City of Madison

Traffic Engineering - David Dryer, P.E. Traffic Engineer and Parking Manager

North Sherman Avenue Lane
Re-Configuration Project

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the benefits of center, two-way left turn lanes?
Answer: Continuous two-way left-turn lanes offer several advantages. First, they remove left turning vehicles from the through lanes, which can reduce delay to through vehicles and can lead to a reduction in rear-end and sideswipe collisions. Second, they provide spatial separation between opposing lanes of traffic, which can lead to a reduction in head-on collisions. Third, two-way left-turn lanes can also function as a lane for emergency vehicles and finally they allow engineers to provide facilities for bicyclists and improve crossing conditions for pedestrians. By reducing the number of lanes that need to be crossed and when supplemented with pedestrian islands safety for pedestrians can be greatly enhanced.

Q: How do I use the center left turn lane?
Answer: The center lane is used as a two-way left-turn lane. This lets left-turning drivers from both directions wait for a chance to turn without holding up traffic. To use a two-way, left-turn lane, follow these steps:

  1. Signal and move into the center lane shortly before your turn. Slow down.
  2. Carefully move forward to a spot opposite the road or driveway where you wish to turn.
  3. Make your turn when the way is clear. Remember that vehicles from the opposite direction also use this lane to turn left. As they wait in front of you, it may be hard for you to see oncoming traffic. Only go when you are sure the way is clear. Remember the center left-turn lane is not to be used for passing moving vehicles.

Q: Can I make a left turn across the yellow centerline?
Answer: Yes, it is legal for drivers to cross a double yellow centerline to enter a driveway or to enter the center turn lane when exiting a driveway.

Q: If a bus is stopped at the curb, can I pass it?
Answer: It depends on the type of bus and its operation, for example you can pass a Madison Metro bus loading and unloading at the curb see State Statute number 346.075(2) below. Traffic in both directions must stop and cannot pass a school bus when it has activated its flashers.

State Statute 346.075 Overtaking and passing bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, and motor buses. (2) Except as provided in s. 346.48, if the operator of a motor vehicle overtakes a motor bus which is stopped at an intersection on the right side of the roadway and is receiving or discharging passengers, the operator shall pass at a safe distance to the left of the motor bus and shall not turn to the right in front of the motor bus.

State Statute 346.48 pertains to school buses, and the requirement for vehicles to stop for school buses when it has activated its flashing lights.

IN ALL CASES pass with care and at reduced speed and watch for pedestrians that may be stepping into the street.

Q: Can delivery vehicles like UPS and FED EX stop at the curb?
Answer: Yes, stopping a vehicle temporarily while actively engaged in loading/unloading is allowed.

Q: How much traffic is on N Sherman Ave and what are the travel speeds?
Answer: See the Engineering Staff report for this data.

Q:How will an emergency vehicle get around the islands with a vehicle at the curb?
Answer: If there is insufficient room for an emergency vehicle to pass between your vehicle and an island the officer will pass to the left of the island.

Q: Now that N Sherman Ave. has bike lanes, can bicyclists still be on the N Sherman Ave. sidewalk?
Answer: Yes bicyclists can still legally use the sidewalks along N Sherman Ave. Bicyclists are only prohibited from use of the sidewalk when buildings directly front or abut the sidewalk

Q: What will be looked at as part of the after traffic study?
Answer: Engineers will conduct traffic volume, delay and some speed studies on N Sherman Ave as well as some of the nearby neighborhood streets where traffic may be shortcutting. Crash history on N Sherman after conversion will also be considered as part of this review.

Q: The Common Council directed Staff to prepare a report on N Sherman Ave, when will this report be completed?

Answer: The Council directed Staff provide this report 18 months after project completion. The estimated due date is March, 2015.

Presentations & Reports


  • City of Madison
    Tom Mohr, Traffic Engineering
    (608) 267-8725