Letters to the Editor

Simply use the right lane

Everyone agrees that Highway 20 in the vicinity of Wal-Mart has a problem, but not everybody agrees what it is.

Randy McClaskey (Letters, Sept. 19), among others, thinks the southbound right lane should be barricaded so that anyone in that lane would be forced to turn right at SW Erie Street. As it is, many drivers are lucky if they can get that far, with other drivers trying to shoehorn their way into the left lane after entering the highway from Barlow Street or exiting the Wendy’s or Albertson’s parking lots. A “right lane speeder” who might T-bone a northbound driver who is trying to turn left into Albertson’s could be intending to turn right onto Erie, so McClaskey’s barrier would do no good in that case.

What people need to realize is that both lanes should be used equally, right up to the merge point. The merge (not “yield” — think about it) sign is only yards before Erie, so many visitors transiting Oak Harbor don’t know the right lane ends until they see that sign. What is the best thing for them to do? The answer is to continue past Erie, where nobody will be offended except somebody who may have “got in line” as far back as Whidbey Furniture.

Anyone who uses the right lane instead of leaving it practically empty at rush hour is using good sense. It is stupid to line up and watch the light go from green to red a few times until cars in the left lane creep up to that intersection. Some of those cars might be turning left into Burger King or onto Erie anyway and not continuing up the hill.

The highway has a similar, northbound merge lane just north of Midway Boulevard, near the Coachman Inn. Rarely does that one present a problem, because fewer people are inclined to treat it as something special. Once in a while a jerk in the left lane will refuse to let a car in the right lane merge, but that is also a problem often experienced on the south end.

It is puzzling why so many people treat the merge lane on the south end of town as a reason to throw all driving rules and etiquette out the window. If more drivers used the right lane to its full advantage, traffic in both lanes would proceed at an equal speed, and “right lane speeders” would cease to exist.

James Bruner

Oak Harbor

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