Monthly Archives: February 2014

13th & Corbet on Kitsap Way is a complex right-of-way spot

The in basket: Tom Baker of the Bremerton city electronics shop, who often helps me with answers, posed a question last month.

“Eastbound on Kitsap Way (in Bremerton) at the busy intersection of Corbet Drive, 13th Street and Wilbert.” he asked, “who has the right of way when turning left onto Corbet, and there is a vehicle turning right from 13th onto Kitsap Way? The right turning vehicle is looking at the oncoming traffic, and not at the car about to turn left in front of him.

“I believe the vehicle in the traveled way has the right of way, but I will yield to the right-turning traffic,” he said.

The out basket: This is a complicated intersection and right of way issues there are equally complex. Corbet and 13th intersect Kitsap Way within a few feet of each other. Wilbert is across the street  and is more conventional.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police says any car entering a roadway, especially from a stop sign, must yield to those on the roadway being entered, so the driver turning off of Kitsap Way would have the right of way. Tom is correct.

In the first year of Road Warrior, 1996, I handled a related question. Who has the right of way when a driver on Corbet turning left onto Kitsap Way conflicts with a driver on 13th turning right. Their paths will cross.

Pete Fisher agrees with what I was told then by Sgt. Tom Pratt of BPD. They say that the common rule that the vehicle on the right has right of way over that on its left, most often mentioned when discussing four-way stops, governs in that situation. So the left turner from Corbet would have right of way over the right turner from 13th.

90-degree Southworth curve gets unusual Yield sign

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.”