The in basket: Way back in May, Charles Dick got a ticket from a
state trooper in the 25 mph zone on a short stretch of Mullenix
Road in South Kitsap between Highway 16 and Bethel-Burley Road. He
felt that whatever the need is for the reduced speed, it begins at
a difficult place for drivers.
“It seems unusual to have a 25 mph limit start at the bottom of
the hill instead at the top,” he said. “I realize that the traffic
needs to slow down before the stop sign (on Bethel-Burley), but
there is a sign for that stop ahead also.
“If I start at 25 mph at the bottom of the hill, it is hard to
maintain speed in my old pickup without shifting
down. Most people will get a slight ‘run’ at the bottom of a
hill in order to maintain speed at the top.
“The speed limit is 35 just under the freeway,” he said, “and
reduces to 25 just before the bottom of the hill. I talked
with truck drivers who drive for Morrison Gravel, and they have a
tough time getting to the top of the hill when slowing to 25 at the
bottom, and have been cited several times for going over the speed
“This has become a LUCRATIVE SPEED TRAP. There is a police
officer there almost any morning of the week, writing tickets as
fast as they can get repositioned. They picked my speed at
the bottom of the hill, right at the sign.” He said a patrol
motorcycle trooper and one in a patrol car work together there.
“The 25 mph limit was installed,along with a school bus stop
sign, in the late 60’s or early 70’s when there were children
living in a home halfway up the hill. One of the homes is
long gone, and according to the South Kitsap bus schedule, there
are no stops between the freeway and Bethel Burley Road. It
seems that the 25 mph sign could be moved to the top of the hill,
and still allow drivers to slow for the stop.”
I asked Kitsap County Public Works about Charles’ idea and the
state patrol about why it might have concentrated on a short
stretch of county road.
The out basket: Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer,
replied, “The speed limit on that segment of Mullenix Road was set
in 1974. We generally review speed limits only when there is some
significant change in the roadway, such as increased collision
rate, large development along roadway, or change in roadway
“There has been little or no change in those areas since the
original speed limit was set. The limited sight distance over the
hill may have been a consideration in the lowered speed limit
there. We do not plan any changes at this time.”
Trooper Russ Winger, spokesman for the State Patrol here, said,
“I have spoken with our two motorcycle troopers about this issue.
Neither trooper works this so-called ‘speed trap’ roadway on a
“While the WSP focuses primarily on state highways, focusing
often on identified problem areas, our troopers do occasionally
proactively enforce violations on county roadways. Troopers transit
the roadways, both county and state, and enforce the law in many
“We often investigate collisions on county roadways and it
follows that enforcement to help prevent those collisions is
warranted. The section of road you describe may be scarcely
populated but it is certainly not scarcely traveled. The residents
who live along this section of roadway have a valid expectation
that vehicles traveling here will be doing the posted limit when
they are pulling out of driveways or slowing to turn into them.
“It seems obvious from his response that Jeff Shea, as well as
Kitsap County, feel that the speed limit is warranted in the area
and are taking some enforcement in the area as well,” Russ
I called Morrison’s and Ken Morrison said though he’s unaware of
any of his employees getting a ticket there in one of their trucks
(he knows of one cited in his private car), he agrees that the 25
mph limit is too slow on that hill.
I asked him if he thought the state patrol was there because of
his trucks, and he said no.