Manpower, timing hinder patrols near ferries

The in basket: Ron Johnson, a classmate of mine from South Kitsap’s class of 1961, called to seek help slowing down traffic on Sedgwick Road, near which he lives near the Southworth ferry terminal.

He is upset by the lack of speed enforcement and the high speeds of drivers on Sedgwick the last mile to the ferry, from just beyond Harper Church. He contends that motorcycles are doing 70-80 mph and cars are doing 50-60 mph.

Neighbors in the area have contacted/complained to the state DOT and state patrol and asked why they don’t do more to enforce speeds, especially in the morning and in the afternoon/commuting hours, he said..

“A lot of us walk around here,” he said. “We’ve hit the ditch more than once, believe me.”

He would like a flashing sign that shows speed, but state officials have told the neighbors they can’t have them on a state highway, he said.

The out basket: I’m not surprised by his assertions, but expect the problem to exist on any highway leading to a ferry terminal. Someone always seems to be running late for a departing boat.

State Trooper Russ Winger, spokesman for the State Patrol here, says, “Yes, this is fairly common on the local roadways leading up to the ferry terminals. Drivers are running late, trying to make the next ferry. This is not going to change.

“Our troopers do work the areas for speed when they can. The peak times for traffic to and from the terminals – a.m. and p.m. – unfortunately coincide with peak traffic elsewhere in the county. Troopers have more collisions, calls for service etc. to respond to during these times so it is not always easy to get out to these areas during the peak traffic times.

The areas in question, SR104 into Kingston and SR160  into Southworth, are well outside the urban core area in Kitsap County. This is another limiting factor along with the diminishing number of troopers working Kitsap – down to 17 from 27 in last two years. We provide 24/7 coverage and this puts between two and four troopers on the road on any given shift in Kitsap County.

“Kitsap County is a busy area, law enforcement speaking. We have plenty of traffic, collisions and calls for service that require responding to.

“These might sound like excuses but it is simple fact based on manpower available and calls for service.

“That said, we are aware of the potential speed problem in the areas and we do try to get out to them and slow people down as much as possible. Public perception of our efforts may or may not mirror reality but we do listen and try to increase efforts in problem areas.”

Claudia Bingham Baker of the state Department of Transportation says, “We tried using a “your speed is” speed sign on SR 3 on a trial basis, and we found it was not very effective. It’s not that we can’t put up the signs, it’s that they are not effective enough to be a good use of resources.”

4 thoughts on “Manpower, timing hinder patrols near ferries

  1. Trust me, the daily motorcycle/ stock car races do not end at the Harper Church. Nor are they confined to morning or afternoon commute times. I have lived on Sedgwick close to Long Lake road since 1990, and see this on almost a daily basis.

  2. I have lived on Sedgwick Rd on the curve before the Southworth ferry for over 22yrs. I would like to say I want the “Your Speed is” sign and I believe it would help. We have had a “Your Speed is” sign over in Harper and people did slow down, I watched it happen over and over again. I understand the State Patrols side and when they do come out here for many days in a row, folks slow down for a time. If we could get the sign and if it helped even a little bit isn’t it worth it.How much is a life worth?
    I have seen so many accidents over the years, people badly injured and even lost their lives in front of my house.
    We have lots of wild life crossing in front of my house too. We have asked and never received deer crossing signs. A couple of weeks ago a large buck crossed and two young people barely missed it, went off the road and into a deep ravine. They missed the power pole by 10inches and both could have easily lost thier lives. I would also like to say I personally held a young mans hand in the ditch in front of my house. I put my sleeping bag over him after he went over 100mpr and didnt make the corner. I prayed with him and for him and Im very sorry to say he lost his life. I m sure you are thinking some sign on the road wont be abel to stop everything that happens, but if it helped or did, wouldnt it be worth it?

  3. I know one of the reasons why people speed going to the Kingston Ferry and that is the locals who intentionally slow down traffic. It sounds funny, but when the speed limit is 50 mph and the locals do 40 mph most of the time all the way from Poulsbo, it really makes other drivers mad. I catch that ferry everyday and there have been times when I will follow a car all the way to Kingston doing exactly 40 mph and never have a chance to legally pass, only to have the car slow down to 15 mph going through Kingston and then stop at the movie theater and get out and wave at cars as they pass by to get to the ferry and then you have people really missing the ferry. It should not take 20 to 30 minutes to get from Poulsbo to Kingston when I believe that its only 15 miles. So drivers will punch it when they can to make the ferry. Some make, some dont. You know some people are on their way to work, but some of the are on their way home and when jackasses intentionally make people miss the ferry because they want to be speed control, well all that does is make people rage. You know those commuters who are going to work should maybe leave a few minutes early and that is what I do, because I have missed the ferry by a couple minutes before, but those who are just trying to get home because they are at work and just want to get home to their family, especially the military who are having to use the ferry in their commute, well they just want to get home. And those that have to deploy, value all the time they can with their families. And there are alot of military and even shipyard birds who commute the Kingston ferry. So to all those in Kingston who see a car flying through town trying to catch the ferry because they are late, chances are one of your locals intentionally slowed down the travelers getting there, so lets hope that local mentality of traffic control does not get one of your locals run over.

    1. I feel your pain, BearTex3. I used to live in Kingston and there always these drivers who can’t come anywhere near the speed limit between Poulsbo and Kingston, especially once you get to the Hood Canal Brewery/Kingston Lumber parking lot. They just all slow down to 40 or less. I finally moved to Seabeck!

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