Commentary by Larry Lannan
I knew it had to happen sometime, so Sunday, April 7 was the day. It was the day I decided to navigate the new Michigan Left at 96th Street and Allisonville Road for the very first time.
Even though I had been hearing about this at Fishers Town Council meetings for months and had read all the materials about it, there is nothing like experiencing it for yourself.
I picked Sunday morning to do this. With less traffic, there are lower chances for complications.
I carefully drove down 96th Street east from Hazel Dell Parkway. As I approached Allisonville Road, the first thing I saw were signs of construction. The intersection is supposed to be completed next month.
Normally, if you are travelling east on 96th Street and need to enter Allisonville Road north, you just head to the left turn lanes. Not with the Michigan Left.
There is a sign to the right telling me to stay right if I want to travel north on Allisonville Road. There are two right-turn only lanes. I pick the one most left. I guessed correctly.
There is a yield sign, and if traffic is clear, I head right (south) on Allisonville Road. I had to be careful to keep left after the right turn. Very quickly, I see a sign that tells me to make a U-Turn to head north on Allisonville Road.
There is a dedicated traffic light for the U-Turns. It is a little confusing as you approach it for the first time. Hopefully, that will be improved once the construction is completed.
So I waited for the light to turn green and finally it does. I then did something that seems strange to many Indiana motorists my age. I made a legal U-Turn. I keep remembering my 1960’s-era driver education teacher telling us in no uncertain terms U-Turns were almost always illegal in Indiana. Times do change.
Once the U-Turn is complete, I am headed north on Allisonville Road and back to the intersection with 96th Street. My Michigan Left experience is complete.
The traffic engineers with the Town of Fishers are certified, experienced professionals. They tell us the Michigan Left is a much better solution for moving traffic at this intersection than the traditional left-hand turn lanes.
Anyone that has travelled that intersection during morning or evening rush hours will tell you it has been a traffic mess for quite a long time. Let’s hope the professionals know what they are doing here. We should know once construction is complete, hopefully sometime in May.