Silverdale Post Office access is a puzzle

The in basket: Jerry VanFossen of Silverdale passed along a complaint voiced at a recent meeting of the Central Kitsap Community Council about traffic flow at the Silverdale Post Office.

A woman told the group that she was “almost killed” while trying to turn left fromSilverdale Way into the northern access to the post office parking lot . Another driver was turning left out of that access and they might have collided but for good fortune.

The council asked Jerry to find out if leaving the parking lot via that access was permitted. He asked me.

The out basket: There are no signs at the northern access to help answer that question. The southern access provides a hint with a one-way sign pointing into the lot, which means don’t exit there. And the striping in the lot hints at the same, with the spaces angled toward the exit.

Getting any guidance from the post office was futile. I left phone messages when I was lucky enough to get a person to answer, electronic messages when I was able to reach a mailbox that wasn’t full and unable to take messages, and visited once and left a lengthy written description of what I wanted to know. I never got a return call.

Finally an employee who didn’t want to give me her name told me the post office is between postmasters and the previous one was leaving about the time I left my long written message. She said they “are waiting for things to get better” after a replacement is named.

She also said a woman had complained about the parking lot about a month ago, perhaps the same woman who addressed the community council.

I asked Trooper Russ Winger of the state patrol here who would be responsible in a collision between left turners, one in a two-way turn lane and the other entering from a side street.

It turns out Russ knows that parking lot first hand and replied, “If you look at that parking lot and roadway on Google Earth it becomes clear (in my opinion) that the parking lot is designed to be one-way. The parking stalls are angled to allow easy turns into them from the north. The south end is clearly marked with signage as one-way, exit only with right or left turn. There is no southern entrance to the parking lot.

“Drivers do wrongly enter there on occasion and I have seen exiting vehicles honk at the offending drivers,” he said. ” They usually try and sneak in quickly and grab a close parking stall as traffic clearly does not flow in that direction. Most customers who use the post office there on a regular basis know this.

“I have used the lot on many occasions and have not seen anyone try and exit to the north,” he said.  “Normal daytime traffic there is so busy it would be like walking the wrong way on a busy one-way escalator. It’s sometimes difficult to even back out of a parking stall with the volume of parked vehicles and traffic flowing in from the north.

“I think you can exit at the north end of the lot but it seems to be clearly intended for post office employee use. If you did find yourself attempting to exit at the north end you would be required to yield to traffic on Silverdale Way first. The vehicles already on the roadway have the right of way,” Russ said.

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