Left turns on red and transit buses on Burwell

The in basket: Ric Logg sent an e-mail back in May asking if I’d heard any rumors of a left-turn arrow being added to the light at Pacific and Burwell (in Bremerton).

“The buses get jammed up in the morning commute to the ferry terminal,” he said. “Kinda stinks having to sit through two lights waiting for a break so the bus can make a left-hand turn and get to the ferry terminal.”

The out basket: I wouldn’t expect a change in the signal at that intersection, for lack of money, but there is hope of a change as regards the buses.

That left turn carries buses and all other traffic onto a one-way street leading downhill to the terminal. As I’ve written often before, a little known state law allows a left turn against a red light where no sign prohibits it, but only onto a one-way street and only after coming to a complete stop and yielding to conflicting traffic.

Kitsap Transit executive John Clauson turns out to be among those who had never heard of the law. (Some police officers also hadn’t and have ticketed Road Warrior readers for making such a turn, for whom I’ve interceded twice to get the ticket dismissed).

John said he’ll look into the law and it’s applicability to transit vehicles, so it’s possible Kitsap Transit drivers will be made aware of it and be allowed to make the turn against red in the future.

I’m not sure whether traffic flow will provide many chances for those turns during morning rush hours. It also sounds like Ric’s complaint addresses times when the Burwell light is green, not red, and it’s oncoming traffic that keeps the buses from proceeding.

It’s not much of a problem just now anyway, Ric tells me, as the closure of the Manette Bridge has reduced traffic on Burwell at Pacific.

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