Question :  I have a question regarding an intersection in Vancouver, more specifically, the intersection of Marine Way and Boundary Road at the southeastern tip of Vancouver. The other day, I was turning left from Marine Way eastbound onto Boundary Road northbound. I was in the right left-turn lane (there are two left turn lanes), and when the left turn arrow turned green, I merrily proceeded about my way. This intersection is peculiar in the sense that the two left-turning lanes feed into three lanes on Boundary, with the left left-turn lane directed into the left-most lane on Boundary, and the right left-turn lane directed into the middle lane. When I was turning left, I was under the false impression that our two left-turn lanes were actually supposed to end up in the middle+right lanes on Boundary, so I ended up turning into the rightmost lane.

However, at the same time I was making that turn, a pickup was turning right from Marine Way westbound onto Boundary Rd. northbound, and I assume he thought that since the two left-turn lanes from Marine Way end up on the left+middle lanes on Boundary, he had the right of way in the rightmost lane. We had a close call, and he gave me a loud honk, which I believe was unjustified. Upon checking Google street-view at that intersection, I see no Added Lane signage for the right turn movement from Marine Way westbound to Boundary Road northbound, but at the same time, this intersection is strange because the rightmost lane on Boundary Road actually begins at the intersection — Boundary Road northbound only has two lanes south of Marine Way.

I was wondering if you could shed some light on whether or not I had the right of way, turning into the rightmost lane of Boundary that day. Thanks!

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I would have honked at you too – 

Well in my opinion… It looks like in this particular intersection you are really expected to move into the middle lane and not the right lane. That right turning lane where the truck was does not have a Yield sign or red light (as often is the case when you have your left-turning arrow) so that truck/vehicle is legally allowed to assume he can keep going and that you are going to turn into the middle lane and everything will be fine. OF course defensive drivers never assume everything is going to work out fine like in a fairy tale, but I think if you had had a crash there it would have been 100% your fault because you technically did a lane change in the middle of the intersection and encroached into another vehicle’s lane in which he was entitled to be in at that moment in time; (the other vehicle was legally inside his own lane and did not move into yours.) There are little dashes in the road (maybe worn/faded and hard to see, Hint hint Burnaby/Vancouver city hall?). 

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Interesting. I wonder why the city hasn’t adopted the same configuration for that turning lane as was implemented for the right turn from southbound Boundary Road to westbound Marine Way, where it is clear that right turning traffic does not have to yield. Anyway, thanks for the reply, it was helpful.

Usually if you do not have a yield sign then you do not have to yield (exceptions in parking lots and private property, etc.) But it is always good to get the big picture and figure out which cars are supposed to be going into which lanes. I have seen a lot of Semi’s actually yield there on the northbound right turn onto Boundary because they need 2 lanes in order to fit. So they do end up stopping/yielding anyway. That might also be the case if there are Semi’s turning left to go up Boundary. They might swing into lanes you’re not expecting them to because they kind of have to, so it is always good to be careful and take a good look for others! There are a lot of Semi’s around there.

Also if you’re heading West on Marine there’s just a bunch of trees on the corner that they could easily cut through and make a nice lane like that; if you’re going North on Boundary there’s a building and some property in the way of making a nice lane like the other one!!

 Westbound Marine – It is pretty obvious that you have your own lane

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 Northbound Boundary – There are no traffic signs, no yield sign

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Why is there no yield sign for the Northbound Boundary right turn?

Probably because – well in theory anyway – there is no reason to ever yield there (except for trucks as mentioned above). Even if the light is green for the traffic on Northbound Boundary which is south of Marine, the way it lines up allows for the right-turn from Westbound Marine to Northbound Boundary to keep moving because of the way the lanes line up.

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Think of it this way: If you’re turning left and the car beside you is also turning left and the car beside you is ON your left, then there should be one lane beside you to the left of you, with that same car in it, once you turn.

I would urge all drivers to be careful with this intersection as there seems to be only two kinds of drivers who turn here: those who drive in the intersection every day and do so with their eyes closed at a high rate of speed, and those who are not used to this intersection and who drive in a more confused and possibly incorrect type of fashion. Mixing those two together can obviously be dangerous.

Intersections do not fall from the sky and land with a splat in strange, senseless and spontaneous designs for us to navigate! They are carefully planned by traffic engineers, and we as drivers must be thinking drivers to keep us all safe on the roads; figure out what lane you are turning into BEFORE you turn. When driving, think about driving and get the big picture, especially when encountering large intersections like this which may have the potential for greater conflict.

And PLEASE, please, please look where you want to go when turning; Not where you do not want to go. I can not explain the number of heart attacks I have had seeing the vehicle turning beside me come within one inch of side-swiping me in the middle of the turn because the driver can not even turn the corner properly. You don’t have to stare at the car beside you when you turn! There is no need for this. Look where you want to go far up the road, and then go there.