A multitude of factors are considered when building a roadway system, and it can be a lengthy process.
Over time, factors that might have been more important in determining the original design may change, such as the southbound Broadway Extension/Interstate 44 interchange, which is undergoing a massive makeover that will take years.
In a large city, the amount of traffic and the routes motorists want and need are major considerations. Exits and entry points are no exception. Here's an example.
Traveling north on Interstate 235 the exit at NW 23 is very dangerous as traffic backs onto the interstate, even in something less than drive times. The reason is the way the two exit lanes allow traffic to flow. The right lane is for right turn only with the left lane allowing for straight line and left-turn travel. So many exiters wanting to turn left while the right lane in empty is the reason for the backup. The backup problem could be lessened if one could turn left from both lanes. It's not unusual for someone in the only left-turn lane to have to wait through more than one cycle of the light to make it to the intersection, but the most dangerous thing is when that lane backs up onto the interstate highway. Some common sense here would be very beneficial.
You're correct that that's an area that can really stack up, Tom. And the bulk of the northbound traffic does head west. But changing the flow there could pose even more problems.
Northbound vehicles approaching NW 23 have, as you note, three choices: (1) turn left; (2) continue north through the light onto Santa Fe Avenue; (3) move over to the right-turn-only lane.
Directly opposite, southbound vehicles on Santa Fe can (1) enter a left-turn-only lane; (2) continue through the light, under the overpass and up the ramp to get onto I-235 southbound; or (3) turn right on NE 23.
Now, think about the northbound side.
If you were to convert the right-turn-only lane, it would be a right turn, straight ahead, left turn lane. The left turn lane would become left turn only.
Southbound vehicles, as things are now, can turn left as the same time northbound vehicles turn left. The change would require those facing south on Santa Fe but wanting to turn left onto NE 23 to wait on a signal.
The exit ramp from I-235 northbound to NE 23 is a long one, but it also has a heavy traffic flow that fills it up. Changing one lane at this time most likely wouldn't solve the problem.
By the way ...
Improvements along NE 23 already have resulted in increased traffic. With more improvements coming, expect even more vehicles.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.
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