Monthly Archives: December 2014

2 stretches of Highway 3 decried as litter-choked

The in basket: Laura Lewis writes, “What can be done to stop the ridiculous amount of garbage on Highway 3 to Belfair?  Who is responsible?  When and how is this happening? And why is it continuing? This has been a long-term problem.

“It is truly depressing and makes Kitsap look like a dump.  I have relatives visiting from out of state and driving around makes me feel like I live in a place that has zero pride, I am actually kind of embarrassed.  Can anything be done?”

It was just about a year ago that Susan Digby said essentially the same thing about the freeway between Bremerton and Silverdale.

“There is an astonishing amount of trash along the highway,”  she wrote then. “My concern is that when heavy rains come, this trash, now less trapped by vegetation because the brush has been cut, will make its way with storm water into the Sound.

The out basket: The highway leading to Belfair (I assume Laura means southbound) is frequented by all of Waste Management’s garbage trucks and innumerable vehicles hauling yard waste to the recycling companies along that route.

Waste Management works at keeping garbage from flying out of its trucks, but their success largely depends on how well its customers secure the plastic sacks and loose paper.

I’m not sure that stretch of Highway 3 is much worse than other local highways, or that it gets any better past Barney White Road, where all the loaded garbage trucks turn off.

As regards cleaning the mess up after it lands, I’m afraid that in the battle for the growing share of transportation dollars not spent on moving people, litter control has fallen behind storm water control and salmon habitat enhancement as a priority.

Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Olympic Region, calls Joe Citizen instrumental in keeping litter off the roadways in the first place.

“WSDOT’s capacity to clean up litter from state highways is diminishing with its shrinking resources,” she said. “We do work with other agencies, such as the Ecology Youth Corps and occasionally Department of Corrections inmate crews, to tackle the problem. (But) more and more, we must dedicate our maintenance resources to more pressing issues that are needed to preserve our highway infrastructure and keep traffic safely moving.

“We agree that litter is a blight on our highways. Your reader asked who is responsible. Anyone who does not secure his load, or who carelessly throws garbage out a car window, or who purposefully uses public right of way as a dumping site, is responsible. Laws and fines already exist to discourage such behavior, but we still see the results of that behavior every day.

“WSDOT does what it can to keep our highways clean. We regularly sweep highway shoulders, wash highway signs, clean drains of debris, and clear lanes of large objects. But to tackle the day-to-day litter problem, we need the public’s help, first, by not letting debris fly loose from their vehicles, and second, by actively participating in a solution by signing up with WSDOT’s “Adopt A Highway” program.

“Over 1,100 active volunteer Adopt A Highway groups are already registered with WSDOT, and I’m sure your reader could find a local group that could use another hand. To learn more about the Adopt A Highway program, I invite your reader to visit: .


Printed ferry schedules survive online era

The in basket: When I want to catch a ferry these days, I use the excellent Schedule by Date tab on the Washington State Ferries Web site ( It eliminates the trap, into which I often fell in the past, of overlooking some symbol on the printed schedule that denoted a deviation from the normal schedule that particular day.

It also eliminates the need for a printed schedule, though I sometimes need one to come back, as I don’t have smart phone access to that Web site.

It calls to mind the days when I had a printed schedule in my wallet, in my desk at work and one in the glove compartment of each vehicle I owned. Now I never have one unless I need it for a return trip.

I wondered if the ready access of schedule information online had allowed WSF to greatly reduce the number of schedules it prints.

The out basket: Apparently not. Broch Bender of the ferry pubic information staff sent me a chart that showed 2 million standard print schedules printed for the summer of 2008 and 1.91 million for the past summer,  and 1.3 and 1.18 million, respectively, for the springs of those years. The winter standard print schedules those years showed a more noteworthy 26 percent reduction from 1 million in 2008 to 740,000 in 2014.

Even more noteworthy were the comparative figures for large print schedules, useful to the aging general and ferry-riding populations. There were only 4,000 to 6,000 of those printed each season of 2014, compared to 20,000 to 30,000 in 2008.

I asked about that.

The out basket: Marta Coursey of the WSF public relations said,  “Even in this age of smart phones and tablets, thousands of customers still request printed schedules. In fact, the communities we serve continuously protest we don’t do enough to inform folks who don’t have access to mobile technology. For this reason, printed schedules are still the norm at WSF.

“We decreased the number of overall print quantity for all of the schedules because a number of stakeholder groups commented that large printings are not environmentally friendly and we were seeing large ‘leftover’ quantities of unused schedules.  We actually increased the ratio of large print schedules because our data shows that we have larger and larger groups of middle-aged (48+) customers in need of the large print.

“We are currently using up the bulk of both large and regular print schedules and do not have much in the way of excess/remaining schedules at the end of the season.”

Getting one’s Discover Pass when renewing license

The in basket: A Poulsbo reader writes, “Somewhere I had read that folks could now have two vehicles on the Discover Pass, and that a purchaser could choose the month of the Discover Pass activation date.

“So, last year I went online (as usual) to DOL to renew car tabs and was pleased to notice that a Discover Pass could be purchased in the same transaction. One-stop shopping.

“There was no mention on the initial website screens of activation-month choice or of the two-vehicle option. I figured ‘Well, it will show up at the end of this process, or I’ll get an email or snail-mail later which will provide the choices.’

“It didn’t happen,” Don said. “My new tabs came in the mail, and the Discover Pass started concurrent with the tabs, and with no second vehicle option included or mentioned.

“Can you tell me how to accomplish online the one-stop shopping to include a second vehicle on the Discover Pass, and for choosing the month of the Pass activation?”

The out basket: Brad Benfield of the Department of Licensing and Angela Harper of state parks tag-teamed this one.

“Folks can indeed purchase a Discover Pass when they renew a vehicle,” said Brad. “The purchase information is passed along to Washington State Parks and they finalize it and mail the pass to the customer. I’m pretty sure that all passes they currently issue must allow the use of two vehicle license plate numbers, but I have not heard of the ability to choose the month of activation,” he said. “Last I spoke to my State Parks contacts, they were issuing passes activated at the time of purchase.” Then he referred me to the parks people.

Angela said, “When anyone purchases their Discover Pass when they renew their license tabs, the Department of Fish and Wildlife fills the order.

“All Discover Passes now have the availability of writing two license plates on them. Even if there was only one line on the pass, two licenses written in would be honored.

“For a person to select a start date on the Discover Pass they would do so through the on-line Discover Pass website at  or toll free 1-866-320-9933,” she said. That site also has a Frequently Asked Questions area that may be helpful

As an aside, I, too, still say I’m renewing my license tabs, even though only one tab has been needed and provided for years. I wonder how long it will be before common parlance catches up with that reality.

‘Below 100,’ law officers reminded

The in basket: For reasons involving an incarcerated acquaintance, I found myself wandering around the Kitsap County Jail recently, trying to find the entrance to the reception area.

Far off course, I wandered on foot into a compound marked for sheriff’s vehicles only. As I left, I couldn’t help but notice a large arrow-shaped sign on the chain link fence reading “Below 100” at the top. In the center of the arrow were admonitions to “Wear your Vest,” “Wear Your Belt,” “Watch Your Speed,” and “WIN – What’s Important Now.”

It clearly was a reminder to be safe for deputies as they head out on patrol. “What’s Important Now” was a little hard to puzzle out, but presumably means to not be distracted by events not related to what you’re dealing with at the moment.   But “Below 100?” That stumped me completely. Don’t go over 100 mph if you get into a chase? I had to ask.

The out basket: Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said there is a campaign nationwide to keep line-of-duty deaths of police officers below 100 for the year.

The campaign’s Web site says, “By concentrating on the areas of loss that are most susceptible to change (e.g. use of safety equipment and enhanced situational awareness), Below 100 can serve as an instrument of cultural transformation and improved operational practices. Below 100 recognizes that awareness and training are key and targeted audience must be the change agents – the trainers and decision makers in organizations.”

Scott gave me one small example. If you are in your car writing a report, requiring you to look down for any length of time, have the car backed up against a wall or structure that allows no approach from the rear by someone on foot, he said.

They’ll have to try again next year. KCSO Sgt. John VanGesen noted while I was learning this at Sheriff Steve Boyer’s retirement event this week that the number for 2014 nationwide stands at 115 with the most dangerous period of the year ahead, he said.

Bethel Avenue work in 2015 to be done where it will last

The in basket: For what I’m sure is a lot interest in when Bethel Road in South Kitsap will be made more drivable, John Susan is the only one who has asked me about it in 2014. He was moved to follow up his April inquiry with another this fall when he noticed that Lund Avenue to the east of Bethel had just gotten some full-depth patching, often called dig-outs.

“They worked on Lund, which was much better off than Bethel,” he said, adding that just repairing the sunken manholes on Bethel would have been a better use of the money.

The out basket: Different jurisdictions, John. Port Orchard annexed the Bethel corridor a few years ago and has been searching for money to accomplish short- and long-term upgrades of Bethel, as well as the city’s double-round-about plan for Tremont Street.

The Lund Avenue patching was done by the county, The city limits end just west of Hoover Avenue.

News coverage of Port Orchard City Council budget talks that included money for Bethel Avenue said 2015 work will be at the Lund-Bethel intersection. I wondered how broad that would be defined and whether it would extend up to the Walmart  traffic signal, where it seems the ride is the roughest.

Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard public works director, says, “The city will focus the 2015 asphalt repair work at Bethel-Lund, since this area will not be affected by future design modifications associated with the future Bethel corridor redesign.

“A complete grind and overlay is proposed. I do not have specific limits of yet, but it will not extend to Walmart. That will more than likely be 2016…and not a complete grind and overlay, but specific grind-outs with repair.

“The complete repair work is estimated at $1.7 million,” he said, “so the city needs to break the work up into affordable segments.”

New Silverdale restaurant access worries reader

The In Basket: Shireen Kennedy of Kingston e-mailed to say, “I hope you can help to illuminate the situation regarding access that will be used when the new Oak Tree restaurant is built in Silverdale.

“It appears that the new location will be on Mt Vintage Way at the end of the road. There is currently a senior apartment complex located at the end of this road.  There is also a couple of medical clinics as well just past Target.

“It appears that there is an easement through the parking lot of Mt Vintage Apartments. It concerns me that this parking lot may be used for the entrance of the new restaurant facility.

“My mother lives at these apartments so I visit this area at least once a week.  It does not make sense that a road will be going through a senior apartment building’s parking lot.  I see a major safety concern here for residents. Many residents walk their dogs in this area. Also some residents use this path with their electric wheelchairs. ”

“Can you verify for me how the city plans to provide adequate access and egress for the restaurant?

The out basket: It’s actually the Oak Table Cafe, and Kitsap County, not a city, has planning jurisdiction.

The restaurant’s site is being carved out of the hillside just northwest of the senior citizen complex, a major earth-moving feat for an eatery that describes itself as a breakfast and brunch restaurant.

Ross McCurdy, who is having the new cafe built along with wife Nicole to relocate one by the same name they operate in Kingston, said that earth work was factored into the selling price of the parcel, making it a viable site for a restaurant that will close at 3 p.m. each day.

Shawn Alire, development services and engineering supervisor in Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development tells me, “Mt. Vintage Way and the easement are private and Kitsap County has no jurisdiction over who uses these roads, but the access was reviewed for emergency vehicle access requirements prior to approving the development permits.

“A 20-foot unobstructed drivable surface is required and was shown for the development,” he said. “The Oak Table restaurant drive does not pass through the senior apartment complex parking lot but does access at the most northwestern corner of the site. The easement runs along the northern side of the parking lot and on a side note…the easement/access is owned by the Oak Table property and the senior housing complex uses the easement.

“Safety improvements for pedestrians proposed by the applicant include a sidewalk and crossing areas within their development.”

Ross says their driveway will be less steep than Mt. Vintage Way and will meet applicable slope restrictions. Construction is about to begin and he hopes for a May opening. It will seat  135 and employ about 40.

It will be the highest building in Silverdale, he said, and have a great view. He expects residents of the senior apartments to find it a real plus, not a traffic problem.

Airporter for Bainbridge is an uphill fight

The in basket: Byron Holcomb, a Bainbridge Island lawyer, is a man of many causes, including the absence of airporter service from the island to Sea-Tac Airport and back.

He’s been beating the drums for some concessions by the state ferry system to make an island-based airporter service more viable.

He contends Bainbridge is the only city of its size to have no such service. The existing options for islanders, he says, are difficult for the disabled and poor, requiring a walk or taxi ride from the Seattle ferry terminal to somewhere a connection to the airport can be caught. And those connections often don’t leave their fares a convenient walk into the airport, he said.

He wants to see preferential loading of airporter vehicles on the ferries to and from Winslow and no ferry fares for such vehicles. That would allow them to stay on schedule without having to worry about overloads, and avoid time-consuming collection of fares.

He ran that past one of his state legislators and didn’t get any support, he said. He asked if I could help.

The out basket: I talked with Dick Asche, owner of Kitsap Airporter that serves  Kitsap County as far north as Keyport Junction.

Dick said whatever the shortcomings of the existing choices for those on the island, they are too numerous for him to compete with.

“We carry a lot of people out of Poulsbo,” he said. “I hope a lot of them are from Bainbridge Island.

It’s just not the worth the extra mileage for the few riders he would expect to prefer a long ride through Tacoma to what is available to them now, he said.

Byron isn’t proposing to run an airport service, and doesn’t know of anyone who would take it on if he ever got the Legislature to fund the ferry service concessions. And finding an airporter base on the island with enough parking would be yet another challenge.

Anyway, if you would like to champion his airporter cause, his e-mail address is

Morning rush is maddening at SR3 and Sunnyslope Road

The in basket: Darwin Alm read a Dec. 7 article in this newspaper about a $40,000 grant to study how to reduce speeding deaths on the local highways and thinks he sees a much better use for the money.

“I live in Sunnyslope just off Highway 3!!” he wrote to Andy Binion, the reporter who wrote the story.  Andy forwarded Darwin’s e-mail to me.

“We have to enter Highway 3 early in the morning to work at the shipyard!!” Darwin continued. “Every morning we wait at that intersection for at least 10 to 15 minutes because of high traffic!! Trying to get on 3 is a joke; sometimes you just take a risk and go for it!!”

Darwin really likes exclamation points. I wonder if he shouts when he talks.

“If you have someone in front of you taking a left to go to Belfair,  you will have a very LONG wait !!!!!” he went on. “My question to you is why can’t you spend some of that 40 K to put in a stop light at that intersection before someone gets killed, especially a child, instead of spending it all just to study how many deaths we have a year over a cup of coffee!!!! Looking forward to hearing back about this matter before we read in the paper about another preventable death !!!”

The out basket: Grant money usually is pretty limited in what it can be spent for, and $40,000 doesn’t go far in adding a traffic signal at an intersection these days. Andy pointed out to Darwin that he just reports where money comes from and how it will be spent. He doesn’t have a say in the decision.

But there are funding sources for traffic signals and I asked Claudia Bingham-Baker of the state’s Olympic Region of highways where the Sunnyslope Road intersection with Highway 3 stands in qualifying for one. I also asked for an approximation of what signals cost these days.

“Improvements like traffic control signals are installed as funding allows,” she replied. “A dozen intersections on SR 3 between Shelton and Gorst have higher collision histories than the SR 3/Sunnyslope intersection, so typically signal funding would be allocated to one of the other signals first. Unfortunately, that means it could be a while before drivers see a signal there. I wish I had better news.

“Depending on bids,” she said in reply to my final question, “an average signal purchase and installation costs closer to $400,000.”

Poulsbo’s Lincoln Avenue project trudging toward completion

The in basket: Larry Bartholomew of Poulsbo wonders when work on Lincoln Avenue will be finished.

In an Oct. 29 e-mail he wrote, “Attached is an April 2014 letter from the City of Poulsbo regarding a project affecting a two-block area on either side of the intersection of Pugh Road and Lincoln Road.

“As you can see from the letter, this project is due to be completed by the end of October. There are two days left in October and it’s clear there is far more than two days’ worth of work to be done.  In fact, given the pace of the work done so far, it looks like it will be months, rather than days, before the work will be completed.

“I understand that paving requires a minimum temperature, and we are quickly approaching a period of consistent lower temperatures.  My guess is that paving may soon become problematic if temperature is an issue.”

He also was upset by the configuration of Lincoln and Pugh during the work. “The corner of the curbing creates a restriction of space for those entering Pugh from Lincoln, or vice versa, that appears barely large enough for two cars to pass in opposite directions. This will likely require those turning onto Pugh from Lincoln to come to almost a complete stop when there is a car waiting to turn onto Lincoln from Pugh.”

“I’m sure my neighbors and others who traverse Pugh and Lincoln roads would like to know when this project in now expected to be complete and what the thinking was that led to the significant narrowing of the entrance onto Pugh Road.”

The out basket: City Engineer Andrzej Kasiniak told me on Nov. 10 that they hoped to have the paving done by Thanksgiving, but there remains some to do. As Larry predicted, the weather is a growing impediment.

Michael Lund, chief inspector on the project provided an update this week.

“The Lincoln Road project is definitely behind schedule,” he said. “There were some unknown underground utilities that hampered the project early on and now the weather delays are definitely a concern.

“The contractor is Pacific Coast General from Port Orchard. They were able to get the first lift of asphalt on the road prior to Thanksgiving. The plan was to do some more paving at the Pugh intersection today and then start on the pervious bike lanes. The extreme cold temps have pushed that off a day or so but they are very hopeful to get one lift of asphalt on everything by the end of this week.”

“The concrete crews will start pouring sidewalk later this week, as well.

“The lighting crews are scheduled to install the rest of the street lights later this week and into next week. This will make it a lot nicer during the evening hours traveling the roadway.

“I received a revised schedule from the contractor today and they are trying to be completed before Christmas.

“There is  still a lot of work to do and we are trying to get it done as soon as possible.”

He said finished paving and striping will make the turn at Pugh less of a problem.

“The intersection meets all safety standards and at the tightest point has 10-foot-wide lanes,” Mike said.. “However, with the road only being gravel at this time, (drivers) tend to shy away from the curb and encroach into the center of the lanes more than they will once the final paving is completed.

“With striping, it will help the (drivers) to understand where their lane is and allow for oncoming traffic to pass by.

“Part of the problem with this intersection is we do not have the right of way to make a wider intersection and still have pedestrian connectivity with the sidewalk. The existing roadway prior to construction pinched down to about 20 feet as well within the right of way. (But) the traveling public would turn, drive and park on the private property. This gave the illusion that there was more roadway out there than actually legally was.

“If any of the traveling public has concerns or comments  they can email me at”

Lincoln Pugh intersection shown below