By the end of the year, the blue parking enforcement signs once prevalent in downtown Bremerton will be a thing of the past. A judge ruled they violate state law and the city claims it was already beginning to replace them. The whole project will cost the city up to $8,000 to remedy, the public works department says.
The story generated a firestorm of comments, ranging from: “More tax dollars wasted! Research people! Research!!!!” to: “Stupid! I liked the signs. Apparently people don’t want to have to read? The blue was different and nice looking.”*
Here at the Kitsap Sun, we received a lot of feedback with a simple question: if the Poulsbo man who generated the lawsuit had demanded the city use federally allowed white signs with red lettering, what’s the city doing erecting all that green lettering?
For that answer, we turn to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (MUTCD), devised by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The manual, adopted by Washington state, is what the Kitsap judge relied on in making his decision Bremerton’s signs are unlawful.
The manual states that for areas where parking is prohibited, red letters will be used. For areas where parking is limited to a certain number of hours, the signs are green. Here’s a diagram to help:
So, now that the city is following the MUTCD on parking signs, that’s the end of the case, right? Not quite. Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Kevin D. Hull has not ruled on a remedy for what happens now. But since the city has already chosen to replace the signs, the only other big question is whether the thousands of people who got parking tickets since 2012 could recoup their fines. Hull has asked both lawyers for the plaintiff and the city to “provide further briefing.” The next hearing in the case is Dec. 9.
*Actual comments from Facebook.