Of arrows and “only” in Port Orchard

 

The in basket: Joe Blazevich of Manchester wonders about an arrow on the pavement of Mile Hill Drive seeming to route people into the Hi-Joy Bowl parking lot as eastbound drivers exit the roundabout there. Can a person legally pull over into that lane immediately to proceed straight, despite the arrow, he asked. 

The out basket: It’s not a question of much importance, but it led off in a couple of interesting directions. 

Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend says that the absence of the word “only” on either a sign or on the pavement at that point makes it legal to use of the lane for traveling straight.

The city recently changed the traffic restrictions on Tremont Street approaching Port Orchard Boulevard westbound to make it a right turn only onto the boulevard, except for buses. There’s no “only” on the pavement there either, but signs along the roadside impose the restriction, so a person going straight in the outside lane there is subject to a citation.

The word “only” will be added on the pavement when weather permits, says City Public Works Director Mark Dorsey.

The change was made, Mark told me, because the Lutheran church with an entrance just west of the boulevard has become a church school, creating possible hazards for children. 

Drivers commonly raced each other for the only available upcoming lane as the two lanes westbound merge to one at just that point. “We get a lot of road rage issues right after Port Orchard Boulevard,” Al said before the change was made.

Making them merge before the boulevard makes things safer at the church school entrance, he said.

Al also pointed out the situation at Bravo Terrace, the business area east of the Sedgwick interchange, which also is in the city. There, two lanes are available for three possible movements, left, right and straight. Arrows denote the lanes for left and right turns, but the right turn lane also is OK for going straight ahead, into the Columbia Bank parking lot. No signs or pavement markings say “only” there, allowing other movements, he said. Otherwise, there’d be no way to get to the bank.

A more common marking for such dual lanes around the state is an arrow that depicts both the turn and the straight-ahead movement. Mark said he’d give that spot a look to see if that should be done there.

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