Vancouver: Prior St. Eastbound at Georgia Viaduct

Question : At a Y intersection, where a vehicle on the right arm of the Y has stopped for a red light, can that vehicle then proceed if there is no approaching traffic on the left arm of the Y.  (for example, east bound traffic on Prior St where it intersects with the east end of the Georgia Street viaduct).

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It’s a good question and I can see how one might think that this is somewhat similar to a right turn on a red light. But I just can’t see how this is a “right turn.”

In this case, you are driving on Prior St. facing a red light at an intersection and after the intersection you are still on Prior Street. You are not turning your steering wheel (well, maybe a wee bit) or using your turn signals. So, you are not turning left or right.

So the question here is, “Can I go straight at a red light?” & the answer to this is NO (unless you are not at an intersection, and those are few and far between).

Thank you ICBC for this timely Twitter response:

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If you were meant to have the power to make a decision at this intersection, then you would be facing a yield sign (or a stop sign), not a red light.

Due to the angle here and the elevation difference, it’s quite difficult to get a good view (if any) of the (speeding?) traffic on Georgia. This red light is a definite safety measure, so drivers, just be patient here.

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Thanks for the question Jonathan.

Main and 49th, a perfectly normal ‘right angle’ turn:

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King Edward eastbound turning onto Kingsway; still a turn ‘to the right’ even though the angle is not 90 degrees:

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Prior and Georgia; it’s a straight line or if anything, a few degrees to the left. It is not a right turn by any stretch of the imagination:

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Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

One thought on “Vancouver: Prior St. Eastbound at Georgia Viaduct

  • carmenac

    Comment: “It seems to me that this is a situation similar to a right turn on a red light. Arguably, the driver on Prior Street is making a right turn, regardless of the name of the road. If the road beyond the intersection was called Georgia, then your comment about going straight because of the name of the road would be moot.”

    Well, it’s not only the name of the road but the definition of “right turn” I guess we are trying to figure out. I just can’t see how this is a “right turn.” (Please explain it to me!) Don’t you think there would be a yield sign, then, if you were allowed to go potentially at the same time as the Georgia traffic?

    Also, if the road beyond the intersection was called Georgia, then that Georgia would still be to the LEFT of Prior, would it not? So how can you possibly say it’s a right turn?

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