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Sight Distance Procedures

Sight Distance At Intersections

Intersection sight distance needs to be provided so that drivers approaching an intersection have an unobstructed view of the intersection and traffic control devices, along with sufficient length along the intersecting streets to anticipate and minimize potential conflicts. Intersections include all cases where two streets intersect and locations where driveways intersect streets. The area needed to be clear of site obstruction for safe turning movements is called the "sight distance triangle." The sight distance requirements affect the location of all obstructions, including signs, landscaping, fencing on-street parking, buildings and other improvements.

The procedures to determine the required sightdistance for a property are provided in the Sight Distance Guidelines. They will also be located in the Public Works Department's Pre-Approved Plans after the annual updates in late winter.


The following are the steps for determining the site distance requirements. However, if the subject property is adjacent to an uncontrolled intersection (no traffic light, stop sign, or yield sign) described in the Sight Distance Procedures Type A/Site Distance Figure 1 or a yield controlled intersection described in Type C/Site Distance Figure 3A, please contact Iris Cabrera, City Transportation Engineer, at (425) 587-3866 to have the Public Works Department determine the required site distance triangle.

  1. Obtain the latest average daily traffic count (ADT) for the major street(s) adjacent to the subject property. This information is available online (PDF) or you can also obtain a copy from the Public Works counter.

  2. Determine the posted speed limit on the street entered upon from the subject property. This information may be obtained from a field inspection or at the Public Works Department counter.

  3. For situations involving driveways, obtain the driveway PM peak volumes. Driveways include private driveways, vehicular access easements and vehicular access tracts.

    The driveway PM peak volumes can be determined using the formula in the PM Peak Trips Calculation Spreadsheet (PDF) or by contacting Thang Nguyen, City Transportation Engineer, at (425) 587-3869.

  4. Obtain a sight plan to scale (GIs based at 1"/30' or 1"/40' scale) from the Public Works or Planning Departments, showing the subject property, adjacent intersection(s), and if applicable, the driveway serving the site, on-street parking and/or bicycle lanes.

  5. Follow the Sight Distance Guidelines. These procedures are part of the Public Works Pre-Approved Plans and are referenced in the Zoning Code, Section 115.135.

    1. View Table 1 to determine:

      • The type of intersection by looking at the average daily traffic (ADT)

      • The type of control (none, stop sign, yield or signal) and the speed limit.

      • If applicable, the type of driveway by the PM peak volume and average daily traffic (ADT) for the major street.

    2. View Table 2 to determine the dimensions of the sight distance triangle.

      1. Find Point A on the sight plan, the location of the driver's position in the turning vehicle. Point A is determined by taking the corresponding number under Column 2 of Table 2: Distance from Edge of Traveled Way for type of intersection/driveway and measuring that distance (in feet) down from the edge of the traveled way to the position of the driver making the turn (for example, see 10 feet marked on Site Distance Figure 2

      2. Find Points C1 and C2 on the site plan by placing a point in the centerline (middle) of each lane directly above Point A as shown in Sight Distance Figure 2 on page 5 of Attachment 1).

      3. Find Lines B-C1 and B-C2 on the site plan by using the corresponding number under Column 5 of Table 2: Recommended site Distance Value B-C1 and B-C2 to measure that many feet to the left and right of Points C1 and C2 and drawing the lines as shown in Sight Distance Figure 2. (The Minimum site Distance number under Column 5 of Table 2 is only used when the Recommended sightDistance number cannot be met due to existing improvements and/or topography that cannot be altered.)

      4. Complete the triangle by connecting Points B (to the left and right of Point A) to Point A.

      5. Additional notes on determining what is the "traveled way:"

        • If an on-street parking lane exists, it may be excluded from the traveled way for measurement purposes, depending on the volumes on the major street and the driveway. Contact the Public Works Department at (425) 587-3800.

        • If no curb or shoulder exists, contact the Public Works Department to determine the edge of the traveled way.

        • If there is no on-street parking lane or shoulder, but a curb does exist, the edge of the traveled way shall be measured from the face of the curb.

As stated in Section 4 of the Sight Distance at Intersection procedures, no landscaping, signage, fencing, portion of a building or other improvements located in the site distance triangle may be within 3 feet and 8 feet above the elevation of the adjacent pavement edge of the street or driveway, unless otherwise approved by the Public Works Department's Transportation Engineer.

Helpful Links
  1. Sight Distance Guidelines

  2. Average Daily Traffic Counts

  3. Driveway PM Peak Trips Calculation Spreadsheet (in Microsoft Excel)

Public Works
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123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
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