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Operation Safe Roads: Indirect left turns on Grant Road affecting businesses

No left or U-turn on 1st and Stone Avenues

TUCSON, Ariz. - When the indirect left turns went into effect on Grant Road in September, some drivers were confused with the changes, and others had strong opinions about the 'Michigan lefts.'

Five years ago, the first two indirect left turns in Tucson went up on Grant at Oracle and Ina Roads. Just days after 1st and Stone Avenues implemented the indirect lefts, KGUN saw several drivers continue to turn left, instead of driving through the intersection, making a U-turn, and turning right. 

"I know it's kind of a sore spot with some people," Chris Fanelli, owner of Sausage Deli said. "The hassle of it, of learning the new habits of learning how to drive where indirect left turns are." 

Fanelli says he doesn't hear many of his sandwich shop customers complain about the indirect lefts as much anymore. He says the changes at the intersection, which include widened lanes, have been good for business. 

"I think may people are just willing to accept it and go along with it," Fanelli said. 

According to the Tucson Department of Transportation, the indirect left turns reduce pedestrian and vehicle conflicts and improve travel time. 

But Paul Tith, owner of Donut King on Grant and Stone, think the extra quarter of a mile drivers have to go to turn left is bad for business. 

"To me, it's just a nuisance and we lose the spur of the moment customers that say, 'Hey, there's a donut shop,'" Tith said. "And it's hard for them to make the left turn because of the center divider so they just keep going straight."

Tith says the customers who do come in, express their frustrations.

"Yeah, they're pretty much saying it's like a rat maze getting in here," Tith said.

During rush hour, KGUN checked to see how drivers have adjusted and it seemed like most have caught on to the indirect lefts. But both Fanelli and Tith say the confusion may return when the snowbirds do.

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