Fishers introduces Michigan Left at Allisonville Rd. and 96th St. Monday
On the north side of Indianapolis, there is one topic, particularly in the Castleton Square area, that will usually get people talking - traffic.
Because of the traffic, Castleton is often called "Hassle-ton."
In the past year, the Indiana Department of Transportation has finished the Allisonville Road overpass south of the mall. Now the Town of Fishers is taking the first steps in to introduce Indiana drivers to the Michigan left at 96th Street north of the mall.
Orange construction barrels have been in place in and around the intersection of 96th and Allisonville for so long that it's hard to remember why they are there in the first place. The digital message board warning of the impending traffic pattern change on Monday March 4th delivers drivers a reminder.
The change in the traffic pattern is really a change in driving technique. The Town of Fishers will open the first Michigan Left intersection in Indiana.
A Michigan Left was explained in layman's terms by an engineer-in-training who did not offer his name before driving away. But he told us, "A Michigan left is basically when you go past the light, no left-hand turn," he said. "And about 150 feet after the light, there is going to be a signal to indicate where you basically make a U-turn into the road over there, and hang a right."
Drivers heading east on 96th Street from the White River who plan on turning north toward Fishers on Allisonville Road typically make a left hand turn from the left turn lane.
But Monday afternoon, in order to turn left, you will first have to turn right, go about 150 feet south on Allisonville Road to a special designated turn lane. There, traffic lights will guide the motoring public into a U-turn and lead drivers north onto Allisonville Road.
When the intersection is fully functional sometime in mid May, Fishers engineers and traffic analysts are hoping the Michigan Left will move traffic away from the intersection and, in theory, make room for other cars and ease congestion.
But it's a Michigan Left, not an Indiana left hand turn.
And our unnamed engineering student suggests the new pattern could be the source of traffic issues, " It is odd. I don't think people get the hang of it in general. It is supposedly more traffic-efficient."
Another driver from Fishers told Eyewitness News he likes the idea but also admits a Michigan Left will take longer than a New York minute to be accepted by Indiana left-lane-users. "It is awkward, there is no doubt about that."
He predicted the adjustment would be similar to how drivers learned to drive the roundabouts that now control traffic in many Hamilton County intersections, "When all of that stuff is brand new, nobody knows what they are doing. So it is going to be very strange not being able to make a left turn."
It will take some time for drivers to get used to the idea of going in the opposite direction in order to go in the right direction.