Safer right turns for Kelowna intersections

March 26, 2021

The City is improving a number of intersections this year, building “Smart Right Turns”, that improve sight lines for drivers so they can merge safely while keeping an eye out for pedestrians.

“This is a great example of the evolution of traffic safety,” says Chad Williams, Transportation Planning Engineer. “This geometric reconfiguration of right turn channels improves sightlines and simplifies the turning movement, reducing collisions.” 

A “Smart Channel” design forces the vehicle to enter the cross street at a sharper angle. This reduces the turning radius, which causes drivers to slow down to complete the turn. The sharper entry angle also means that more of the intersection and cross street is within the driver’s immediate cone of vision. As a result, the driver does not need to do a sharp left shoulder check, which simplifies the turn. Finally, this layout also positions crossing pedestrians more directly in the line of sight of oncoming vehicles, which increases their visibility for drivers. 

“ICBC contributes funding to road improvement projects, each year, that reduce collisions,” says Williams. “Last year ICBC invested more than $170,000 in Kelowna projects, for their safety benefits.” 

Improvements are currently underway at Gordon Drive and Clement Avenue and are anticipated for completion by mid-April. People walking and cycling are asked to use an alternate route. 

Smart right turns have already been completed at Cooper and Benvoulin roads and at Gerstmar and Springfield roads.   

In 2021 the City will be improving three more intersections in Kelowna: 

  • Bernard Avenue and Spall Road 
  • Clifton Road and Clement Avenue  
  • Leathead Road and Hwy 97 

To learn more about infrastructure projects happening in 2020 visit kelowna.ca/cityprojects.