Central Coast

Dear Jon: "No left turn" on Lighhouse Avenue in Monterey questioned

Where's the enforcement?

Thousands of cars travel along Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey everyday. Since 2003 the artery has been designated a "no left turn" zone. David wrote to me at DearJon@KIONRightNow.com and asked, "Dear Jon, why are people still turning left on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey past the tunnel, through to David Avenue?"

For 11 years now, the aforementioned section of Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey has been a "no left turn" lane zone. Why people don't obey the street signs is a multifacited answer and I don't read minds either. But I did call over to Monterey Traffic Engineer-Rich Deal and the Monterey Police Department and got some background on this issue.

The signage for "no left turns" on Lighthouse is somewhat clear. You can see the left turn arrow with the red circle and the line through it. Those are posted on signal light poles and elsewhere. You see the signage painted on the lanes of traffic that says "no left turn" and there is a double yellow line in the road. So basically you have two, one way streets side by side there.

Deal tells me it was created that way when the Presidio of Monterey closed to through traffic. That created traffic jams on Lighthouse as residents turned left on the street to get into neighborhoods.

Monterey Police tells me that they've written nine tickets for left-turn violations on this stretch since January of 2013, so they are watching it.

But old habits die hard and some residents and maybe some tourists aren't as observant as they should be.

On the other hand, can the city illuminate the "no left turn" signs to better direct traffic? It's something to consider.

In the final analysis, Deal says it's most likely a city funding and police staffing issue that limits traffic enforcement in this area.

I've made several calls to the Monterey Police Chief Phil Penko but have yet to ask him about this issue and what, if anything, he has in mind to approach the City on further lighting and signage for "no left turns" on Lighthouse Avenue. Stay tuned.

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