'Michigan left turn' spurs confusion for drivers in Plano



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Posted on July 30, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 31 at 8:22 PM

Preston Road at Legacy Drive

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PLANO - Intersections are nothing new to drivers. Every driver in the state goes through at least one, if not dozens, each day. But, there is a new turn at one intersection that has drivers confused.
The state's first "Michigan left turn" debuted at the intersection of Legacy Drive and Preston Road in Plano this week. For drivers who want to make a left turn off of Legacy onto Preston, they first have to make a right turn at Preston, drive up a short way and make a U-turn.

For the past four days, Plano police have spent their hours pulling people over. First, they passed out a flier with directions, but now they are passing out warnings.

There are warning signs, including some with flashing lights and others with yellow ribbons, about the change. However, many drivers still haven't gotten the message that they can no longer take a left onto Preston from Legacy.

"I'll be honest with you you," said John Montgomery, a Plano driver. "I still really don't understand it."

The idea of turning south onto Preston with the goal of eventually heading north redefines the term traffic-engineering for many drivers.

"I don't really understand why they did that to be honest," said Christina Lutsca, another driver.

With 73,000 cars passing through the intersection every day, the concept will smooth out the congestion, says officials with the City of Plano. Until the public gets used to it, Plano police are educating them with warning tickets.

At some point, warnings presumably will turn into real violations.

"Right now, I'm just trying to find another way home," said Meagan Timme, a Plano driver. "I know at some time I'll have to brave the whole thing and deal with it."

Preston and Legacy is the first of three intersections in Plano that will be modified with the so-called Michigan left turn. But, in a state where northerners are less than popular, drivers might give the Michigan left another name - Yankee revenge. 

E-mail: bharris@wfaa.com