Someone who is both as brilliant as they come and who has a very analytical mind told me years ago that the best way to improve traffic flow in any urban environment would be to ban all left turns by vehicles, but especially by cars.
The reason is pretty simple: far too many car drivers just do that turn very badly, far too often by impeding more efficient traffic flow either in front of their car (by unnecessarily cutting off a lane) or more often, behind them (for example, by not moving out far enough to allow a 2nd vehicle to make it through that same yellow light).
He’s right, of course, but there may be an even better reason to ban left turns, namely pedestrian safety.
According to a computer-based simulation study from Oregon State University, which is available online at http://bit.ly/kZJkWs, researchers determined that “4-9 percent of the time, drivers making a left turn don’t even bother to look and see if there are pedestrians in their way.”
Bottom line: if you’re crossing the street, even in a crosswalk, and you see a car turning left into your path, watch out for your life.