Forced Sixth Street right turn being ignoredJune 21st, 2012 by travis baker
The in basket: Three readers say the recent change to require vehicles in the right lane of southbound Warren Avenue in Bremerton to turn right onto Sixth Street is being widely ignored by drivers used to that being a through lane.
Suzi Hubert wrote, “I have moved to the left-hand lane as instructed and find that those folks in the right lane go straight ahead to Burwell and I have a heck of a time getting over to make my right-hand turn on Burwell.
“It is most annoying and I am afraid that one of these days I’ll end up going to the ferry instead. Help!!”
Phil Kight asked “Is the city planning on leaving it as a right-turn-only lane, or will it revert back to its formal state when 11th Street is completed? It seems that just about everyone that I’ve seen using that lane ignores the right-turn-only (restriction).”
And an e-mailer going by BJ, wrote, “Why did they make the outside lane on Warren Avenue a right-turn-only at Sixth Street as part of the 11th Street detour? Knowing that we are going to turn right on Burwell, we (used to) travel in the outside lane once we get on Wheaton Way. Now we have to move into the center lane just before Sixth Street and cross our fingers we can get back into the outside lane in the short distance between Sixth and Burwell.
“VERY few people are paying attention to the Right-Turn- Only signs and markings on the road! Why not leave it like it was with just a detour sign for those that don’t know the area?”
The out basket: When I drove there Thursday morning, a succession of seven cars made the right turn while the light was red. When it turned green, the driver of a large black pickup did indeed proceed straight and caused me some difficulty in getting over into the right lane at Burwell.
I’m not sure how that’s any worse than it was before the city began requiring right turns from that lane. There always were two lanes of traffic mostly wanting to go west on Burwell and competing for the right lane after Sixth. What’s changed, I suspect, is drivers who used to avoid that in the past by using the right lane exclusively no longer can, legally.
Gunnar Fredriksson of the city of Bremerton traffic engineer says, “Yes, the right-lane-must-turn-right restriction is with the project (a three-month closure of 11th Street for sewer work) and not permanent. This was done to maximize the number of vehicles turning from Warren onto Sixth Street for the detour route.
“We are watching the situation, and for a majority of time, it seems to work quite well. I understand the frustration with those ignoring the signage and going through the intersection. We are hoping this is part of the learning curve for motorists and will diminish with time.”
The same restriction has been imposed on Sixth Street’s westbound right lane at Warren, also is temporary for the duration of the sewer work on 11th and also is routinely violated. There’s less reason to change lanes beyond Warren on Sixth, and it hasn’t generated any complaints to me.