A pair of Fifth Street curiosities and roundabout reminder

The in basket: I was putting along eastbound on Fifth Street in Bremerton recently when my wife in the passenger seat noticed that I had given no indication that I had seen a stop sign at Veneta Avenue.

“Stop sign,” she said, and it was a good thing. I had not seen it and was surprised it was there. It was new. How new I didn’t know. Had I been running it and its mate on the other side of the intersection, or had I just not been on Fifth Street for a long time? There were no orange flags or signs indicating a change in traffic control.

Thusly moved to curiosity, I wondered a couple blocks later at Chester Avenue about the traffic calming island put in the middle of the intersection a couple years ago. Traffic was light and turning left in front of the island would have been easier than going around it to turn left. I wondered if that would be legal.

So I asked.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city engineers said he’d been curious about the four-way stop created at Fifth and Veneta  himself, and learned that it was all done months ago in response to a neighborhood petition. It seems like a good move, given all the foot traffic around the Catholic school and church there.

“It was reviewed by engineering in April of last

year,” Gunnar said, “and a work order to maintenance sent out on May 5.  The new

signs and traffic revision signs were installed shortly thereafter,along with swapping the lenses in the flashing light from yellow to red.

“After the 30-day installation period passed, all traffic revision signs were removed.”

He and Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said it is not legal to turn in front of a traffic island, any more than it would be to turn left and not go around a roundabout . You have to go around.

Gunnar asked that we use this as an opportunity to revisit another element of driving roundabouts.

“We are receiving complaints that some

motorists coming across the (new) bridge are ignoring the Yield sign when entering the new Manette roundabout,” he said.

“We would like to try and educate before going to enforcement,” he said.

As I noted in a December Road Warrior, the construction of the roundabout in Manette has changed the rules for right of way at that end of the bridge. Drivers exiting the bridge in Manette no longer have the right of way over other traffic flows and must yield to anyone already in the roundabout. That’s the rule for all roundabouts.

At the Fifth Street traffic circle, stop signs control the side street and drivers at the stop signs must yield to traffic on the through street.

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