How about rumble strips on Central Valley shoulders?


The in basket: Cathy Houston brings up a familiar subject, danger to pedestrians and school children on Central Valley Road’s shoulders. 

“As we all know, there are several schools in the vicinity,” she said. “Students are walking in the area in all types of weather and in all levels of darkness.

“Traffic is extremely bad at the Central Valley/Fairgrounds intersection. Cars treat the fog line as just another lane marker and use the shoulder as another driving lane. 

“I would like to see some rumble edging along the fog line for the length of the road from Foster Road to McWilliams Road, letting the drivers know in a very obvious way that they have crossed out of their lane,” she said.

She also thinks the fact that a crosswalk at the Fairgrounds Road intersection that continues past the edge line, which others in the area do not, contributes to the danger by “giving drivers a false sense of where the edge of the road is.”

The out basket: Cathy had already contacted Kitsap County Public Works to no avail before writing to me, so she won’t be much surprised by their answer.

“Without a physical barrier (curb, gutter and sidewalk) some motorists do not respect the shoulder area of the roadway,” says Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer.

“It is against the law to drive on the shoulder, except for emergencies and certain other legitimate reasons, but motorists do it anyway. We have tried bumps or tubular markers at other locations and motorists simply drive over them or take them out, and they eventually disappear. 

“I don’t think rumble strips have the desired impact,” he continued. “Rumble strips are designed to alert drowsy and inattentive motorists when they leave the roadway. They have a great track record for reducing run-off-the-road accidents on highways. They are less effective as a method to keep motorists from driving on shoulders. 

“Most motorists drive over them, since they don’t present a physical barrier of any kind, and make the turn on the shoulder.  The white edge line is very visible and makes it clear to the motorist that they are on the shoulder. 

“Rumble strips also present a hazard to bicyclists,” he said, “which is why we leave gaps between series of rumble strips.” 

Cathy’s concerns will be considered in the planning of a $1 million-plus redo of the Central Valley-Fairgrounds intersection in 2012, he said.

In the meantime, “we will remove the (crosswalk) bars in the shoulder and better mark the shoulder area with an edge line clearly visible around the curve radius as part of our pavement marking program this summer,” Jeff said. 

“There is a major sewer project impacting the south side of the intersection. We will mark the north side initially, and complete the south side after the sewer project is completed.”

One thought on “How about rumble strips on Central Valley shoulders?

  1. Rumble Strips?? Ha! I drive the Fairgrounds Road two or three times per week. There is not enough room to the right of the fog line to create rumble strips. The shoulder is so narrow, that an anorexic ant can hardly walk safely. If anyone weighing more than 200 pounds walks on the shoulder, 12 inches of fat hang over the roadway.

    In other places, there is enough room for a single person to walk on the gravel shoulder. (That’s the shoulder next to the three foot deep ditch).

    There are dozens of driveways, apartment complex entries and a small shopping center along this road. I would think that pedestrian safety would become more of a priority.

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