Northlake Way center line striping raises questionsSeptember 4th, 2012 by travis baker
The in basket: Bernie Fleming of Northlake Way just north of Bremerton wasn’t sure what to make of changed center line striping on his road.
“Until recently, passing was allowed on Northlake Way,” he wrote in August. “Due to our neighborhood problems, the
county has placed two stripes down the center of the road with intermittent stripes between the two
continuous yellow ones. Great!
“Now the problem. There are three residences on our paved road off of Northlake. Two other families
use this road as a secondary access.
Until the recent re-striping, there was a break in the single
stripe allowing us to legally turn left from Northlake into our road. Now there are two stripes at
“Can we still legally turn left from Northlake onto our road? Was this new striping perhaps inadvertent?
“We need the no-passing zone on Northlake, but we also need to get to our homes legally without a long trip down the road to turn around.”
At first this seemed to be another instance of the common misconception that it’s illegal to turn left across double yellow lines. It is not, in this state. The lines just prohibit passing.
Left turns are forbidden only by a single line 18-inches wide or more, like in front of Silverdale Baptist Church on Highway 303, or by cross-hatching between the solid lines.
But that intermittent dashed line between the two solid stripes on Northlake was a new one on me. I had to ask its meaning.
The out basket: It turns out the striping WAS inadvertent, but it still forbids passing and still allows left turns.
Kitsap County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “This is the result of a malfunction with our paint striper. A solenoid stuck and we couldn’t turn the spray gun off. By the time we cycled it enough times to shut it off we had a continuous solid line.
“Although you will not see this configuration in any manuals or guidance documents, the law is clear that if you face a solid yellow line, you cannot pass another vehicle.”
So Bernie and other Northlake Way residents who wanted a no-passing zone got one without the county actually intending to do it.
Though not a standard striping pattern, they will leave it as it is, Jeff says.