There’s hope for a change at Burwell & Warren

The in basket: A lot of people use the time they spend sitting at the red light on eastbound Burwell Street at Warren Avenue in Bremerton wondering why they have to sit there. The inside lane, dedicated to those wanting to turn left onto Warren, obviously must be stopped while westbound Burwell traffic has the green light. But the only conflict with those in the outside lane, who can only go straight,  is the extremely rare car turning left into a parking lot there.

Jeff David and H.W. Slach are among those to write saying those infrequent left turns could be made to yield to oncoming traffic – or be prohibited altogether – so the eastbound Burwell traffic could have a green light and wouldn’t have to wait for both lanes to get a green light.

Jeff said, “If the curb lane was given a green light eastbound (make the center lane left-only to East Bremerton and make it red), while the ferry traffic is going west, it would move more traffic to the ferry and downtown.

“I have watched the eastbound traffic and very few go straight in the center lane,” he said. “I am sure our city light engineers could make the light changes.”

The out basket: Back last fall, Project Engineer Brenden Clarke of the state’s downtown ferry tunnel project said they tried that, but two years of nothing but left turns from both lanes while the tunnel was being built had created some driver expectations that created collision hazards.

I asked if the passage of time might make it safer now to let that outside eastbound lane go when westbound traffic has the green light, and he said the tunnel has been finished long enough that’s now the city of Bremerton’s call.

And the city might do it, but only as part of broader review. It has a downtown traffic study coming up that might result in some changed traffic flows – making Fourth Street one-way eastbound is the change most often mentioned.

The study won’t deal with Burwell, but city street engineer Larry Matel says, “The city does have a modest amount of funds in our budget that could be used for traffic signal optimization in the Burwell corridor from downtown to Callow and on to Highway 3.

“This effort would be outside of the current downtown effort and would most likely begin after the downtown effort is completed, probably this fall.”

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