90-degree Southworth curve gets unusual Yield signFebruary 4th, 2014 by travis baker
The in basket: Scott Hall wonders about the Southworth area intersection where Stohlton Road meets Southworth Drive.
“There is a stop sign on Stohlton, along with flashing red lights to indicate one must stop before proceeding onto Southworth Drive,” Scott said.. “Southworth Drive makes a sharp, low-speed 90 degree turn to the right at this intersection.
“Southworth Drive is obviously the ‘mainline’ road, formerly being designated as a state highway.”
On a recent day, as he sat at the Sholton Road stop sign as traffic from a newly arrived ferry streamed by, “something strange kept happening,” he said. .
“As the cars on Southworth Drive got close to the curve, they didn’t just slow way down for the corner, some of them hit the brakes hard, and came to a complete stop. It appeared they were waiting for me to proceed, although I couldn’t fathom why that might be.” After several cars did the same thing, he proceeded.
“About a week later, curiosity got to me,” he said, “and I altered my route so this time I would be coming down Southworth Drive when approaching the same intersection.
“Lo and behold, there is a shiny YIELD sign on Southworth Drive, just before the 90-degree curve.
“(It) baffles me as to why there would be a yield sign on the ‘mainline’, which seems to cause drivers to lock up their brakes and stop for any car already stopped at the stop sign on Stohlton Road,” he said. “Looks like a great spot to create an accident, where common sense says the mainline traffic should NOT be expecting a yield sign.”
The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works explains the reasoning: “This mainline is really obvious to the majority of people that use this route frequently, (but) the motorist that has never gone through this intersection is vulnerable to confusion. That motorist would not necessarily be expecting a right turn to stay on the mainline.
“If both legs of Southworth Drive were uncontrolled a motorist traveling westbound could turn in front of a motorist traveling northbound thinking they being first into the intersection should have the right of way.
“The yield sign makes it clear that the motorist has to yield to traffic that is in the intersection or could be an immediate hazard to their movement in the intersection.
“If the motorist at the stop sign proceeds into the intersection before the motorist gets to the yield sign, the motorist at the yield sign must stop.”