Driver worries about Phillips Road stop bars

The in basket: Lorrie Kalmbach-Ehlers writes to say, “I cross Sedgwick Road on Phillips Road in (South Kitsap) daily and can’t understand why they marked the stop lines so far back on Phillips Road.

“Coming south to north, there is no way to see eastbound traffic sufficiently on Sedgwick unless you are in an F350 or

something as tall,” she said. “Crossing north to south, the bank to the left is so high you can’t see

around it to safely observe east to west traffic on

Sedgwick without almost putting yourself into that same mentioned traffic.  It’s very unsafe and

daily makes me wonder when someone is going to get

killed there.”

The out basket: I discovered when I checked Lorrie’s complaint that the stop bars on Phillips are farther back than almost all others on Sedgwick, and that there is a wide variation in where stop bars on Sedgwick’s crossroads are, relative to their stop signs.

But I also had to tell her that it shouldn’t be a problem, as there is enough room in front of the stop bars for a driver to edge ahead until she or he can see approaching traffic on Sedgwick.

State law requires a stop at the stop bar, but there is nothing to prevent a driver from stopping again when far enough forward to see better.

In actuality, I think I must ignore the stop bars except at traffic signals, as that is where the in-pavement vehicle detectors will detect me. Elsewhere, I just stop where I have the best view of oncoming vehicles without having the nose of my car in their way.

Brenden Clarke was the project engineer on the recent Sedgwick safety project that revised the Phillips Road intersection. Brenden has moved on, but his successor, Jeff Cook, explains why the bars are where they are.

He said their locations are to prevent interference with vehicles coming from the left-turn pockets on Sedgwick. “The models used for the turning movements include SUVs and school buses,” he added.

Of course, drivers like me who edge forward to improve their view of on-coming traffic will be in the way of those turners anyway, but at least the stop bars seek to minimize that conflict.

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