The in basket: Jim Wieck and Katherine Adams both say the left turn signal for those heading south on 11th Street at the Manette Bridge in Bremerton is easy to miss.
Jim says, “As you approach from the north, the two traffic lights for the inside and outside Washington Avenue lanes appear to be located too far to the left side of the lanes.
“The inside lane traffic light appears to line up with the turn lane. Although there is a turn light directly above the turn lane, I have seen drivers not recognize that light but use the inside Washington Avenue light to determine when they can proceed, which can result in running the red turn light.
“I’ve probably done it,” he said. “While riding with my wife she did it and I have observed a car in front of me do the same.
“If this illusion is not corrected, I can imagine future accidents caused by drivers responding to the wrong traffic light.”
Katherine writes, “The left turn light is sometimes not seen and the drivers follow the light for the through lane. Maybe it isn’t located correctly?
“This happened to us once so we are very careful and I have seen it happen numerous times and it is scary if you are driving through on Washington going north and a car turns in front of you.
The out basket: In my few times through there, I haven’t reacted to the wrong signal head, but apparently a lot of people do.
I see a possible explanation in that the left turn signal isn’t mounted on the same crossarm as the two through signals. Instead, it’s mounted on the back of the crossarm for the signals controlling oncoming traffic. I haven’t been able to get an explanation for the unusual design.
That signal was designed by the state, but it’s operation is controlled by the city. Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson says they changed that left turn signal to go green at the same time as the two through signal heads, rather than following them as was the case when they first went into service. They did it because a number of vehicles were running the red while turning left, he said.
That will eliminate the problem described by Jim and Katherine except when the left turn signal “times out” for lack of traffic and goes red while the through lights stay green.
“It sounds like we still have a little issue,” Gunnar said. “We have discussed adding a secondary display for the turn on the signal pole itself, but have simply not had the time/resources to do so yet.”