Monthly Archives: January 2013

Two Warren Avenue changes mystify readers

The in basket: Yvonne Dean and Bruce Waterbury have asked what the city of Bremerton has in mind when the projects along Warren Avenue at 11th, 13th and 16th streets are finished,

“Help,” Yvonne wrote. “Can you tell people just what is happening on 16th with the new curbing and on 13th with the new traffic light installed by Olympic College. Will we still be able to go up and around Warren off of 16th?  Are people going to be able to make left turns off of 13th onto Warren Avenue to go south?”

Bruce wrote, “I am wondering why there is now a stop sign in the middle of the road at the working stop lights at Wheaton Way and 16th Street. Where it is positioned, one has to stop at the first line for the lights, then move one car length ahead to stop at the stop sign line.  Is this just a cheap trick to ticket people again? Who is running the street department? Stevie Wonder?”

The out basket: The stop sign next to the new pedestrian islands at 16th Street will be gone soon, replaced by a Yield sign, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers.

“We have been delayed a bit with weather to be able to complete pavement markings and the final concrete work.  The island is for pedestrian refuge. The stop sign is a temporary measure to make folks aware that the northbound left turn from Warren has the right of way here.”

When the traffic signal at 13th is activated, left turns will be allowed from 13th Street onto Warren in either direction, but signs will prohibit left turns from Warren to 13th, also in either direction. “We will be removing the curb currently in place at the centerline of Warren,” Gunnar said.

In 2011, Olympic College acquired from the city that portion of Broadway Avenue that runs through the college, presumably to make leaving Warren at 16th and cutting through the college less attractive, and perhaps impossible. “The college is looking to make some revisions regarding circulation there, but are waiting for us to get the signal fully operational before proceeding,” he said.


Close call in parking lot may have been a set-up

The in basket: A few months ago, Gwen H. of South Kitsap told me of an experience that may provide added incentive to back out of a shopping center parking spot slowly and carefully.

She was at Fred Meyer on Sedgwick Road walking to her car, she said.

“Further up the row of cars, was a white pick-up truck in the center of the area between rows, just waiting.

“I got into my car and looked around and slowly began to back up. When I had moved a foot or two, the white truck quickly drove into place behind me and halted.

” I did have my eyes on the mirror and was able to stop just in time.

“He drove on, slowly. I pulled out and followed him toward the exit.

“But, before the exit, he turned right back into the lot and I saw that he already had a previous

large dent on the side of his truck… right where I would have hit him, if I hadn’t stopped in time.

“I am a 50ish woman, was dressed fairly well (I look like I should have insurance).

“Putting it all together, I think he was stalking the lot, setting up an accident for cash.

“Am I too suspicious, or what do you think was going on here?

“What should someone do if they feel they were set up for an accident?”

The out basket: I told her that parking and reporting the close call to store security would be a good idea. Beyond that, I asked Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department if they had had any complaints about such a tactic, and what advice he’d have for Gwen.

“I’ve checked with our call receivers and none of them recall handling phone call complaints of this nature,” Scott said.

“Now… to the question of what to do?

n  Obtain as much description of the suspicious vehicle and driver as possible, ie:  color, make and model of vehicle and certainly the vehicle’s license plate.

n  Gender and physical description of the driver.

n  Attempt to locate any persons nearby who may have witnessed this suspicious action and obtain their name(s) and contact information.

n  Call 9-1-1 to report the incident.  Request contact at the scene by the jurisdictional law enforcement agency.”


Unlighted traffic patrol draws reader question

The in basket: Clifford Floathe wants to know whether police can patrol on the shoulder of the highway in the dark with no lights on.

“As I recall when I was younger,” he began, “it was the law if you pulled over along a highway at night time, you had to leave some form of lights on, whether it be parking lights, emergency flashers, or even a dome light.

“On my way to work last week,” he wrote in October, ” I noticed a state trooper on

more than one occasion with all his lights off along the median close to the Eldorado overpass on Highway 3 southbound. To me this poses a safety hazard.

“I read the (Road Warrior column in October) about the new

LED emergency lights being too bright for some people but how about no lights whatsoever? I realize the trooper is trying to catch people speeding for our safety but is this the right way to make us citizens safer?”

The out basket: State Trooper Russ Winger says there is no express prohibition of enforcing traffic laws on the shoulder of a highway in the dark with no lights on the patrol car. But as commenter Sassy notes below, citing a 2007 item from the Seattle P-I, one judge was persuaded to dismiss a ticket on the grounds that the citing State Trooper shouldn’t have had his lights out as he did speed enforcement. The item doesn’t say what court that was in but does call the argument “novel.”

The law does specifically allow police to do some other things the driving public can’t, including making many turns, exceeding the speed limit or stopping where it is otherwise prohibited.

“That said,” Russ  continued, “WSP troopers understand that the provisions that exempt emergency vehicles from certain rules of the road do not relieve the operator’s duty to use due regard and common sense. In addition, these same provisions do not protect the operator from the consequences of any reckless disregard for the safety of others.

“Troopers are expected to balance the overall safety of the public with the reality and requirements of working in a dangerous setting while trying to accomplish a particular job, such as working speed enforcement.

“I think the WSP has a pretty good track record in regards to this balancing act.”

He said Clifford is correct about a legal requirement that drivers who must leave a car on the shoulder at night lighted in some fashion. “However, in many disabled situations there may be no battery power to sustain the lights for long.

“The law does require that a motorist make arrangements for ‘prompt removal’ of the vehicle,'” he said. “On the highways, we usually give 24 hours to remove the vehicle, assuming it is safely off of the roadway, not in a dangerous area with sight distance problems or not in a mandatory tow zone,” Russ said.


Close call on Anderson Hill Road generates request for a barrier

The in basket: Bob Hoag of Silverdale said he was almost clobbered by a big box truck pulling out of the service station at Anderson Hill and Provost/Old Frontier roads as he passed by eastbound on Anderson Hill. He hit the gas to get past the truck and avoid getting T-boned.

It caused him to suggest a traffic revision there,

“I feel that the driveway out of the gas station on Anderson Hill Road should only be allowed for vehicles exiting to the west and vehicles going east to enter the gas station via the turn lane.  There is another access to the gas station on Old Frontier Road.

“The county should put some barriers on the south side of the left turn lane on Anderson Hill Road to prevent any further attempt by vehicles crossing the north lane and the left turn lane to reach the south lane to go east on Anderson Hill Road.

“I truly believe this arrangement is very dangerous and the county needs to investigate this situation especially due to the significant increase in vehicles going east and west on Anderson Hill Road,” Bob said.

I asked if he is aware of other close calls at the intersection, and he said he isn’t.

The out basket: I told Bob I seriously doubted that the county would do what he suggests, and am not surprised by their answer.

“Access management is something always considered with new developments.,” County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea said.  “We try to avoid primary approaches to businesses, residents and other driveways in close proximity to intersections.

“In some cases because of the size of the lot, topography, and other considerations, we cannot keep driveways out of the intersection’s functional area – in this case the left turn lane. “While there have been many near misses at this location, a review of the collision history here shows only two collisions in the last five years, neither of which is attributed to the type of collision your reader anticipates.

“Placing a barrier to restrict movements into the business forces patrons to either approach the business from a different direction, creating a long circuitous route, or turning around at a place beyond the business, not a safe movement itself.

“Of course businesses don’t always welcome traffic restrictions that limit the ability of their customers to access their business. We try to balance all these concerns when considering traffic restrictions. We continue to monitor this location for accident trends.”