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Arrows Leading to Airport Point Drivers in the Wrong Direction

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Street Smart:

I have gotten used to the confusing signs leading to the airport from the MacArthur Boulevard off-ramp coming from the north. I bet a lot of people not used to the signs continue to get in the wrong lane.

As you exit to MacArthur, there are three lanes. Immediately, there is a sign indicating that the left lane is for left turns onto MacArthur, the middle is to go straight into the airport, and the right is for a right turn onto MacArthur.

Seeing those signs, an airport-bound driver would get in the middle lane.

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Around the curve, large white arrows are painted on the road. Again, the left-turn lane has a large arrow pointing left, the middle lane has a large white arrow pointing straight and the right-turn lane has a large white arrow pointing right. The driver heading to the airport once again is told to stay in the middle lane.

Suddenly, maybe 50 feet ahead at the stop light, a fourth turning lane appears to the right. The middle lane of the off-ramp is now the second lane from the left and at the stop light it has a large white left-turn arrow painted instead of a straight-ahead arrow.

People either have to make a sudden cut into the right lane to go into the airport or ignore the left arrow on the road and go straight into the airport. Can anything be done to fix this?

Mark Simon, Irvine

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Yours was among many letters Street Smart received on this subject. The trick, it would seem, is to ignore those painted arrows on the ground, which are misleading. And don’t cling too tightly to the notion that those overhead signs are going to show you the way, either. They’re not aligned correctly.

As you say, when the ramp becomes three lanes, the left lane has a left-turn arrow, the middle lane has a straight arrow and the right lane has a right-turn arrow. Don’t believe it. Just ahead, at the traffic signal, that middle lane does indeed become a left-turn lane, and the right lane becomes a right-turn or straight-ahead lane.

Caltrans spokeswoman Rose Orem said drivers should pay attention not to the first arrows but to the signs overhead.

But the problem there is that the overhead signs are not properly aligned with the road. Caltrans’ maintenance department is working to position those overhead signs so their arrows will align exactly over the designated lanes, Orem said.

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Dear Street Smart:

Please ask Caltrans if they are ever going to improve the interchange of the Riverside and Pomona freeways.

Sherry Bullock

Huntington Beach

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Irene Coyazo, a Caltrans spokeswoman in Riverside, said improvements are planned for the interchange, but not until fiscal 1998-99, when funding becomes available.

Dear Readers:

A common theme among Street Smart letters is the condition of railroad tracks in Orange County. Reports are not glowing. Drivers often complain that rough rail crossings wreak havoc on their cars and that trying to report the problem crossings is an exercise in futility.

Orange County has more than 150 miles of railroad track that are divvied up among three main owners. Railroad crossing problems should be reported to track owners or managers.

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When you call, provide complete information including the nearest cross streets and direction the tracks run.

* Metrolink: 76 miles of track; (800) 371-LINK. OCTA maintains and repairs the track it owns. Address written concerns to Metrolink, Customer Service, P.O. Box 194, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053.

* Santa Fe Railroad: 20 miles of track; (800) 333-2383. This 24-hour number taps into Santa Fe’s communication center in Topeka, Kan., which relays the information to local crews.

* Southern Pacific Railroad: 55 miles of track; (800) 767-3884 for a crossing-arm problem; (415) 541-1000 for exposed rails or other problems.

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