Residents react to planned “no left turn” signs in Trader Joe’s parking lot

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The entrance of Trader Joe’s on Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles. Saturday, March 2, 2019. Kathy Ou/The Occidental

Following approval obtained during an Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meeting Jan. 15, the Trader Joe’s market on Colorado Boulevard plans to post signs warning shoppers not to exit the market’s parking lot by making a left turn. In response to car accidents on the boulevard, Trader Joe’s will tentatively install the signs in July.

The turn, which requires crossing and interrupting oncoming traffic, has been a point of contention among the residents of Eagle Rock for years. Proponents and critics of the left turn regularly make their voices heard on the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Group (ERNG), a Facebook page for members of the Eagle Rock community.

In one post on the page from 2014, group member Joshua Ellman called for the installation of a “no left turn” sign approximately five years before a real sign was approved.

“There needs to be a No Left Turn sign coming out of the Trader Joes Parking lot,” Ellman posted. “Yes…I am guilty of it plenty…but not at the expense of cars waiting behind to get out as well. It amazes me the inconsideration of people trying to turn left on to busy Colorado!”

In recent years, the Trader Joe’s left turn has developed into a recurring meme on the neighborhood group page, with many posts making fun of it.

“Is it illegal to make a left turn out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot, half way through realize you forgot something, then make a u-turn back into the parking lot?” page member Tye Quintana posted. “Asking for a friend!”

Cars exiting the parking lot of Trader Joe’s on Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles. Saturday, March 2, 2019. Kathy Ou/The Occidental

Another post from member Carol Rheaume poked fun at the spread of the joke beyond the scope of the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

“IS IT OKAY to turn left out of my own driveway?” Rheaume posted.

While the turn has provided some humor within the community, many consider it a valid and tangible issue. According to community member Kevin Grace, the left turn not only presents a hazard on the boulevard but a nuisance within the parking lot itself.

“The left turn there is precarious at best,” Grace said via Facebook. “In addition, sometimes seven or eight cars end up lined up ready to exit the lot. But they can’t. Heaven forbid if half of those lined up want to turn left, as it backs up even more. Then some patrons are blocked from even getting in line to exit.”

Despite the outcry against the turn, some Eagle Rock residents such as Kim Turner will make it when conditions allow it.

“I know that making a left turn is illegal as one would be crossing over two double lines,” Turner said via Facebook. “I am guilty of making this illegal left turn when I see that there is no traffic.”

Nonetheless, Turner noted that she prefers to turn right.

“99% of the time I make a right because it is safer and I don’t wish to hold everyone behind me that is waiting to exit the parking lot,” Turner said via Facebook. I am glad that there will be a No Left Turn sign going up in the near future.”

Not all members of the Eagle Rock community decry the infamous left turn. Page member Alessandra Pardo commented on the ERNG page that the sign could be an overreaction to the communitys response.

“Just because idiots don’t know how to drive, did not mean that they should take the left turn out completely,” Pardo posted. “I just did the left turn with 0 issues. I see many people do it with 0 issues. Wtf is wrong with you people?”

While the installation of the signs may alleviate some traffic-related issues in the area, others remain unresolved.

“There are also safety issues with cars traveling eastbound that backup on Colorado Blvd that partially block the right lane as they wait to enter the parking lot,” Turner said via Facebook. “Then there are those Trader Joe’s Shoppers that try to enter the parking lot from the westbound lanes that are impatient and pull in front of the cars waiting in the eastbound lanes and totally block the right eastbound lane.”

Another member of the ERNG, Cynthia Wilson, also remained pessimistic about the state of traffic in Eagle Rock.

“A ‘No Left Turn’ sign is not a bad idea,” Wilson said via Facebook. The problem is, it will work as well as the one at the post office. People still make left turns. But if you can’t make a left without causing an accident, you shouldn’t be driving.”