A new view of SR303 off-ramp to Ridgetop Boulevard

The in basket: Lani Bogart  writes, “I am concerned about the traffic heading towards Bremerton on Highway 303/Waaga Way that takes the Ridgetop Exit. At the bottom of the exit they recently installed a traffic signal EXCEPT for the right turning traffic. They don’t even have a yield sign there and I see that traffic come whipping around that corner without even slowing down and immediately pulling over into the left lane, since that right lane turns into a right turn only.

“I witnessed a very close call by a company van pulling directly in front of the car in front of me, causing both of us to stand on our brakes to avoid a collision (We had the right of way with a green light through the intersection as we had come off the opposite direction and gone underneath the freeway).

“Why haven’t they put a yield sign there? Or better yet, a stop sign? It’s really dangerous. Sometimes when I’ve got the green light, going through the intersection and need to make that right turn into the hospital parking lot, I’m not able to get over because of that exiting traffic just barreling on through that turn into the right lane. They finally do pull over in that left lane, without checking many times, because they discover they have to turn right if they keep going. That exit really needs to be controlled, please!”

The out basket: All the drivers who have complained to the Road Warrior column about others who DO stop before turning right at the end of that off-ramp will find it interesting to hear from someone like Lani who finds that practice desirable.

The fact is there is a separate lane dedicated to those turning right to go west on Ridgetop Boulevard, so there is no need to either yield or stop there. Nor is there reason for signage requiring either.

Any driver using that dedicated lane who moves into the inside lane without  yielding and signaling, or anyone who moves into the dedicated lane from the inside lane without yielding or signaling has committed a traffic infraction and will be held responsible if a collision results. Lani is required to wait for drivers who come “barreling through that turn” to leave a space before moving right herself.

I often hear from drivers upset about others who stop at the end of that off-ramp and wait for traffic in the inside lane to pass by. Lani is the first to contact me about danger from those who don’t. I rarely approach that intersection heading west but don’t recall feeling imperiled by exiting traffic from the off-ramp when I do.

Others who agree with Lani that more control of those making that right turn is needed can comment on this column online, or contact the state at BakerC@wsdot.wa.gov.

5 thoughts on “A new view of SR303 off-ramp to Ridgetop Boulevard

  1. While in my opinion, the cars that do stop cause all sorts of havoc, but I think what Lani means is the traffic that does not stop on their turn and just shift across the 2 lanes onto Sid U. street. When they restriped the area after the road was repaved, the company that came through and actually took out the 6″ white line that directs the traffic down the hill. Now there still is some of the line that is visible it was clearly getting taken out. As someone who does work on the highways and freeways, when the roads are getting restriped they will bring in a water blaster to take out the old stripes before restriping if the lines change. It looks like they started but did not complete it and then when they restriped it, they just skipped the white line to prevent drivers from changing lanes from the curve. So you cant really see it if one is in a car. Can see it from a truck. That whole striping job in my opinion is crap. It really looks like someone was drinking when they striped. Almost every mark on the curves is missed, because the outline marks are still visible in places. The exit from 303 to Ridgetop is so bad, it looks like they was striping and just forgot to make the turn down the off ramp and then turned back after about 2 feet of overshot. So at the top of the ramp, the striping looks like it has a hump. The didn’t even follow the road and ramp. I cannot believe that the county signed off on that.
    But as far as vehicles shooting across into the lanes after making that turn, nothing will ever change until the county puts up something to prevent drivers from shooting across to the side roads after turning onto Ridgetop. They could put in some 6″ concrete barriers like they have on Silverdale way, all the way down the lane about 30 feet and that might prevent cars from stopping and help cars zipper merge as they move down Ridgetop, or they could go a little cheaper route and just put in the 3 foot orange sticks that are just put down with a tar glue. Pretty quick to install, probably about 20 minutes from start to stop to install about 10-15 markers. But fat chance of that happening, so from now until then, RW, you will still get complaints from drivers out there about Ridgetop exits.

  2. I think Lani has the appropriate last name, as she is obviously a road hog. In other words, she “bogarts” the road… 😉 Or,.. at least she twists the rules of the road to meet her own personal needs. I don’t think her letter needs to be interpreted. Sometimes people actually say what they mean, whether anyone else gets it or not. She doesn’t strike me as illiterate, just confused about the rules of the road.

  3. The folks turning right from SR303 onto Ridgetop Blvd have a clear right-of-way to that right lane. There does not need to be a yield. Cars should not have to stop before turning right into that lane.

    But, if those very same folks immediately move over into the left lane, then they are potentially driving recklessly (especially if they do not signal their intent). The folks moving over to the left need to yield the right-of-way to cars already in that left lane.

  4. I do think it is reasonable for the highway traffic to have their own lane there. But i think they do need to put up a barrier to stop people from trying to directly take the left after they get on Ridgetop. It makes that intersection less safe for the drivers that werent prepared to stop where there is no stop sign, and safer for the drivers on Ridgetop who shouldnt have to avoid people trying to change 2 lanes and turn at the same time.

    1. Rob

      Its funny that you say that. I have been saying that ever since they repaved that intersection. A while back I worked with the WSDOT inspecter who was in charge of it and he said he brought that up to the county about needing some type of barrier to prevent drivers from making that left turn. The county did not want to fund for the barriers. And now that they restriped it and removed most of the the 6 inch line that is supposed to keep a driver in their lane, now drivers just jump across into traffic or stop in a live lane waiting for traffic to clear. So it now creates road rage and traffic backups and fender benders from drivers stopping. Drive safe.

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