Phoenix police encouraging drivers to be aware of reverse traffic lanes
PHOENIX – The Phoenix Police Department is encouraging drivers to be aware of how reverse traffic lanes work heading in and out of the downtown area.
“They are something not all drivers may be used to or expect,” Sgt. Vince Lewis told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. “The important thing to know here is we, as drivers, have to remove distractions and pay attention to what is going on.
“Pay attention to the hours and operation of those lanes.”
Reverse traffic lanes can be found on 7th Street between McDowell Road and Dunlap Avenue, and 7th Avenue between McDowell Road and Northern Avenue. The lanes offer commuters an extra lane of travel in and out of downtown Phoenix Monday through Friday during peak commute times.
From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., the lanes are designated for southbound traffic only, prohibiting left turns from commuters traveling northbound.
In the afternoon from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the lane is designated for traffic traveling northbound, prohibiting left turns from those traveling southbound.
Overhead signs were put into place to both enforce and inform vehicles about the designated times the lane may be prohibited. But even so, Lewis says unfamiliarity with the lanes still cause confusion.
“If you’re using them correctly, you may encounter someone who is not prepared for that or doesn’t understand how they work,” Lewis said. “So, you have to stay flexible with that. Sometimes, people with their commute they get into that routine and they want to hold their ground.
“You are going to have to be flexible and patient and just understand that some people don’t have the handle on how those lanes work.”
According to Lewis, the best thing you can do to avoid an incident within those lanes is be aware of your surroundings, removing possible distractions such as cell phones and focus on the road.
And if the lanes still seem a bit confusing, Lewis suggests avoiding them altogether.
“If you’re not sure of how to use the lane or when to use the lane, you’ve got two other lanes of travel on either side of you that you would use normally,” Lewis said.
“We want to make sure everyone removes distractions, pays attention to the already difficult task of driving, be alert that road conditions can change ahead of you, and watch out for pedestrians.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mark Carlson contributed to this report.