The in basket: Jan Klineburger of rural Central Kitsap, said her husband got a ticket on Jan. 29 for “improper use – center turn lane” for bypassing the morning backup on Trigger Avenue of cars waiting to enter the Bangor Navy base, so he could turn left onto Old Frontier Road to continue to their home.
It was a $124 ticket. Sadly, they could’t find their insurance papers in the car, an additional $550 violation, which presumably can be reduced if they can show that they were covered at the time.
That center lane on Trigger has always puzzled me. There is nowhere to turn, except for the lefts at the Old Frontier light and to make a U-turn, which is an unlikely reason that the county built it the entire length of the four through lanes during the Trident buildup of the 1970s.
The ticket was written by a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy, so I asked Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the department, what the center lane is intended for, the justification for the ticket and whether there is a traffic hazard problem there that caused the deputy to be present.
The out basked: Scott wouldn’t discuss the justification for the ticket, saying, “It would be inappropriate to discuss, in a public forum, the actions of the driver or the reasons the deputy issued a traffic notice of infraction, since the matter is still outstanding.
“Mr. Klineburger has the option of appearing in Kitsap County District Court (traffic court). That is the proper forum for adjudication of his ticket,” Scott said.
Beyond that, he referred me to the state law on center turn lanes, which says, “Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. ”
Scott continued to say, “I checked with Kitsap County Public Works. There is no (one) there that can provide an answer as to (why) a middle turn lane was built into the construction of Trigger Avenue. We can only guess that, at some point, the engineers expected that there would be future construction, with access driveways, on the north and south sides of the Trigger Avenue approach to the Trigger Avenue Gate, between Highway 3 and Old Frontier Road, that would necessitate a center turn lane.”
He said beyond the rush hour backups at the gate, there have been no special problems at that spot.
All I can gather from this is that the department feels there was a reason to ticket a driver for using the center lane for the only thing it can be used for. Since the Klineburgers presumably will go to court over the insurance citation, it certainly would be worthwhile to appeal the other ticket too, on the basis of applicability of the law. A lot depends on what evidence the deputy might provide.