A race to the merge on Washington past Sixth

The in basket: Harvey Priest says Washington Avenue beyond its intersection with Sixth Street in Bremerton has gotten dangerous since its southbound two lanes were reduced to one as the new condos were built.
He was one of two readers who said the squealing of tires there has become common as impatient southbound drivers in the inside lane of Washington race ahead when the light turns green.


The in basket: Harvey Priest says Washington Avenue beyond its intersection with Sixth Street in Bremerton has gotten dangerous since its southbound two lanes were reduced to one as the new condos were built.
He was one of two readers who said the squealing of tires there has become common as impatient southbound drivers in the inside lane of Washington race ahead when the light turns green. They are trying to beat those proceeding straight ahead in the outside lane to the merge where the inside lane ends.
“I was amazed to discover that we needed to give up one lane of traffic on Washington so we could have an almost 20 foot wide sidewalk in front of them,” Harvey said. “Brilliant idea!
“If you are headed south on Washington from the Manette Bridge, you will see no real signs in the left lane telling you that that lane ends just past Sixth.
“Most local folks know this by now
and use the right lane, however I constantly see those who are in a hurry use the left lane to pass all the traffic and when the light turns green, they blast off and get ahead of all the rest. You just gotta love these kind of folks.
“The ones that have no idea that the lane ends sometimes have to stop before merging right, which causes lots of near misses at the very best.”  
Harvey suggests what he calls a simple solution – allowing right turns only from the outside lane and reserving the inside lane for straight-ahead traffic.
“A good percentage of the traffic headed
south on Washington turns north onto Sixth anyway,” he said.
The out basket: I’m one of “these kind of folks.” There and elsewhere, I try not to stop in the outside lane at a red light. It captures anyone who otherwise could be able to turn right on red behind me until the light changes. But on Washington and Sixth, it does mean starting quickly to lessen the chance of a conflict with those in the right lane when I do move over.
Harvey’s suggestion is a good one, I think, but Larry Matel of the city of Bremerton’s street engineers wants to be more comprehensive in any traffic flow changes, “given the
potential for more development/redevelopment along Washington, the prospects for traffic changes due to the tunnel once it is opened, the construction of the new Manette Bridge in a couple of years, etc.
“I am trying to get a handle on the long-term impacts of all these things and would like to develop a plan rather than react to isolated requests, if at all possible,” Larry says.

2 thoughts on “A race to the merge on Washington past Sixth

  1. Your column “A Race to Merge on Washington Avenue, reminds me of the same type of situation at the Mile Hill Drive and Jackson/Olney intersection.
    I know that you contacted the state about making the right lane the merge lane rather than the left lane and the state said they didn’t see a problem there and so it continues with the left lane merging into the right lane. It sounds like the same response was received from the city of Bremerton in regards to Washington Avenue.
    Since the right lane at Jackson/Olney isn’t designated right turn lane drivers going straight hold up those drivers turning right at that intersection and the commercial driveways a couple of blocks up. Since the state doesn’t see a problem with holding up right turners, I don’t mind being one of those drivers who hold up the right turners. Maybe if enough people get upset about it (you know, squeaky wheel gets the grease) the state just might take a second look at it.
    Of course, this is just a dream that won’t come true since wisdom and WSDOT are synonymous, at least in their minds.

  2. Thanks for bringing (my letter) up for view and the supportive comments that you had to offer. I really wasn’t too impressed with the answer that Larry Matel offered up. It wouldn’t take a day to fix this problem and the dollar amount wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans. Probably less than one day’s salary for him!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Please enter the word MILK here: