The in basket: Eric Blair and Rob Davy have a quarrel with the
way many drivers use the Ridgetop Boulevard intersection in
Silverdale where traffic comes off of southbound Highway 303 on an
off-ramp and sometimes stops either out of an excess of caution or
in order to move quickly to the left to turn onto Sid Uhinck
That’s the place Kitsap County plans to put a new traffic signal
if it ever gets all the needed approvals.
Eric says he uses that off-ramp often and “I almost always get
stuck behind someone who is stopped, blocking the lane while
waiting for traffic to clear so that they can jump lanes on
Ridgetop to turn left onto Sid Uhinck.
“It appears that even with the installation of signals,” he
said, “the right turn lane from the exit ramp will continue
to enter its own lane on Ridgetop, and isn’t going to be signaled.
How is this going to help exiting traffic onto westbound
“Even with the light, I’ll still be waiting for cars who are
trying to jump over to Sid Uhnick rather than travel westbound. Is
Rob feels likewise and raises three objections.
He says it’s illegal to stop in a through lane to wait for
traffic to clear for a lane change. The fact that the ramp is a
through lane is obscured by the 90-degree curve it makes, but it
has its own lane waiting on Ridgetop and neither a stop nor a yield
sign controlling the turn.
Second, he argued, the solid white stripe separating that lane
from the next cannot legally be crossed.
And, most tellingly, he says there isn’t enough room between the
90-degree curve and Sid Uhinck Drive for a driver to signal his
lane change for the 100 feet the law requires. Two hundred feet are
needed because one must change lanes twice to get from the ramp
lane to the left turn lane onto Sid Uhinck, he says.
Both men want a row of pylons separating the ramp lane from the
straight through lane to prevent those lane changes.
Rob even proposes a realignment that would allow those on the
ramp to get to the Sid Uhinck left turn even if pylons are
Let ramp drivers use the lane that allows left turns onto
Ridgetop to turn right there too, both on a green light and on a
red when traffic allows, he proposes. That way they could get into
the Sid Uhinck left turn lane with only one lane change, for which
there may be enough room to signal for the 100 feet.
The out basket: When the signal is installed, green lights for
ramp traffic will stop all conflicting traffic with red lights and
reduce the number of motorists who make the unnecessary stop at the
90-degree curve. Regardless of its legality, the move to Uhinck
would be easier.
And single white lines don’t prohibit a lane change to another
legal driving lane. Double white lines, such as those at HOV lanes,
The law DOES prohibit stopping in a through lane to make a lane
change. I’m sure tickets are rarely written for it, but a driver
who gets hit from behind after stopping for that purpose can get a
ticket as well as the driver who hit him. Many of those drivers who
have been stopping where that off-ramp turns, for whatever reason,
would be astounded, I’m sure, to learn they’re breaking
As for the changes Eric and Rob propose there, County Traffic
Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Before we make any modifications to this
intersection, we will see how it works after the signal has been
operating for a while.
“The reader makes an interesting recommendation, though.
For local traffic it might work once traffic gets used to it.
It would take time away from the left turners in that lane which
could upset some motorists.
“It would be difficult to provide guide signs for the visiting
motorist. We try to sign and mark roads in a manner that a
motorist would expect. Turning right from an inside lane is
not a normal traffic movement. This would lead to some real
frustrated motorists that are confronted with a traffic barrier if
they are in the right lane and want to get onto Sid Uhinck.
“Also, the ramp falls under the jurisdiction of (the
state). They would have to be convinced to change the
configuration of the signal, markings and signage,” Jeff said.
I would guess the 100 feet of signaling requirement is enforced
maybe one time in 10,000 it’s violated. State Trooper Russ Winger
calls it “‘technically’ illegal to jump to the left turn lane (from
the ramp lane), even though HUNDREDS of vehicles accomplish this on
a daily basis. I suggest the (county) install a sign – and possibly
barriers – prohibiting the left turn to Sid Uhinck from the
right-turn lane, if the road engineers feel it is warranted. I do
not know what kind of accident profile the county has in that
section since the construction, so I give observation only.”