows): No more yellow trap.

  3. Indiana 37/45 at Vernal Pike

    This was an overloaded signalized intersection located between several interchanges. It is replaced with an overpass.

  4. Arlington mess 17th Street and Arlington Road at Monroe Street

    This intersection (see image) should never have been built in its pictured form. It has overlapping queues and unpredictable vehicle paths for the same vehicle turn signal indication. It has now been replaced with a roundabout.

  5. Walnut Street at Dillman Road

    This intersection was hidden from southbound traffic by a hill crest and a curve. The area should be regraded to remove this hazard.

    A flashing yellow/red intersection beacon has fixed this problem.

  6. Curry Pike at Woodyard Road

    There is a left turn signal without a left turn lane. This can cause backups and driver confusion, and it can cause yellow trap. The intersection and its traffic signal should be redesigned to have dedicated left turn lanes, and to use Flashing Yellow Arrows to get rid of the hazard.

    Instead, they made the Curry Pike signal phasing split-phase, with northbound Curry and southbound Curry having separate phases.

  7. Tenth Street at Woodlawn Avenue

    There is also a left turn signal without a left turn lane here, and this location also can cause backups and driver confusion. It would cause yellow trap without its dedicated anti-yellow-trap design (as it did before the redesign - it was the intersection with the most crashes in 1997). The intersection and its traffic signal should be redesigned to have dedicated left turn lanes, and to use Flashing Yellow Arrows to get rid of the hazard.

    This redesign and rebuild was done in 2016.

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