Monthly Archives: September 2009

Was that a propane sign??

The in basket: I was driving blithely along on Highway 3 passing the new interchange with Highway 303 the other day and happened to look up at the signs telling where the two upcoming off-ramps would take me.

On top of the sign indicating the way to southbound 303 was the familiar H that denotes a hospital. Atop the sign saying this way to Kitsap Mall Boulevard was a sign, also white on blue, of a symbol that looks like a propane tank. 

How long has that been there, I Wondered, does it mean propane is available that way, and  why is it there at all?

The out basket: It’s just another example of how highway signs can go unnoticed by drivers who are familiar with the area.

The sign has been there since 2000, says Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olympic Region, and denotes that propane is available at Clear Creek RV Center. It is augmented by the same kind of followup signs as the gas-food-lodging signs that are more prominently displayed alongside the highways, he said.

The next time through, I got off at Kitsap Mall Boulevard and, sure enough, there were matching blue signs on the off-ramp and on 303 that directed me to the RV center. I had never noticed any of the three.

There are similar signs all over the region, Steve said, and “businesses that apply for Motorist Information Signing and meet the criteria will be signed on the highway if space is available.”

When the business isn’t named, as on the generic propane signs, the business doesn’t have to pay the same yearly fee that restaurants, motels and such pay, said Gerald Nelson, head of the MIS program.

Transit center gets a clock tower

The in basket: Kitsap Transit’s expanded base on Charleston Avenue in Bremerton is boasting a sharp-looking tower clock. 

I asked where it came from.

The out basket: Wendy Clark-Getzin, Transit’s capital development director, replied, “The clock tower, installed Sept. 24, was originally built for the Bremerton First Street Dock. Rice Fergus Architects designed the clock and a companion canopy system,” which kept foot ferry patrons out of the weather.  

“When the wooden dock was demolished and replaced with the current steel passenger-only-ferry dock, the clock was relocated to the intersection of First and Washington and remained in the Bremerton Transportation Center care.  

“When the tunnel project began, the clock needed to be stored for over a year by Tri-State Construction.  Plans to return it to where it was changed and the clock was relocated to Hanson Signs for a few months while Fischer General Construction prepared the way for (the recent) installation.” Fischer General is the contractor on the Charleston base improvements.

Have brush cutters missed some NK roads?

The in basket: Jim Jensen of Kaster Road in North Kitsap read the recent Road Warrior column about mowing versus herbicide use to control roadside weeds and said, “It has been my experience that they are doing very little of either.  

“My road used to be mowed at least once a year but it hasn’t been cleared for at least two years,” he said. Blackberry brambles are encroaching into the roadway. 

He also cited Rude Road, which intersects Kaster, and Clear Creek Road as examples of neglect, then said “The portion of Finn Hill that is within the city limits of Poulsbo is mowed but the remainder is not and has not been mowed for several years. 

“I realize that it’s most likely budget considerations causing the lack of mowing, so they should at least say so instead of talking about the mowing and spraying that they do.”

The out basket: Kaster Road is inside the city too, and is described by Poulsbo Public Works Director Barry Loveless as a recent annexation. “So we’ll add it to our list of areas to be trimmed,” he said. City employees do that work. 

Actually, it looks to me like an interested neighbor with a lopper could correct Kaster’s problem.

As for Rude Road and Clear Creek, I didn’t see anything along Rude worthy of mention, but the east side ditch on Clear Creek looks like someone’s alder farm. Alder grows pretty fast, but it looks like no cutting has been done there for a few years. 

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works said, the county has one person in each road shop (there are three) whose primary duty is brush cutting.” We’ll look into his assertions concerning Rude and Clear Creek roads,” Doug said.




New right turn signal in Silverdale not being noticed

The in basket: Peter Wimmer writes, “They installed a turn light at the intersection on Kitsap Mall Boulevard (from Randall Way) by Applebee’s a few weeks ago and I have yet to see anyone pay it any mind.  Why are there no flags on the light as they do with other lights?  The one sign prior seems to do no good.”

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, replies, “Some motorists coming from the east still go through this intersection as they used to, yielding rather than observing the signal. 

“I have not seen flags put on new signals, but we do sometime place an orange flag on the sign that precedes the new signal,” he said. “We are considering doing that there. We’ve also asked the sheriff’s office to do an emphasis patrol there with warnings to advise motorists of the change. 

“This was the highest collision location on county-maintained roads and as people become familiar with the signal it is our belief the collision rate will come down.”

I, too, think it’s just a matter of time passing before more and more drivers realize they have a green light. But I’d think Peter’s idea of a flag on the signal is a good one. The bright orange “Traffic Revision Ahead” sign is already hard to miss, but it doesn’t specific that the revision is a new signal.

Double right turns at Burwell and Pacific to end

The in basket: Seth Franklin and Gregory Hanenburg say they think the revised intersection of Burwell Street and Pacific Avenue in Bremerton is unsafe.

“Just about every morning heading to the ferry I have been witness to near misses at the intersection,” says Seth. “(They) have all occurred between two cars turning right from Burwell into the far left lane of Pacific heading toward the ferry.” One car in each lane tries to turn into the single local traffic lane on Pacific, he said.  

“Judging by the (confusing) signs posted at the intersections, it would appear that the left lane is for turning left, going straight or turning right into the passenger drop-off lane. The right lane on Burwell appears to be for turning right into the (ferry) loading lanes. “

He suggested that the overhead sign denoting those turns be augmented by pavement arrows.

Gregory says simply that “two cars nearly ran me off the road” when he tried to get into the local access lane of Pacific from Burwell’s right lane.

The out basket: I’m not surprised that confusion reigns there, and I’m told we can expect changes in the signs in the near future. 

Turning right from the left-most lane of two heading in the same direction seems so counter-intuitive that many drivers do what Gregory did, which is contrary to the signs. The overhead sign delineates the left lane for going straight or turning left or right into the local access lane. Burwell’s right eastbound lane is reserved for turning into the ferry access lanes, but the signs, in addition to being hidden by the landscaping, don’t make that clear. 

The diagonal rows of white raised buttons (called “turtles”) those in the right lane must cross in trying for the local access lane are an additional cue that they’re doing something wrong, but don’t seem to deliver the message either. 

Brenden Clarke, whose state project office retains control over that area as part of its oversight of the ferry tunnel work, says, “For some reason we are having issues at the corner of Burwell and Pacific with the double right turn. We are revising the traffic markings and signs to allow only the far right lane on eastbound Burwell to turn right onto Pacific. The center lane with be through or left only. The signs should be in place within the next couple of weeks.

“The turtles will be removed,” he said. “They were intended to keep motorists in the right lane from going into the far left lane on Pacific. 

“There are a number of difficulties in channelizing traffic at the Pacific and Burwell intersection to make this clear, not the least of which is the brick paved crosswalk.  In light of these difficulties, the decision was made to eliminate the double right option.”





Paper transit transfers gone by Halloween

The in basket: Betty Mueller, a friend of The Judybaker, my wife, told her Kitsap Transit is doing away with transfers that allow a rider to continue a trip for which she has paid without paying to get on the next leg. She figured she’d have to pay at least three times to get from her Manchester area home to work in Silverdale.

The out basket: By the time I asked Transit officials about this, Betty had discovered the answer on her own – the ORCA Card that allows passage on numerous forms of Puget Sound mass transit is taking the place of transfers. Betty has obtained one. 

John Clauson of Kitsap Transit says, “We spend about $8,000-$9,000 a year on paper transfers. Paper transfers will be replaced with a 2-hour transfer when riders pay from ‘E-purse’ loaded on their ORCA card.  

“Paper transfers are currently (good) for the next

connecting bus/foot ferry. An ORCA transfer is good for two hours in

any direction, so if a rider can catch a bus to the grocery store, do

their shopping and return on the bus within two hours, they don’t have

to pay any additional fare.  In addition, the ORCA transfer also extends

to the other participating agencies, excluding Washington State Ferries.

“October 31 will be the last day that paper transfers will be used

on our system,” he said, “and the only way you will be

able to receive a free transfer is if you use an ORCA card.”

Dickey Road derelict not the county’s business

The in basket: Peter Wimmer wrote to say that in August an abandoned car at Dickey Road and Enchantment Lane “was ”tagged’ for towing.  A few days later ‘Not on county property, do not tow’ was spray painted on it.  

“A few days after that it was stripped down and now a month later, it is an ugly shell that has been pushed around a dirt lot. 

” My question is can it be towed and why not?”

The out basket: A week later, the day after I called his complaint to the attention of Kitsap County code enforcement, Peter said the car was gone.

But David Lynam, who heads code enforcement said it wasn’t his department’s doing and wouldn’t have been even as more time elapsed.

“If it is on the right of way or county property we will tow it,” he said. “If it is on private property it is the responsibility of the property owner. There have to be several (such) cars on site before it rises to the level of a

public nuisance and we would do something about it.”

Peter and the neighbors appear to be lucky that someone took the bull by the horns and hauled away the wreck on Dickey.  


Ends of new CK road raise eyebrows


The in basket: The new road Kitsap County is building to link the Highway 3-303 interchange with Old Frontier Road has become more than an academic issue for Central Kitsap drivers as its opening date nears.

Art Hammond writes, “I was wondering if you had any idea on when they plan to have Clear Creek Road, repaved and smoothed out, in the the Waaga Way Extension area?  I know that Old Frontier is in a whole lot better shape, than Clear Creek. 

“As it is right now, every time I have to use Clear Creek, my car and I know countless other cars take a beating on the road, as the company did a lousy patch job.  If they did that to Clear Creek, how can we expect the new road to hold up?”

 And Peter Wimmer is concerned about the road’s other end. 

“The Waaga extension where it comes out to Old Frontier has two stop signs and an annoying hard turn put into Old Frontier,” he said. “I can understand signage to alert us to an upcoming light but why a stop sign? And what is the reason for such a hard turn in what was the right of way – Old Frontier.

“It looks like the planners have now made the extension, which is not Highway 303, the main road and made Old Frontier the secondary.

The out basket: Indeed they have. The alignment at the road’s west end is complete, putting the stop on Old Frontier, says county Construction Manager Jacques Dean. It was the same thing the county did in South Kitsap years ago when it improved the Glenwood-Lake Flora road intersection and made Lake Flora the through road, not Glenwood.

The sharp curve is the reason for the stop sign on northbound Old Frontier, Jacques said, but it’s temporary. When the new road, to be called Greaves Way, opens around late October, that stop sign will come out. In the meantime, he said, they wanted to make drivers stop so they don’t lose control making the turn. 

The stop sign on Old Frontier will stay. There’ll be no traffic light there for the near future, although conduit has been put in the ground to accommodate one when traffic counts demand one.

The rugged pavement at the Clear Creek end of Greaves is where a utility trench was dug as part of the project, says Greg Canyer of the county. That entire area will be realigned, possibly the week of Sept. 21, to route Clear Creek traffic to the other side of the large dirt pile visible there. 

The final project will have that traffic meet a traffic signal there for turns onto Greaves. Left turners will proceed down to the existing signal on Highway 303.

All the beat-up pavement will be removed and a lot of it will not be replaced. Schold Road, which serves the Peewee field to the east, will cross through there to meet the relocated Clear Creek Road at a stop sign. The rest will be seeded in grass.

Silverdale turn lane work has repercussions


The in basket: Susan Day Carlson e-mails to say, “Now that Tracyton Boulevard and Myhre Road are closed for construction, the detour route at Bucklin Hill and Nels Nelson backs up terribly on Nels Nelson at the end of the day for commuters. 

“Can’t the county provide a traffic director during this time?” she asks.

The out basket: No, says Doug Bear of the county public works staff, but the suffering will end soon. Nels Nelson isn’t the official detour anyway, though drivers familiar with the area use it.

“The detour was routed using Central Valley and the signalized intersection at Bucklin Hill because of this concern,” Doug said. “I recognize this adds time to the commute, but the cost to provide additional traffic control, either through a temporary signal or traffic control staff, is prohibitive. 

“The work requiring the detour is scheduled to be completed by (Sept. 25),” he said.

When will Pacific Avenue be restored?

The in basket: Dave Peterson writes, “My wife and I moved to downtown Bremerton from Silverdale a little over a year ago. What is the final plan for Pacific Avenue after so many parts of the street have been torn up and ‘repaired’ in a less than finished manner – and what is the time line? 

I can’t believe all the temporary repairs and curbing destruction is to be left as is.  Are there federal funds being used?” 

The out basket: Larry Matel, city of Bremerton street engineer, replied, “The situation at the corner of Burwell and Pacific is left from the recently completed tunnel project and will be finished early in 2010.   

“The City is the recipient of a grant to complete the renovation of Pacific from Burwell to 5th in a fashion similar to what you see between 5th and 6th. The project is in design and will be open for contractor bidding in December or January.  

“The corner of Burwell and Pacific was not finished with the tunnel in anticipation of this forthcoming project and not wanting to build something final there, only having to remove it within the next year.”