The in basket: Sharell Lee read the Road Warrior column about drivers not realizing McWilliams Road in Central Kitsap ends at East Boulevard and crashing into what’s across the T intersection, and she had a suggestion.
“In California they sometimes use stop signs
mounted with a small solar panel,” she said. “The stop sign itself has bright flashing lights around the circumference. Such stop signs are very noticeable and attention getting.
“I’m wondering if this type of sign is ever used in Washington,” she said. “I realize our climate is less sunny, but small solar panels don’t really require that much sun. Where I work, we run a small electric car with them, which I’m sure requires a lot more power than lights on a sign would.’
The out basket: I’m told there is such a stop sign inside the industrial area at Bangor’s sub base, and Sharell says the one she saw also was on a military base. She wondered if vandalism discourages there use outside a secure area.
Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer says, “Yes. The cost of one stop sign with blinking lights and solar panel is $1,700. A regular stop sign is $80.
“There are over 3,000 stop signs in Kitsap County. Replacing all the stop signs in the county with this type of device would cost more than $5,000,000.
“The challenge,” Jeff said, “is determining which intersections warrant this type of upgrade, so that deploying this device is consistent throughout the county. The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices does not currently contain a warrant that sets that level.
“We would consider this as another tool in our toolbox for a solution to a problem location. A tool like this would be used where a documented number of motorists are simply not seeing the sign, and less costly countermeasures have not worked.
“There are other factors considered when installing new signs. Each year we replace about 2,000 signs that are damaged through accidents and vandalism. The more unique the sign, the more likely vandalism occurs. You see this with street name signs that are popular.
“Adding an electric feature to a device requires additional maintenance and inspection to ensure solar panel and batteries operate correctly.
“We also have to consider how this type of application impacts neighbors. After installing flashing devices, we do get complaints from nearby neighbors that the constant flashing is a nuisance,” Jeff said..