Tag Archives: Almira

Almira’s jog at Riddell Road confuses right of way issues

The in basket: Christopher Pust writes, “Whenever I am coming home from Lowe’s on Fuson Road (in Bremerton), preparing to turn left onto Riddell, I find that people are confused about who has the right of way.

“I consider that I am turning left at what could be considered a two-way stop (though Almira doesn’t intersect exactly in line with Fuson).  This causes me to believe that I must yield to everyone else at the intersection.

“Others don’t seem to see it this way and constantly try to wave me through.  I was taught that I should avoid complying with a ‘wave-through’ and not to wave anyone through because it might confuse who is at fault in the case of a collision.

“I think it is just best to go when you actually have the right of way.  So the end result at this intersection is people on Almira (going straight or turning right) will try to wave me through the intersection, I ignore this and give no other direction, and they wait forever and finally (out of frustration) enter the intersection.

“Since the two roads, Almira and Fuson, aren’t perfectly aligned I could also see that coming from Almira onto Fuson would technically be a right turn onto Riddell and a left turn onto Fuson.  This frame of thought would still require me to yield to them if I am turning left off of Fuson onto Riddell.

“So, who has the right of way at this intersection if someone on Fuson is turning left and someone approaches on Almira going straight or turning right?”

The out basket: Well, first, let’s get the street names correct. The two legs of the street Christopher mentions are both Almira, which doesn’t end until the 90-degree turn where Fuson starts a little to the north. It does jog to the side at Riddell, an often troublesome alignment road engineers try to avoid or correct when possible.

That said, the official word from the Bremerton and Kitsap County law enforcement (Riddell happens to mark the city limit, so either agency might have jurisdiction there) is that Christopher is correct in his actions.

“While at the stop sign at the intersection of Almira Drive and Riddell Road, intending to turn left to head eastbound, a driver must yield to all other traffic that is in the intersection,” says Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

“This includes yielding to traffic that may be continuing across Riddell Road on Almira Drive,” he said.

“Which vehicle has the right of way? Any traffic that already is on the roadway of  Riddell Road at either intersection has the right of way.

“For those courteous drivers who wave for you to ‘go ahead and proceed’ because you may be at the stop sign for a period of time… just shake your head from side to side (and smile) to indicate ‘No thank-you.’

“If there is any confusion about which vehicle has the right of way, and a driver enters the intersection without yielding and a collision ensues even though the driver was ‘waved on,’ that driver will be held liable for causing the collision.

“Best advice:  just wait until you’re clear to proceed,” he said.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said he agrees.

I must say, though, that the Almira situation seems much like that at a four-way stop, where common behavior deviates from the law, which says a vehicle on the right has the right of way over one to its left. In real life, drivers, myself included, usually use a first-come, first served approach, pulling out slowly when they feel its their turn and watching to see what others at the intersection will do. I don’t recall ever having a close call doing so.

Cross-traffic on Riddell, of course, complicates that comparison. It adds a perilous element not present at a four-way stop. But when the only drivers are facing each other on Almira, the wordless negotiation common to low-speed driving conflicts should work there. It would take a panicky driver to actually crash into someone coming the other way from a stop on Almira.

But if someone does collide in such a low speed situation after not yielding as the law directs, we now know who will get the ticket.


Readers worry about dangerous trees and limbs

The in basket: Al and/or Barb Johnson and Clint Newell have asked about trees and limbs they think pose a hazard to drivers in a couple of places in South Kitsap and Bremerton.

“Traveling east on Mile Hill Drive past Colchester,” the Johnsons say, “there are several large limbs over the road forming an impressive archway. It looks like a potential danger if we get heavy snowfall or high winds. Why would these not be trimmed back?”

Clint sees a similar danger on Almira Drive in Bremerton.

“For years I have been very concerned about three trees at the intersection of Almira Drive and Clemens,” he said. “They lean completely over Almira Drive on a 35-40 degree angle. Three or four years ago, the city painted a big X on all three, and I assumed they would be taken down. On rainy or windy days, my wife and I avoid that street, fearing for our safety.”

The out basket: The Mile Hill Drive site does look dangerous should one or more of the large limbs snap and fall on passing traffic. There probably a lot of places in the county as bad, though.

The Almira Drive location is more impressive, as the trees actually are permanently bent at the base and lean outward precipitously. It’s surprising they’ve stood for the three or four years Clint describes.

A bigger surprise: Those trees aren’t as scary as they look, says Bremerton city street engineer Jerry Hauth. “The trees in question have been examined by an arborist and determined not to be an imminent threat. So they aren’t an issue at the present.”

He included an excerpt from the city ordinances that says dangerous trees are among the things property owners are responsible for rectifying, but added, “If it’s property we own (and there are several parcels that have been given to us) or a street end (S. Cambrian @ Coontz, for example), I send it to Public Works.

“We also have the street crew do work in places that isn’t sensible for the adjacent property owners to do it, for example, along 11th street east of Highland north of the west end of the Manette Bridge, and the separation area between upper and lower Shore Drive.”

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says of the canopy just past Colchester Drive (I think the main road becomes Southworth Drive, no longer Mile Hill Drive, at that spot), “We are aware of this location and monitor the area as a priority during storms. We do have policy that addresses danger trees, as well as roadside vegetation management, but no specific policy regarding overhead canopies.

“There are other locations in the county with similar canopies over the roadway. With the number of trees in Kitsap County the chance of limbs being blown down during a storm is a concern in all locations, including those with overhead canopies.”