Tag Archives: Bucklin Hill

Overhead traffic sensor images can be viewed remotely

The in basket: I learned something surprising in preparing for a talk to the Silverdale Rotary recently. Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works and its spokeswoman on the upcoming closure of Bucklin Hill Road, said there will be some re-timing of traffic signals in Silverdale to accommodate the detouring of the 20,000 or so cars that normally use Bucklin Hill Road. But most of it will wait until observations show where changes are needed.

Moreover, she said, they can adjust a signal’s timing remotely and right away based on what they see via the overhead traffic detectors the county increasingly uses in place of the in-pavement wires that use metal mass of the vehicles straddling them to detect waiting traffic.

It was the first I’d heard that the overhead sensors, at the top of tall poles on the signal cross-arms, send images to the signal office. I’d assumed they just reacted to changes in the traffic they were focused on.

Perhaps mindful of the reaction from our more privacy-sensitive citizens to government recording of the public, Tina was careful to say she thinks the sensors aren’t designed to capture license plates or the faces of car occupants, and that the images aren’t recorded. She also was careful to say she wasn’t an expert on the sensors, and suggested I double-check.

The out basket: Doug Bear, spokesman for the public works department, said, “Is it possible that a license or face could be seen in an individual frame. That said, the images are not retained. It is just a live feed.”

Bucklin Hill Road closure will extend to those on foot

The in basket:  At a recent meeting of the Silverdale Rotary, where I was guest speaker, Jim Dudley asked me if there will be any pedestrian access across Clear Creek when Bucklin Hill Road closes for year, beginning in July.

I didn’t know.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works, says no, “pedestrians will not be allowed in the closed area.” That area will be Bucklin Hill Road between Blaine Avenue and Mickelberry Road. They’ll be building a bridge for a wider Bucklin Hill Road, starting this summer.

“The closure limits are in essence the right-of-way,” she said.  “This correlates to between 5-10 feet behind the existing sidewalk.

“What does this do for Clear Creek Trail users?  The signalized trail crossing at Crista Shores will not be accessible.  The trail will dead end at Bucklin Hill Road on the east side of the estuary.

On the west side of the estuary, trailer users will have to cross Bucklin Hill Road at Blaine Avenue and walk up to Ridgetop Boulevard to get onto the trail. Parking is available at the Old Mill Park just west of the closure.

Flashing crosswalk light in Silverdale just to attract attention

The in basket: Jo Clark writes, “Traveling east on Bucklin Hill Road at night I was in a line of cars and saw a flashing light on each side of the road – a new pedestrian crossing at Olson Road.

“The first car (I was probably #3 or #4) stopped and a man quickly crossed the road.  As soon as he crossed, traffic began to move again, including me, but the light continued to flash even after I passed it.

“This seems to be a new traffic signal. I haven’t seen this type anywhere before.  If there is no one trying to cross but the light is still flashing, should the motorist wait till the light goes off, or only wait till the pedestrian has crossed?”

The out basket: These are a fairly new traffic device here, akin to the in-pavement flashers in a crosswalk in downtown Port Orchard, but mounted on a pole. They are designed to call attention to a crosswalk and someone crossing in it.

A driver need stop only if there is a pedestrian in or poised to enter the crosswalk, regardless of the flashing lights. The rule is the same as at any crosswalk.

The county has put them at the two entrances to South Kitsap Regional Park in South Kitsap, on Central Valley Road at Foster Road, in front of Klahowya Secondary School, where the Clear Creek Trail crosses Bucklin Hill Road and just up the hill at Olson. They don’t flash unless a pedestrian pushes a button to activate them, so it’s not surprising Jo hasn’t noticed any of them. The only time I’ve seen one flash is when I pushed the button myself to test one of those at the SK park.

“The lights, officially called Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons, are a newer device that has interim approval from the Federal Highway Administration,” says Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer. “The lights are devised to give the crossing more attention from motorists. They have no legal standing. The legal requirement is predicated on the pedestrian being in the crosswalk.”

They are set to allow a walker time to travel 3.5 feet per second for the length of the crossing and about three or four seconds are added to either side of the crossing time to ensure pedestrians traffic has stopped for them, Jeff said.

So they will keep flashing well after a pedestrian crosses while running or otherwise making fast tracks.


Pedestrians have to use a sidewalk where one exists

The in basket: Diane Van Fossen of Silverdale says she often sees pedestrians walking on the south shoulder of Bucklin Hill Road even though there is a sidewalk on the other side of the road.

She had just read an earlier Road Warrior column about a state law that requires pedestrians to walk toward traffic when there is no sidewalk, and asked if those who choose to use the shoulder when a crosswalk is available on the same street are committing a violation.

The out basket: Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, says they are.

“When sidewalks are present / available, whether on both sides of the roadway or on only one side, a pedestrian is required to use the sidewalk,” he said.

“In situations where a sidewalk is present, walking along a roadway or roadway shoulder is not optional.

“A pedestrian may cross a roadway at an intersection or use a marked crosswalk, should they need to access a location on the side of the road that doesn’t have a sidewalk installed.

“For unincorporated areas of the county, a pedestrian may cross a roadway between intersections (or where there’s no marked crosswalk) since it’s expected that the roadway length between intersections in a county setting may involve significant distance, as compared to a municipal setting.

“In these circumstances, pedestrians do not have the right of way; they must yield to on-coming traffic in either direction.

“Crossing Bucklin Hill Road between Mickelberry Road and Tracyton Boulevard is permissible… although not recommended during periods of low visibility or high traffic volume.

He conceded that walking to an intersection in a city, crossing and then doubling back to where the pedestrian wants to go would be just as much of a violation as walking there on the shoulder across from the sidewalk in the first place, but added, “I don’t know of any law enforcement officers that would actually enforce this law by issuing a notice of infraction.”

Whenever I’ve heard of someone walking with traffic on the shoulder being contacted by an officer, they’d just been given a warning and told what the law says.

Incidentally, when I wrote that column about not walking with traffic, I neglected to say that being on the side facing traffic is required “where practical,” recognizing that running across the street in heavy traffic to be walking legally is not required

Levin Road curbing is a problem


The in basket: Russell Kent of Bremerton, a bicycle commuter, says the centerline curbing on Bucklin Hill Road at Levin Road in Silverdale, which prevents left turns, “has the unintended consequence of physically restricting westbound traffic on Bucklin Hill to a single lane.  

“This restriction prevents a westbound car from drifting across the center line in order to safely pass a bicycle,” Russ said. “I commute by bicycle on this route nearly every day, and on many occasions (usually before dawn), I have had cars come up behind me, begin to pass, but then slam on their brakes and slide when they realize that we both cannot physically fit in this section of roadway.  

“In one instance, instead of slowing down, a car actually straddled the curb to pass me, undercarriage dragging and sparks flying.

“The terminus of Levin is already configured to make cross-traffic turns difficult,” he said. The curbing should be removed in the short term, until Bucklin Hill Road is rebuilt and widened, he argues.

The out basket: And that will be done, if it already hasn’t been, says Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer. “After

we remove it, we will monitor traffic patterns there,” he said. “If there is a large volume of left turns onto Levin, we may have to revisit some sort of turn restricting device.”

A $6.7 million widening of Bucklin Hill Road in that area is on the county’s road improvement plan for 2012-13.