Turn Around

April 30, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Have you noticed all the new signs around town relating to the legality or illegality of u-turns at various intersections? It seems like they are popping up everywhere. What gives? I had noticed what seemed like a change in the city’s attitude a couple years ago. Back then, I remember for the first time seeing signs that explicitly condoned u-turns. There’s a spot just south of 27th and Highway 2 that comes to mind, but I know there were one or two others as well.

When I was growing up, I remember hearing people talk about how lame it was that Lincoln was so strict about u-turns. “You can do a u-turn in every other city!” was a common complaint. Did something change?

Indeed it did. Apparently, the City Council changed the Municipal Code (PDF) to allow u-turns back on December 19, 2005. I don’t remember reading about the change in the Journal Star or hearing about it on the news. A quick search of the LJS’s website doesn’t turn up any relevant results. So apparently I’m not the only one who missed the change.

For your information, here are some basic rules (PDF) governing u-turns in Lincoln:

  • U-turns are legal at street intersections or median crossovers, unless prohibited or regulated by signage or some other indication;
  • If you can’t make the turn in one continuous movement, it’s not a legal u-turn;
  • You can’t do a u-turn for the purpose of entering a parking space on the other side of the street;
  • U-turns are illegal within specified “congested districts”;
  • Bicyclists are not affected by these restrictions so long as they first yield to vehicles with the right-of-way.

So there you have it. Feel free to turn thyself around!

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The Comments

foxspit April 30, 2008 at 2:01pm

I don’t have a problem with U-turns except in the one you mention specifically (south side of 27th and Highway 2).

Given the volume of traffic at this intersection, all the cars turning left and right, the U-turn is dangerous and I don’t know how many times I’ve begun to turn onto 27th only to have somebody whip a quick U-turn in front of me.

The dilemma is that the people who live in the apartments on the southwest corner have no choice but to whip a U-ey so they can get into the complex.

No safe answer here, but it’s a dangerous move at this location.

Mr. Wilson April 30, 2008 at 2:12pm

I used to live in Southwood Village Apartments, but I moved out right before the City reconfigured that stretch of road. I didn’t mind so much that they wanted to force all cars leaving the apartments to turn right—there’s an easy u-turn just 1 block to the south—but removing the left turn lane to get into the apartments seemed like a big mistake, which you’ve noticed.

Fletch April 30, 2008 at 2:42pm

I recall the news about the U-turns, and the signs going up on the back of the existing sign poles on many islands. I see the most U-turns today at 84th and Old Cheney with people coming out of Lincoln Christian School, and having to turn right, so they pull a U-turn at the light. I think it’s a good move.

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