Monthly Archives: May 2011

No boat speed limits at Hood Canal Bridge, but….

The in basket: Trish Olson says, “When we moved to property out by the Hood Canal Bridge, we were told that Navy/government marine traffic, when going under the bridge (transfer spans) versus through the bridge, had to maintain a speed which would not cause excessive waves.

“Is that accurate?” she asks. “I have noticed in the past few years that government vessels (mostly Coast Guard) go quite fast and the subsequent waves are substantial.

“I’m not sure if that’s damaging our oyster beds, but will check that out as well,” she said.

The out basket: The state and Coast Guard both say they impose no boat speed limits there or elsewhere.

Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said, “There are some areas in the county where boating speed is regulated by county code.  Most are on lakes and involve the type of motor that can be used.

“From time to time the county commissioners may pass a temporary ordinance restricting wake speed or boating activity during specific events or incidents, for example:  hydroplane races on Dyes Inlet or when the Orca whales have appeared in Dyes Inlet.

“There are no speed restrictions or limits for waterborne travel under the spans of the Hood Canal Bridge.

But “Vessels traveling within 150 feet of a shoreline are not supposed to leave a wake,” he said.

I asked if KCSO enforce that and he said yes, that the operator of a motorized boat doing so would be in violation of Kitsap County Code 10.36.130.

“More often, deputies with the sheriff’s marine services unit would rather educate (warn / advise) boaters against creating a wake within 150 feet of shore than issue a notice of infraction, seeking voluntary compliance.”

He provided the phone numbers at which to complain directly to the Navy or Coast Guard about their vessel speeds, which he advised for anyone upset about their vessels.

– Naval Base Kitsap Public Affairs Office:  (360) 627-4030

– U. S. Coast Guard, 13th District Operations Center, Seattle:  (206) 220-7001.

“If one is familiar with the waters around the Hood Canal Bridge,” he added, “the wakes that motorized boats are creating are nothing compared to the normal wear and tear that the winds and the natural movement of the waters create.”

Silverdale Way needs & will get new striping

The in basket: Back in December, Archie Fuhrmann said the stripes on Silverdale Way, especially just north of Byron Avenue, were very hard to see. “You can’t see exactly where to drive in the dark,” he said.

The out basket: This is a common complaint during the winter here and everywhere snow removal and rain wear on the roadway paint. Counties, cities and the state try to restripe every line on every road in their jurisdiction each year, but not until summer.

The stretch of Silverdale Way Archie mentions got more than just the usual winter wear. Silverdale Water District releveled and repaved it late last year after undoing some damage caused by a broken water line.

Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, says, “We are starting our annual striping program. We have completed a few roads, but the weather and equipment breakdowns have hampered our efforts.

“Because of the volume of traffic in Silverdale we normally stripe over a weekend, usually in July. Our traffic maintenance supervisor is going to evaluate the areas your reader mentioned, and see if we can stripe those areas earlier.”

Is it Highway 308 or Luoto Road, and where?

The in basket: Amy Roszak asked over a year ago the reason for the signs where Highway 308/Luoto Road meets Silverdale Way-Viking Way in North Kitsap.

“My GPS calls it Luoto Road but there’s absolutely no road sign saying that this is name of this road,” she said.

“Was it only formerly known as Luoto but isn’t now? Is Luoto Rd still used on county maps?  When people are on Highway 3 or Viking Way and looking to turn onto Luoto, shouldn’t there be signs telling them this is the road? All they currently see is ‘Rt. 308.'”

The out basket: Steve Bennett, traffic engineer for the Olympic Region of state highways, says, “Our standard is to use the State Route designation on highway signs.

“That said, when these signs are due for replacement we will try to include Luoto Road, space permitting.”

It shouldn’t be too hard. They can use Burwell Street where it meets Callow Avenue in Bremerton, or Highway 166 in Port Orchard as examples.

That Bremerton intersection uses both the highway designation (highways 304 and 310 meet there) and the street names on signs right next to one another. Whoever is in charge of street signs in Port Orchard calls Highway 166 Bay Street, Bethel Road or Mile Hill Drive, depending on which stretch is involved. Occasionally, an SR 166 logo is added to a sign with the street name on it.

As far as what part of Highway 308 is officially called Luoto Road, the county ‘s road map is all over the place, using just State Route 308 at one point, and both highway and road designations on either end of its place on the map. The county road log, as it’s called, can be viewed on line at

Neither is used on street signs marking the side roads, except at Viking Way and Central Valley Road, where the signs says State Route 308.

Doing the McCormick Woods Drive crawl

The in basket: Holly Harden broke new ground this week when she asked me a question via Facebook. It looks like I’m going to have to learn how to use Facebook.

She asks, “Can you explain or rationalize (having) the speed limit at 30 mph on the new cut-through road, McCormick Woods Drive, between the fire station on Glenwood and Dunraven at the top of the hill?

“That road is wide open, windy but minimum traffic,” she said. “There are streets in the city of Bremerton that are mostly 35. Old Bethel-Burley road with driveways entering onto it all the way along is 45. There are no driveways, nothing, between the fire station at one end and the stop sign at the other. Wide shoulders (are) marked for walkers and bicycles.

“Why is it only 30 mph compared to some examples I have shared with you?” she asked. “Forty would be just perfect. There are some deer there but there are deer everywhere in this county. Old Clifton Road is 45, I believe, and there are deer everywhere. I would love to hear some logic, please!!”

The out basket: This road has a unique history. It was engineered and built to county standards by the McCormick Land Co., in response to complaints that having only one road in and out of the large development was not safe.

The company turned it over to the county and now it is annexed into Port Orchard.

Bill Edwards of Kitsap County Public Works says, “My recollection is that the engineer that designed it, Norm Olson, asked to design the road to a posted speed of 30 mph to keep costs down by minimizing the amount of earthwork required.” The higher the expected speed limit of a proposed road, the flatter and straighter it must be to meet standards, he said.

Norm Olson said his firm  designed the road to a 35 mph speed (design speed) that requires it be a posted speed of 30 mph per the Kitsap County Road Standards.  The posted speed was initially proposed to be the same as the existing McCormick Woods Drive at 25 mph, but was ultimately increased and the road alignment was designed to accommodate.
So it could be worse, Holly. It’s a real pain to keep one’s speed down to 25 on the original McCormick Woods Drive.

Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard’s public works director, says the city has no intention of fiddling with what the county accepted as the best speed limit for that stretech.

No signal change expected soon at Burwell and Warren

The in basket: Dennis Halstead is the latest reader to question why the traffic signal on Burwell Street at Warren Avenue in Bremerton isn’t friendlier to drivers heading toward downtown. They have to wait for a red light to change until long after westbound Burwell drivers get a green light.

“Why is (it), whether it’s east- or westbound on Burwell … that both directions don’t have the light synchronized to either go or stop?” he asked. “This does not make any sense to me that one lane is allowed to proceed when the other lane is stopped burning fuel.”
The out basket: The state had temporary jurisdiction over the signals at that intersection in the weeks after the downtown ferry tunnel was finished to make sure traffic flowed easily through the tunnel.

A state official explained at the time that the eastbound light stayed red to allow any westbound driver who wanted to turn left into the small parking lot on the south side of Burwell to make the turn. There’s no turn pocket there, so a westbound driver waiting for oncoming traffic to clear would cause traffic exiting the ferry to back up behind him.

The state now defers to the city on control of that signal, as it normally does on signals on state highways inside a city. But no change is imminent.

“No decision has been made at this point,” says Jeff Collins head of the city’s signal shop. “We are aware of the complaint but until we have money and or staff to make modifications we will leave it as is.

“It would require reprogramming of the signal controller, addition of a no-left-turn sign, and removal of the traffic head with left-turn arrow and replaced with standard three-section head,” he said.

Be sure your plate number is on your bridge toll account

The in basket: Bob Simonoff has been having trouble in the form of citations from the state’s Good to Go! office for not paying the toll to cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

He crosses the bridge a few times a week in his work van, and had no trouble until February, when he got a citation after one crossing. Unfortunately, that one got lost in the mail, so he didn’t know he had a problem of it until after he got two more in April.

His main problem, he learned, was that he didn’t think to register his van’s new license plates with Good to Go! after the state required him to get new ones as part of its every-seven-year plate replacement program.

He suggested my readers would benefit if I mentioned in the column the need to get new plates listed in  one’s toll account.

The out basket: And so I shall. If you are one of thousands with Good to Go! toll accounts who are told each year you must replace your plates, be sure to go on line or call Good to Go! with the new plate’s number so your account can be updated.

Janet Matkin of the toll office said, “Although I don’t know the specifics of (Bob’s) case, my guess is that his transponder stopped working for some reason and when we tried to identify his vehicle by his license plate number, the new plate number wasn’t on the account.

“Anytime that a vehicle doesn’t have a good read from a transponder,” she said, “we capture a photo of the license plate and then run that plate number against a list of Good To Go! account holders before sending it through the violation process. If he’d had his correct plate registered, we would have charged his Good To Go! account for the toll.

“This summer,” she added, “(we) will be introducing Pay By Mail to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, so vehicles that use the electronic toll lanes and don’t have Good To Go!accounts (or who don’t have their correct license plate numbers registered on their accounts) will be sent a Toll Bill in the mail, rather than automatically being sent a violation notice.

The toll rate will $5.50 for Pay By Mail, higher than the toll otherwise, to cover the costs of processing and sending a Toll Bill. “But, that is substantially less than the $52 violation notice that they would receive now,” Janet said

Account holders also “should remember to remove the license plate number from their account if they sell a vehicle,” she said.

Lastly, she said, “You also might want to suggest that if they have guests visiting from out of the area or they are renting a car, they can temporarily add the license plates numbers to their account and not have to worry about stopping at the toll booths.”

Left turn on red law leads to another undue citation

The in basket: Well, it happened again. Another Road Warrior reader got pulled over and ticketed at the Sedgwick Road interchange on Highway 16 for going through a red arrow light in a left turn lane.

Freeway on-ramps are among the few places in our county where a little-known state law makes such a turn legal. The law on red lights says a left turn can be made against a red light, either an arrow or a solid ball, IF turning onto a one-way street, IF the driver comes to a complete stop first, IF the driver yields to any traffic with a green light. and IF no signs forbid it.

Caly Madden was the victim this time, on April 19, and the citing officer was a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy. Last year, a Port Orchard police officer cited a driver for the same thing at the very same place. I helped him get that one dismissed.

The out basket: I contacted Undersheriff Dennis Bonneville, who looked into it and agreed his deputy had goofed. He said he contacted the deputy, who said, essentially, “My mistake.” They’ve asked the county prosecutor’s office to dismiss the ticket, since it’s out of KCSO’s hands once it’s sent to court.

For the rest of us, it may not be worth the hassle to take advantage of that law, especially if we know there is an officer watching us. Caly wound up sitting on the shoulder for quite a while after he was stopped and told the deputy that the law made his turn legal. He didn’t know if the deputy checked by radio with someone else who also didn’t know the law. In any case, the deputy wrote the ticket.

The law in question is Section 3 of RCW 46.61.050.

I usually can’t take advantage of it when I come to one of the few places in the county where it applies because the lead driver stopped at the light rarely knows the law, or dares use it. Westbound Burwell Street at Pacific Avenue in Bremerton is one such, as are the freeway on-ramps with signals controlling movement.

Dennis mentioned something in passing that I hadn’t thought of. He said the deputy who stopped Caly saw another driver at the scene give him a puzzled look or gesture as if to say, “Well??! Are you going to let him get away with that?” He didn’t, as it turned out, but he should have..

It certainly can put an officer in an awkward spot when he must ignore some legal driver action widely believed to be against the law even though it’s not..

Dennis also said the county public works traffic division will be discussing with law enforcement whether they should put up “No Left Turn on Red” signs at the relevant intersections.

He also noted that it would be a tricky question at places like Central Valley Road’s northbound on-ramp to Highway 303. There, the corresponding off-ramp curves up and ends at the same spot, creating a very short two-way street, Of course, there’s no traffic signal there, but some day there might be.

If you want to try it, it would be smart to have a copy of the law with you, or the passage in the state driver’s guide that also says it’s a legal maneuver.

Merge problems on Warren Avenue Bridge

The in basket: Two readers have written me about problems they’ve had with drivers merging onto the Warrren Avenue Bridge in Bremerton at the very short off-ramp from Callahan Drive to proceed south toward downtown..

Archie Fuhrmann and William, who asked that his last name not be used, both told of drivers who merge without looking, signaling or …..  (egad) stopping. Bill advocates a stop sign on the ramp and Archie proposes a flashing light on the yield sign there.

The out basket: I’m thankful that I rarely see a driver stop on that on-ramp because of traffic already on the bridge. I regard stopping on an on-ramp, even on one that short, as clear evidence of a timid, fearful and inexperienced driver.

I often use that ramp and have never had a conflict I couldn’t resolve by either speeding up or slowing down slightly to avoid the other car in the bridge’s outside lane.

The state law requires any driver merging there or on any on-ramp to signal and anyone who doesn’t risks a ticket. Still, I don’t know what it adds to safety. There’s nothing else a driver on the ramp can do but merge left.

When I’m on the bridge, I prepare to merge to the inside lane if I’m not already there and I see a car coming up that on-ramp. I encourage others, especially those who  find that spot scary, to do the same.

A stop sign would just make things worse. It would keep all merging drivers, not just timid ones, from maintaining a speed that provides the flexibility to either speed up or slow down as the situation requires.

The Yield sign there is on a street light pole. I suppose a  flashing light could be added, but it seems to me that Bremerton, which would have to add such a light, has numerous other shortcomings on its streets more deserving of its street money.

Schold Road speeders alarm dog walkers

The in basket: Brenda Byrd and Kim Callender would like to see something done to make walks with their dogs on dead-end Schold Road next to the Silverdale dog park safer.

“A lot of people travel down that road on foot,” Brenda said. “People also drive down that road to the dead end and turn around. Without fail, the people in their vehicles feel they need to speed down that road.

“My girl friend and I were wondering if a sign of some sort could be put up right where the Clear Creek Trail begins warning vehicles to SLOW DOWN; DEAD END; BEWARE OF DOGS AND PEDESTRIANS.

I know people live down that road to the right of the trail; people also like to park along the side of the road up by where the houses are but my goodness, is it really necessary to SPEED down that road?”

Kim, the friend Brenda mentions, says, “A dead end sign, no turn around, should be posted on the road right before the solid white line that outlines the trail. This would keep everyone safe.

The out basket: It’s surprising that there would be much traffic of any kind, let alone speeders on Schold past the dog park. It dead ends and there’s nowhere to go. Maybe the speeders think it’s a short cut to the freeway and find themselves even later than they thought they were when they have to double back.

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works said County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea happened upon Brenda and Kim while checking out the situation on Schold in response to their suggestion.

“He let them know that we’ll take a look at it and see what we can do,” Doug said.

When a driver won’t exchange information after a crash

The in basket:  Ted Moore writes, “I was involved (recently) in a rear-end collision, where a young driver stated that she glanced down at something and failed to notice that I was slowing for traffic. The result, a relatively slow-speed collision.

“While talking to the driver, I did notice that she did have a proof of
insurance card, but when I asked to see it, she refused. She did offer
information from her driver’s license, but not the insurance card.

“What information is required, by law, to be
shared between drivers in the event of an accident? And what are the
consequences if any information is refused to be shared?”

The out basket: Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the State Patrol here says refusing to provide insurance information to another involved driver in an accident is considered hit and run driving.

The law reads, “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident … resulting in damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person or damage to other property shall give his or her name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, and vehicle license number and shall exhibit his or her vehicle driver’s license to any person struck or injured or the driver or any occupant of, or any person attending, any such vehicle collided with.

Krista said, “Failing to provide any information becomes hit and run.  If someone is involved in a collision and one driver will only provide limited information, call law enforcement.  Often, people are more willing to give the information if an officer is present.”

The law also addresses accidents in which someone is injured or killed, making refusal to provide the specified information in those cases a felony.