Yuma Sun

First Take

- By Mara Knaub, reporter

A colleague recently expressed frustratio­n with drivers who use the far right, third lane at 16th Street and 4th Avenue to get to the front where they then merge into the through traffic lane.

I get frustrated for different reasons. The third lane was built to ease traffic at the intersecti­on, yet these third lanes go mostly unused. I suspect it’s because motorists don’t want to be seen as jumping to the front of the line.

Sometimes I have to sit through several lights because traffic is so backed up in the other lanes. But I don’t use the third lane either because I’m afraid others will see it as rude and I don’t want to trigger road rage.

But these lanes aren’t for “right turn only.” They are perfect for zipper merges and traffic engineers have been encouragin­g drivers to use them.

Using all available lanes moves traffic more efficientl­y and mean shorter backups — as long as drivers cooperate at the merge point.

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