The in basket: Norm Mundhenk wrote nearly a year ago, saying “In Poulsbo, Torval Canyon Road runs into Fourth Avenue, forming a sort of T-junction. However, Fourth Avenue ends in a short cul-de-sac as soon as it crosses Torval Canyon.
“The signs at this junction strike me as very strange.” he said. “There is no sign at all for cars leaving the cul-de-sac. One assumes that this happens very rarely, but whenever a car does leave, it is apparently free to drive right out without stopping. However, cars approaching from the south or east have stop signs, even though the corner is basically just a continuing road for such cars.
“I wonder why it would not be possible to do something at this junction such has been done where Hillcrest runs into Central Valley Road (in Central Kitsap). There Hillcrest (which functions rather like the cul-de-sac on Fourth Avenue, although surely it has more cars using it) has a stop sign, with another sign underneath the stop sign informing drivers that ‘Oncoming traffic does not stop’. Cars coming south on Central Valley are allowed to continue without stopping even though it is a left turn.
“Surely something like this could be done instead of the stop signs at Torval Canyon and Fourth Avenue,” he concluded.
The out basket: The stub of Fourth Avenue strikes me as more of a tiny parking lot than a cul-de-sac and I thought it might be missing a stop sign. But it turns out that that traffic alignment is intentional and arises from a six-year-old traffic study.
Michael Bateman, senior engineering technician for the city of Poulsbo, says “The stop signs on Fourth and on Torval Canyon are based upon recommendations in the City of Poulsbo’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study of 2008.
“They are a part of a larger strategy and were considered essential in concert with additional stops placed on Front Street. Without the additional all-way stops in the downtown core at intersections such as Fourth and Torval Canyon, through-traffic not intending to stop in the downtown core would seek alternate routes as cut-through bypasses to avoid the stops on Front, without re-routing to the desirable Highway 305 route.
“This results in both undesirable volumes and undesirable speeds in the downtown core street network.
Removal of the stops at 4th and Torval without simultaneous removal of stops on Front Street would create additional traffic and additional speeds on this route, a very undesirable result,” he said.
A consultant looked at the strategy in 2010, when traffic counts were updated, and it was found to be working well, Michael said, “with no action to add or remove TDM measures recommended.”
“As we still get feedback from the neighborhood that the stops are not 100 percent effective at controlling traffic and speed in the neighborhood, and have recently installed additional speed tables on Fourth in order to combat the excessive speeds as demanded by local residents, removal of these stops is not recommended.”
The intersection was identified in the study as an all-way stop, he added, and at one time there was a third stop sign, controlling those exiting the Fourth Avenue stub. “It was removed in response to a citizen complaint that it should not be there,” he said.