Category Archives: Roads and traffic

Memorial to girls planned on Baby Doll Road Wednesday

Family and friends of two teenage girls killed in a single car collision Dec. 16 on Baby Doll Road will gather at the site Wednesday, as Kitsap County installs memorial signs commemorating the crash victims.
Rebekah Faye Barrett, 18, of South Kitsap, and Shanaia Rose Bennett, 17, of Gig Harbor, died on the scene, after the Toyota Camry Barrett was driving skidded of the road and slammed into a tree. A third girl, 17, survived the crash.
Witnesses reported that Barrett had been racing with a 1997 Toyota pickup, driven by her boyfriend Robert A. Rundquist. Rundquist, 20, of South Kitsap faces two counts of vehicular homicide in Kitsap County Superior Court. His trial is set for May.
The signs, purchased with donations through the county’s memorial sign program, will urge safe driving.
“If either one of those signs saves one life, it will be worth it,” said Rhonda Barrett, Rebekah’s mother.
Anyone is welcome to attend the memorial from noon to 1 p.m. on Baby Doll Road. The road will be closed during the event.

Snowplows in July

With weather in the 70s and 80s, sunny with the occasional summer thunderstorm, snow and ice may be the last things on our minds. But when frigid, dark days close in on us, we can take comfort from knowing that four of Kitsap County’s snowplow blades now sport works of art created by local schoolchildren.

Students from Manchester, Brownsville, Green Mountain and Breidablik elementary schools were selected by county public works officials in May from among 14 competing schools to decorate the plow blades. The contest was modeled after similar competitions in other jursidictions around the United States. Teachers  used the art project as a teaching opportunity, according to Anne Giantvalley, a teacher at Manchester Elementary. The students got a field trip to the public works department. They submitted drawings, then the classes involved voted on their favorite designs, which were chosen for transfer to the snow removal equipment. When it came time to paint, the county brought the blank canvass blades to each school.

“Our students learned about design and had to work collaboratively to complete the painting in a limited time in some inclement weather too,” Giantvalley said. “Students also had the opportunity to see the truck bring the blade and unload it – quite fascinating.”

We may not need it now, but tuck this link to the county’s snow removal plan in your bookmark bar for when the snowflakes start to fall. Now, get out and soak up the sun while it’s here.

Gratitude shown first responders with 19 quilts

October 29, 2011 was cold and rainy. The car in which Kattie Mendes was riding went out of control on Ridgetop Boulevard and spun off the road, slamming into a maple tree, splitting the tree.

First on the scene was off-duty firefighter Lt. Steve Murray, on his way home.

“I saw a car accident on the side of the road …”

Murray called 911 then checked Mendes and the young man who was driving. The two were lodged in the crumpled car and had to be extricated by Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews that followed shortly.

Mendes, then 26, was unconscious. EMTs began care to stabilize her for an airlift to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, which receives many traumatic injuries from Kitsap County.

In all 19 first responders (all from CKFR except Murray) aided the two victims, all but certainly saving their lives.

Francie Mendes, Kattie’s mom, wanted to show her gratitude, and her sister Cheri Searles quickly got on board. Searles is a member of the Kitsap Quilters Guild.

“I said cookies. She said, ‘No, we’re going to make quilts,'” Francie Mendes said of her older sister’s idea.

The two had made quilts for the Lakewood Police Department after four of its officers were gunned down in a Tacoma coffee shop in 2009.

Nineteen quilts seemed a daunting task, Francie said, but they took it one at a time. Each quilt was different. Each has a special message sewn into the corner.

“That’s all we did for six months was work on those quilts. We did nothing else,” Francie said.

Some of the material was donated.

On Tuesday, the sisters presented the quilts at a meeting of the CKFR board of commissioners in Silverdale.

“We are so thankful for all of you here and what you did on that night of October 29 that forever changed our lives,” Francie said.

Kattie is recovering slowly, her mother told the men and women who arrived on the scene. But her memory, speech and fine motor skills remain impaired. She has no memory of the accident, and her short-term memory is poor — though she can remember long-term information, like phone numbers from when her dad was in the Navy and they lived in different places every few years. Through hard work and therapy, Kattie is almost ready to go back to work with Verizon Wireless.

“We know you see so much bad and ugly, we just want to make you happy,” Francie said.

Not all the firefighter/EMTs were able to make it to the ceremony. But those who did got warm hugs from the two sisters as they accepted their gifts.

“Thank you from my niece,” Searles said, as she embraced Murray.

“Thank you so much,” she said to Firefighter Kara Putnam.

Putnam’s unit arrived after Mendes already had been transported from the scene. She helped give aid to the young man, who also is recovering from serious injuries.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” Putnam said after the brief, informal ceremony. “It’s incredibly kind of them. When we first heard they were doing this … you get chills.”

Putnam said the quilt she chose would coordinate with her bedroom at home, but she has other plans.

“I’ll probably keep this at the station on my dorm bed,” she said.

“It was a labor of love. They really enjoyed what they did,” said Andy Mendes, Kattie’s father.

He was a firefighter on naval aircraft carriers, so he could relate to the daily demands on the group being honored.

“It’s nice to be able to meet these people and be able to show them how much we appreciate what they did,” Andy Mendes said.

Added Cheri’s husband Russ, “Too few tell them thank you.”

The quilting marathon was a bonding experience for the two sisters, both from Poulsbo.

“As sisters, we laughed, we cried,” Francie Mendes said. “Everything here has been prayed over, not just for the people who are receiving the quilts, but for their families.”

… and for everyone who comes under their care.

“We never argue,” said Francie, with a wink at her elder sister.

To which Cheri replied, “That’s because I’m always right.

…. In the photo below by Kitsap Sun photographer Meegan Reid, Francie Mendes hugs firefighter Lt. Steve Murray of North Kitsap Fire & Rescue. Francie’s sister Cheri Searles is in the background.

Sedgwick Road open Saturday, despite complications in job

A repaving project on Sedgwick Road hit a glitch earlier this week, when crews from the paving company contracted by the city of Port Orchard found areas of wetland upon tearing off the old roadway.
That’s no surprise said Public Works Director Mark Dorsey, who noted the road was put laid over a marshy area long before rules of the Shoreline Management Act would have made it hard if not impossible to do so.
The goal of state shoreline laws is to have “no net loss” of functioning wetlands and shorelines. Development in and around some wetlands is allowed depending on how they score on a system the state uses to rate functionality, like how well they absorb water and filter pollutants. Development allowed on or near wetlands these days must be offset or mitigated by the builder’s enhancement of other wetland areas.
As it is, Sedgwick is grandfathered in, with no mitigation required. Crews filled in squishy areas on the roadway, then put down a layer of asphalt. More asphalt is needed, but first they need to see if the issue with wet areas is solved.
The road, which has been closed all week, will be open on schedule Saturday, but crews will be looking for the new asphalt to “proof” or set up. If it breaks apart and settles as cars drive over it, more fill work will have to be done, Dorsey said.
The city council on Tuesday authorized an additional expenditure of up to $50,000 for the required fix. The original cost of the job was estimated at $191,605. The extra money is available in the city’s street fund.

Roundabouts: Don’t go in if you can’t get out

To suggest a little roundabout etiquette I ask that you look at this picture. I doctored it to remove the license plate numbers, so no one feels like I’m shaming them. I’m approaching the Manette Bridge on Lower Wheaton Way.

Travis Baker, our resident road warrior may correct me if I am wrong, but I see a problem with this picture.

The stoppage at this roundabout, located at the east end of the bridge, is because of ongoing construction work on the span. Because of the construction, no one going onto the bridge will be able to continue that way. I suggest that drivers should have stopped before entering the roundabout, because if someone coming from the left (Harkins Street from Pitt Avenue) on this photo wanted to pull a U-turn by completely circling the roundabout, they would be unable. This might be tough, because people generally don’t learn about the stoppage until they’ve already entered the roundabout. I can’t fault them. However, in this picture it’s getting close to a point where a car would be unable to turn right from Harkins onto Lower Wheaton Way opposite the direction I’m going.

This could be a bigger problem once traffic starts exiting the bridge. If enough cars opposite the bridge enter the roundabout and wait, they could block the path of those wanting to turn onto Lower Wheaton Way.

Anyone want to dispute my contention? Drivers on Lower Wheaton are not inconvenienced at all in this picture, because if the first car does as I suggest no one is moving forward anyway. The potential problem here is for those entering the roundabout from Harkins or the bridge.

Kitsap County’s got drivers on its radar

I just filed a story about a federal road safety grant Kitsap County received to place 10 stationary radar signs in speeding trouble spots throughout the county.

Surely you’ve seen those signs that display the posted speed limit and flash angrily if you exceed it … not that I’d know from personal experience. Ahem.

The signs, in pairs, will monitor traffic in either direction along five stretches of road where drivers are known to have lead feet. The five locations were chosen based on residents’ complaints, traffic studies, data on speeding in each neighborhood and accident rates.

The county already has three radar signs, which it moves about to areas of greatest need. The 10 new signs will be semi-permanent.

Look on the map below (click on each pin for details) to see if your neighborhood is one of the chosen. Where else would you like to see radar signs? Do you find them effective?

To comment on traffic in your neighborhood, call Jeff Shea, county traffic engineer, at (360) 337-5777 or email jshea@co.kitsap.wa.us.


View Kitsap County Radar Signs in a larger map