Kingston’s odd stop signal creates breaks in ferry traffic

The in basket: Erik Bjarnson writes, “I take the Kingston-Edmonds ferry about half a dozen times per month. When returning from Edmonds I get stopped at a red light at Washington Boulevard NE (the first light coming off the ferry) about 80 percent of the time. I don’t mind stopping at red lights when there is a reason for the light to be red, but it I have never stopped at that light and seen any cross traffic, vehicular or pedestrian.

Are you aware of any reason this light goes red to stop ferry traffic? Is it timed to give breaks in ferry traffic? Is it timed to improve flow with other lights through Kingston?
The out basket: Eric’s first guess is correct. Ken Burt of the state’s Olympic Region signal shop says the idea is to give traffic elsewhere in Kingston the opportunity to move during ferry off-loads.

“The condition that is described by Mr. Blair was put in prior to October 1994,” Ken said. “The side street was recalled to allow gaps in traffic downstream from the Washington Boulevard intersection.” (Recalled is the term signal techs use to describe having the signal change.) The gaps in traffic would allow cross street movements in downtown Kingston.

“We have made minor adjustments to the signal operation at Washington Boulevard.” he said, “that could allow less frequent stops to the ferry offloading vehicles.  We will need to monitor the effects in Kingston from this revision. If the revision does not negatively impact Kingston then we will leave it in place.”

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