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1. Include the city and FULL state name in the "Subject:" line of your post
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Level4→L3 Unlock: California - Sacramento (Capitol Mall)

Post by purposeguy
I think this intersection needs some work. To do it, I'll need this segment downgraded to level 3:

Permalink

The whole arrangement is overly complex, and doesn't allow several legal maneuvers:
  • These two turn lanes don't meet the standards for at-grade connectors. Also, by mapping them as turn lanes, rather than a normal, four-way intersection, there is no way to drive across the intersection into the hotel entrance (a legal maneuver, represented by an arrow pointing south on Front St). I have contacted the creators and most recent editors of these segments and invited them to weight in:
    https://www.waze.com/editor/?env=usa&lo ... 0,65192948
  • This set of turn lane segments also doesn't meet the standard for an at-grade connector, and mapping it this way doesn't allow someone traveling east over the bridge on Capitol Mall to enter the hotel. I've also contacted its creator (it needs more work,too):
    https://www.waze.com/editor/?env=usa&lo ... 8,83385362
  • Finally, and least importantly, most of the altitude>0 stuff going on here isn't necessary. The freeway segments are below ground, so much of this can be set to ground level, as long as it stays above the railroad segment and 2nd St.
My plan for this intersection is to move the point where Capital Mall splits from its current location on the bridge slightly east until it is in the center of this intersection. Then, change the four at-grade connectors into simple north-south segments that allow driving directly from Front St into the hotel entrance and vice-versa. At that point, the intersection will consist of only five segments coming together at a single node: Front St, the hotel entrance, and three segments of Capitol Mall as it splits. The only segments that will need an altitude greater than zero will be the bridge segment to the west, which will cross above the railroad and the river, and the segments of Capitol Ave that cross 2nd St.

Questions and feedback on this plan are most welcome!
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Post by dbraughlr
Why not move the current intersection near the RR crossing onto it?

Is it true that one can drive from the hotel entrance to Front St? Or what do you mean by "vice versa"?
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Post by purposeguy
Based on this street view, I would say "yes," it's legal to drive from the hotel entrance directly across to Front St:
https://www.google.com/maps/@38.580113, ... !1e1?hl=en

No signs or pavement markings, and a red light indicating to wait before driving across Capitol Mall to Front St. Looks legal to me.

Which is why I think the intersection should be moved to the middle: there will need to be segments going directly across from Front St to the hotel. The bridge segment should intersect the railroad, yes, but I think the main intersection should be at the crossing of Capitol Mall and Front St. And that that's the best place to split Capitol Mall.

Also, the turn lanes are not "physically separated" from the main road, so a driver could enter the turn lane at any point, including right before the intersection. I thought this type of at-grade connector was necessary when the turn lane separated from the road, making it impossible to enter it close to the intersection. Your thoughts?
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Post by dbraughlr
purposeguy wrote:Based on this street view, I would say "yes," it's legal to drive from the hotel entrance directly across to Front St:
https://www.google.com/maps/@38.580113, ... e0!6m1!1e1

No signs or pavement markings, and a red light indicating to wait before driving across Capitol Mall to Front St. Looks legal to me.
I see a pavement marking for right turn only from the hotel.

Crossing a solid white line is barely legal in California and lots of people are cited for doing that.
In most states, it is not legal, and certainly not "at any point, including right before the intersection". That is unsafe in any state. "My GPS was slow" is no excuse. But I think Waze has increased the warning time.

I don't have a problem with your proposed redesign. I object to allowing/suggesting illegal maneuvers.
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Post by purposeguy
Oh, you're right! After further review of the satellite image and street view, there is something painted on the pavement. From the satellite view, it looks like a three-headed turn arrow, but in the street view, all directions but the right turn seem to be faded enough that they may have intended to erase them. The traffic light is a simple red circle, though; often, in this sort of situation, they would use a red arrow. But if it used to be legal to go straight or left and they changed it, they probably wouldn't bother to change the traffic light's shape.

You're right, though; suggesting an illegal maneuver is not kosher. If I ever get anyone to unlock the segment so I can implement these changes, I'll give the hotel a call and ask them to confirm which turns are legal exiting the two ends of their entranceway. (The easternmost of the two must be a right-turn-only, given the presence of a median.)

I've been rereading the guidance on AGCs, and I'm still confused about when they're necessary. It turns out the Area Manager, DwarfLord, has an interesting-but-unofficial guide on making these decisions:
https://wiki.waze.com/wiki/User:DwarfLo ... connectors

I found it very illuminating, but as a newly promoted level 3, I'm still not confident in my ability to make good AGC decisions, so I've asked him to weigh in. Hopefully, we'll hear from him soon. Thanks again for your attention to this situation.

P.S. I extended the PLR a little farther, so that it wouldn't interfere with speed statistics on 2nd St, which is very close to it.
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Post by DwarfLord
Wow, lots here. Where to start?
purposeguy wrote:
  • These two turn lanes don't meet the standards for at-grade connectors. Also, by mapping them as turn lanes, rather than a normal, four-way intersection, there is no way to drive across the intersection into the hotel entrance (a legal maneuver, represented by an arrow pointing south on Front St). I have contacted the creators and most recent editors of these segments and invited them to weight in
There are two issues: (a) whether the lane guidance and/or early warning provided by the AGCs is necessary and worth the downsides, and (b) whether cars leaving the Embassy Suites Hotel by the west exit can legally do anything besides turn right.

With regard to (a), I recently came to the conclusion that we editors must abandon any concern that the final voice instruction arrive in time to rescue a driver who missed the previous instructions. There are complex intersections all over the country and if we actually committed ourselves to ensuring that every turn at every complex intersection had final voice guidance that could rescue daydreaming drivers, we'd have map spaghetti coming out our ears.

What is important, however, is that the penultimate voice instruction arrives in time to get the driver ready. Penultimate instructions typically come around 300 m before the turn at slower speeds. If there are many lanes and bad traffic, making sure the penultimate instruction arrives in time might indeed mean an AGC to advance the turn warning. But for only two lanes and a dedicated right-turn lane off of Capitol Mall that's only ~75m long? Meh. The penultimate instruction will arrive in plenty of time without an AGC.

With regard to (b), the aerials and SV imagery were indeed odd. It doesn't help that Google merges photographs taken at different times for its images, and it's impossible to tell what's old and what's new. It took some wandering around, but, behold, this image seems pretty clear. Apparently the right-turn only arrow in some images is older, you can see in this image that it has been (very poorly) erased and replaced with the three-way arrow:
W Exit Embassy Suites.png
W Exit Embassy Suites
(157.57 KiB) Downloaded 611 times
So, I agree: rip out those two AGCs and replace with an ordinary right-angle connection. While you're at it, please finish the PLR through the Embassy Suites Hotel so the E exit connects with Capitol Mall. One-way roads to nowhere look pretty strange and will route funny too.

If there is any question, definitely call the Embassy Suites Hotel and ask them as you suggest! Call in the middle of the night when the desk clerk is bored to give him/her someone to talk to. :)
purposeguy wrote:
  • This set of turn lane segments also doesn't meet the standard for an at-grade connector, and mapping it this way doesn't allow someone traveling east over the bridge on Capitol Mall to enter the hotel. I've also contacted its creator (it needs more work,too)
That link doesn't bring up any segments for me. However, the simple right-angle intersection described above should deal with this.
purposeguy wrote:
  • Finally, and least importantly, most of the altitude>0 stuff going on here isn't necessary. The freeway segments are below ground, so much of this can be set to ground level, as long as it stays above the railroad segment and 2nd St.
[/list]
Elevations all over California are weird. Some editors feel that bad elevations corrupt routing but I've yet to see evidence of that personally. Regardless, it is best practice to set them as you suggest. Also, the current recommendation for Railroads is to set their elevation as if they were roads, and junction them to roads as well, making sure TRs disallow turns off of or onto the tracks. Personally I can't bring myself wholeheartedly to endorse this shift in guidance given that Waze's routing behavior changes unexpectedly from time to time. So with few exceptions I am not rushing to change all the railroads. But that's current guidance.

Anyway, by all means adjust elevations for best practice.
purposeguy wrote:My plan for this intersection is to move the point where Capital Mall splits from its current location on the bridge slightly east until it is in the center of this intersection. Then, change the four at-grade connectors into simple north-south segments that allow driving directly from Front St into the hotel entrance and vice-versa. At that point, the intersection will consist of only five segments coming together at a single node: Front St, the hotel entrance, and three segments of Capitol Mall as it splits. The only segments that will need an altitude greater than zero will be the bridge segment to the west, which will cross above the railroad and the river, and the segments of Capitol Ave that cross 2nd St.
Sounds fine to me.

The trickiest part of this rework to me is whether to keep the left-turn AGC to disallow routing of traffic entering Capitol Mall from the L St connector from turning left into the hotel. The solid white line of the connector merge ends only a few meters before the solid white line of the dedicated left-turn lane begins, that's very tight for drivers to get over.

I just did a bunch of searching regarding solid white lines, and all the references to traffic tickets that I found generally involved people crossing OUT of dedicated lanes after having already got in them. In those cases, they were ticketed because they violated other markings, not the solid white line. In addition, I found this description of striping in the 2003 Federal MUTCD that says crossing solid white lines is DISCOURAGED (emphasis theirs).

While I agree it is debatable, I would lean towards removing the left-turn AGC and thus allowing routing of L St Connector traffic to the left turn into the hotel. Based on everything I've read, the likelihood of ticketing for getting INTO the dedicated left-turn lane late is effectively zero; if one is ticketed, it will be very unlikely to stand up in court; and, there will be very little traffic going that way in the first place. Should URs show up I will gladly change my tune on that.

The one segment that was locked at 4 is now locked at 3.

Hope this helps!
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Post by purposeguy
Okay, that all sounds pretty clear to me. Thanks so much for finding that clear photo of the turn marking! How the hell did you do that? I wouldn't have known where to look.

I'm pretty clear that crossing a solid white line in California is legal, after being a bad boy and taking some trips to traffic school. Sometimes, there is a black-and-white sign saying, "do not cross solid white line" or something like that, which DOES make it an offense (since you're ignoring the sign), but it is extremely rare and I have never seen it in a turn lane. The violation you describe is for ignoring the sign that says "left turn only". You were in the lane, you didn't take a left turn, so you violated the rule posted on the sign. It's the same on a ramp when there's a "right lane must exit" sign and the dashed line becomes solid; you're cited for ignoring the sign, not the line.

I'll get started on this work. One thing that occurs to me is to move the junction of the L St connector a little farther east, halfway between where it joins Capitol Mall and the left turn lane to the hotel departs. I have no idea whether that will help, but it might.

Thanks so much for taking the time to educate me about best editing practice! This was all really, really helpful. And thank you, dbraughlr, for all your input, too. Having the differing opinions really helps me sharpen my thinking and understand the different factors involved in these kinds of ambiguous, complicated situations. I'm still going to need help from you more experienced guys on this kind of stuff for a while, but I feel the two of you have helped me take a big step forward in my thinking.
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Post by DwarfLord
purposeguy wrote:One thing that occurs to me is to move the junction of the L St connector a little farther east, halfway between where it joins Capitol Mall and the left turn lane to the hotel departs. I have no idea whether that will help, but it might.
I can't see a way that moving the merge east will help in this situation, although perhaps in other situations it might. The problem here is the physical roadway; there simply isn't much time for any driver to move over, even if they're not using Waze at all (horrors!).

Thanks for the further clarification regarding the solid white line. You know, I always thought it was illegal to cross it, so I am glad to understand this better! That being said, as you pointed out, in nearly all situations there will be another sign or road marking in addition to the solid white line. Disregarding THAT sign or marking is where the trouble starts. Good info!

By the way, if you think this topic is solved, it may be time to check the green box? The editors who review what does and doesn't need doing look for that, at least, I sure do. It doesn't stop us from continuing the conversation as work here progresses.
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Post by purposeguy
Good to know; I was thinking that I should leave it "unresolved" until the work was done. But the unlock has occurred; I see the logic. Okay, work complete; have a look and see what you think. If it looks good to you, perhaps one or two key segments of Capitol Mall should be locked at level 4? I'm not sure what the criteria are for deciding lock levels, beyond the standard ones associated with FC.

I'd love your opinion on the result, too, dbraughlr.
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Post by dbraughlr
I visited the site earlier and have no doubt that all three directions are legal when exiting the parking lot based on posted street sign around the signal as well as the pavement markings. Having the parking lot road mapped in Waze should make it easier for people to navigate to and from this location efficiently.
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Last edited by dbraughlr on Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.