Tag Archives: Bucklin

Rapid flash beacon returns to Buckliln Hill Road

The in basket: Margaret Gibbard asks, “How long have the yellow crossing lights been at Ridgetop and Levin Road in Silverdale for the Clear Creek Trail walkers?  I know they were turned off during the Bucklin bridge project when there was a light at that intersection.  Was the pedestrian activated yellow flasher there before the bridge project?

The out basket: Yes, it was. Daren Miller, Kitsap County’s signal supervisor says, “The rapid flash beacons were installed in 2011.  In 2015 they were pulled because a temporary traffic signal went in for the Bucklin Hill bridge project.

“On Friday, July 22, Bucklin Hill was opened back up and on Monday, July 25, the temporary traffic signal at Levin and Ridgetop was removed by the contractor and the rapid flash beacons were reinstalled at the location by the county,” he said.

Bucklin-Randall left turn gets blocked

The in basket: Eric Blair says using the eastbound Bucklin Hill Road left-turn lane to reach Randall Way is sometimes made difficult by would-be left-turners going the other way with one too many options for reaching the adjacent shopping center.

“I routinely travel east, coming down Bucklin Hill, and want to turn left onto Randall. I am frequently blocked from getting into the left-turn lane, because someone coming west on Bucklin has entered the turn lane, across double yellow lines, so that they can turn left into the parking lot for Kitsap Credit Union. Has the county considered blocking this to force traffic to travel a bit further and turn left into the next entrance?”

He envisions something like what the county did on Myhre Road at the access road running down between Pet Smart and Ashley Furniture – a row of pylons to prevent left turns there.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says, “We recently completed a traffic study on that segment of Bucklin Hill Road. The study looked at congestion and other aspects of traffic, bicycle and pedestrian travel between Anderson Hill Road and Silverdale Way.

“One of the problems identified was the left-turn lane, the two-way left-turn lane, and the business approaches your reader mentions.  The study recommended traffic controls at those accesses.

“This was also a topic of keen interest with the Central Kitsap Community Council when we discussed this corridor with them.

“We are contacting business owners in this area and discussing potential impacts these changes will have on their businesses. Based on the data we collect, we will identify and consider potential solutions that can meet the needs of the business and motorists who use that corridor. “

When will Silverdale streets be restored?

The in basket: Ron Hammond and Sandra Rocha are among the many who wonder how much longer Silverdale streets will be torn up for water main replacement.

Ron said in an e-mail, “Right now, Silverdale Way is one of the worst streets in the county with all the bumps and metal plates. Will they be repaving all of Silverdale Way?”

Sandra wrote, “When will Kitsap County finish the construction at Silverdale Way? It’s been more than a year (ago) that they started the repair in this road, and have never finished. Looks like that every week they are doing a new repair, and sometimes at the same place where they have done before.

“I work at the mall,” she said, “and we are really disappointed and tired with so many bumps in this road. Last Monday, 10/20, around 6 p.m., after 15 minutes with rain, the road was completely flooded at Silverdale Way and Myhre Road, and I could not see the bumps.

“Silverdale has the heaviest traffic in Kitsap,” she said, “and I cannot understand why the authorities do not re-pave all the road from Old Town Silverdale until Waaga Way.”

The out basket: It’s actually an extensive water main replacement project by Silverdale Water District.  As I reported a couple of times in the spring, the trenched and repaired streets in Silverdale won’t be fully repaved, but will have to be restored to county standards when the work is done. A two-year bond will cover any deficiencies that arise after completion,

Morgan Johnson, general manager of the water district, says finish work with curbs, sidewalks, plantings, restoration of mailboxes and final paving of the patches will be done prior to Dec. 10, if the contractor can stay to its current schedule. But given the onset of bad weather, he said the district has given them a mandatory final date of Jan. 31.

He said the project is about two months behind schedule. Among the causes of delays were discovery of two old road beds beneath the existing one on Silverdale Way, which had to be cut through, discovery of leaking storm sewer lines the county came out to repair, and previously unlocated utilities , Morgan said.

The appearance of redoing some of the work resulted from having to close down work on Silverdale Way and shift to Anderson Hill Road and Bucklin Hill Road so the contractor could take advantage of the summer window when schools were closed and all the buses didn’t have to come and go on those roads

There will be more traffic disruption in the future. The water main placements will continue eastward up Bucklin Hill Road to about Albertsons from its present terminus at Blaine Avenue when the county builds the planned new bridge across the Clear Creek estuary. The water district expected that to happen this year, but the county delayed it a year.

A lot of the future work will be done at the same time as the bridge project closes Bucklin Hill Road for a year or so and so may not be distinguishable from that disruption. Morgan said the further water main work will be part of the county’s bridge contract, which also includes storm water mains.

In addition to replacing aging mains, the overall project includes installation of separate mains beneath the drinking water mains to carry reclaimed water from the Central Kitsap sewer treatment plant, when that water becomes available in a few years.

Skip Beahm of the water district said the new YMCA is plumbed to use the reclaimed water for toilets and irrigation, as is Harrison Hospital’s orthopedic wing. Morgan said he expects that to be part of future hospital construction as it moves to Silverdale from Bremerton, but that would be negotiated then.

Bucklin Hill ‘potholes’ are prep work for project

The in basket: Chuck Gurrad says “Recently a road crew installed 24 manufactured pot holes on Bucklin Hill Road between the Tracyton Boulevard-Myhre Road intersection eastward up the hill. They were scattered on all of the three lanes.

“What they were looking for under the asphalt?” he asked. “Do they intend to fill them in properly, and when?

“This was a road in fair condition except for the manhole at the edge of the west bound lane which  needs to be brought up to grade,” Charles said.

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says, “The potholes your reader referred to were small holes used to help locate utilities for an upcoming stormwater and pedestrian improvement project.

“The holes were patched using cold patch. We’ll send a crew out to take a look and see if some of the patches have come up. The road will be repaved once the project is completed later this summer” Doug said. He sent along a fact sheet, describing the work:7109-CFP Bucklin Hill Fact Sheet (3).pdf

Three seconds have been missing from Silverdale left turns

The in basket: Byrd Thibodaux and Tom Wisniewski both e-mailed me in June about the short green light they were getting in the double left-turn lane on southbound Silverdale Way to eastbound Bucklin Hill Road.

Byrd estimated it to be three seconds, and said, “In the afternoon, there is quite a line of cars in the two lanes.  With this light only being three seconds, many frustrated drivers continue through the light on red.  Why can’t the county add a couple of more seconds to this light?”

Tom wrote, “You get an arrow long enough for three cars (four if someone runs the yellow/red) before the light goes red.

“I thought a big study was done in Silverdale last year to correct these kind of problems,” he said. “Someone needs to do more studying at this intersection.”

The out basket: I watched that signal in operation three times in the intervening weeks and found that it actually was allowing six seconds of green before going to yellow.

I’m surprised that only Byrd and Tom have complained about it. Tom’s estimate of three or four cars is close. I found that five cars could get through on the green and red combined  – IF none of them dawdle.

Often a lead driver wouldn’t even start forward until two or three seconds of green have elapsed, which could cut the put-through at three. When I watched it on weekday afternoons, many cars that were in the turn pockets when the light changed didn’t get through.

Del Gann of the Kitsap County signal shop said the light was supposed to be providing nine seconds of green. That probably would double the  number of cars getting through.

But even the nine seconds amazed Tom Wisniewski. “NINE SECONDS,” he replied when I told him what Del Gann thought the light was providing for left turners. “They have got to be kidding. This is a major intersection in Silverdale and they think nine seconds is enough time for left turns.”

That’s what the computers said would be appropriate as part of the coordination of all the lights along Silverdale Way, which he reinstated this spring, Del said.

“If the signal is running nine seconds of green time that means that at least 14 seconds is dedicated to that movement after you add in the yellow and red time.  One might then say, well, 14 seconds isn’t a lot of time either, but you have to consider the big picture.

“The corridor is running a 130-second cycle length for coordination. This is what is determined to be the best to optimize the progression of traffic through the corridor. So the 14 seconds is over 10 percent of the total cycle length. (The amount of time the signals can’t be serving other movements)

“To further complicate this the current configuration of the signal serves eastbound separately from westbound and the time dedicated to those movements is dictated by the time needed for pedestrians to cross the street.

“Then finally you have to take into account the volume of traffic that is on Silverdale Way (the coordinated movement) and need to make sure the green time is sufficient.

“When you look at the volumes for the intersection the current timings (considering necessary pedestrian crossing times) allow for the most effective movement through the intersection for all traffic, he said.”

But I finally convinced Del that what he wanted there wasn’t what was happening.

Tuesday he told me he’d watched it do what I said it was doing. “Because of the way the signal is sequenced,” he said, “that phase will be abbreviated if any other runs over at all. That explains why the shorter green is occurring at the busy time of the day.

“I have added three seconds to that movement as a temporary fix so I can bring the intersection into the shop and test it to find out where the error is,” he said. “This will ensure that the movement will get all of the time that is programmed.”



Silverdale intersection puts the lie to my left-turn advice

The in basket: Emilio Gonzalez read the recent Road Warrior column about not swinging wide in making your left and right turns and applied it to a location I regret to say I hadn’t considered.

“Suppose there are two separate and distinct left-turn lanes provided for two drivers running side by side making the left turn,” he wrote. “Could the driver on the right side not be able to claim priority for the far-right lane of the street being turned into?

“I am specifically referring to the intersection of Silverdale Way and Bucklin Hill Road,” he said. “I am usually driving south on Silverdale Way, and at that intersection, I take the right lane of the two distinctly marked left-turn lanes into Bucklin Hill Road.

“Upon getting a green arrow, I proceed to make my left turn.  And invariably, cars traveling on the far right lane of Silverdale Way coming from the opposite direction but with a red light, will honk their horns to force their way to a right turn into Bucklin Hill Road.”

Do those right turners have a superior claim to the outside lane of the street being entered than he does, he asked. “The answer you gave in your column,  apparently backed by two traffic officers, might give tacit approval to those drivers in my example to continue doing what they are doing.”

The out basket: I’m afraid I get an “incomplete” in my handling of the left-turn question. My advice in the previous column applied only to single turn lanes. Obviously, when two lanes make the same turn side by side, they aren’t supposed to merge into one lane at the same time. When one lane is intended to serve competing traffic flows, the question becomes which flow has the green light. That would be the left turner, who would have the right of way in this case.

Deputy Scott Wilson. spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, says, “When turning left, from southbound Silverdale Way onto eastbound NW Bucklin Hill Road, sheriff’s deputies have experienced those turning from (northbound) Silverdale Way onto (eastbound) Bucklin Hill Road cutting them off as they execute the right turn, due to inattention to traffic flow and the arrangement of the highway traffic lanes.

“And then there are some who just think that they can ‘beat the on-coming flow of turning traffic’ and slip in before the turning vehicles get there.

“It’s a ‘failure to yield’ type of violation, and would result in the at-fault driver (the right turner) receiving a notice of infraction with a penalty of $124.”

Sandy Silverdale sidewalk spurs a spill

The in basket: Leslie Varner found the sidewalk in front of Central Kitsap High School a perilous place to walk in Jan. 24.

“We were walking down Bucklin Hill beside CK High and it

was a real challenge with all the road sand on the sidewalk,” Leslie said. “My guess is it’s overspray from sanding the roads.

“It’s a steep area and traveled on daily by students.

I’m really concerned that someone is

going to slip and actually fall in front of a car.  The cars are picking

up speed to head up the hill towards Seabeck.  I actually did slip on

the sand and fall down last night. Luckily at my age, crashing to the

ground is a bruising experience, but does not cause broken bones.”

The out basket: I asked if the county includes sidewalks in the places it sweeps up sand from the winter ice and snow control, as it does and already has begun on the roads itself, including shoulders.

Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works replied, “Keeping sidewalks free from snow, ice and other obstructions is the responsibility of the person or entity whose property abuts the sidewalk, per Chapter 9.28.020 of the Kitsap County Code. Kitsap County Public Works does not normally maintain or clear sidewalks during snow and ice operations.  I contacted the Central Kitsap School District on behalf of your reader and they responded immediately to clean the sand from the sidewalks.”

The panhandler on the Silverdale median

The in basket: Kathy Stansberry of Bremerton has noticed the growing number of panhandlers who take up positions at the roadside or sidewalk at traffic signals, and asks about one in particular.

He was on the long raised center median on Bucklin Hill Road between Silverdale Way and Shore Drive one day in November, walking up to cars and peering inside. It didn’t seem safe for him and looked like he could cause drivers he distracted to run into one another, she thought.

She wondered if it was legal.

She also said she’s seen a couple of people, probably ready to seek money from drivers stopped at the signal on Kitsap Way at the end of the southbound off-ramp from Highway 3, waiting out of the weather under the overpass while another held his sign seeking donations at the off-ramp. She wondered if they were taking turns.

The out basket: The man on the median was doing something illegal, says Deputy Scott Wilson of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. One state law says “No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting employment or business from the occupant of any vehicle,” and another, intended mostly to require pedestrians  to walk against traffic, says, “Where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk or otherwise move along and upon an adjacent roadway.”

Either carries a $56 fine, Scott said, though my guess is a deputy or police officer would more likely to just order the person onto the shoulder, where panhandling can legally be done.

“Those wishing to panhandle need to do so from outside of the traveled portion of the roadway, between the fog line and curb or on the shoulder of the roadway outside of the fog line,” Scott said.

“Now whether or not this applies to a large, grassy median that separates lanes of travel, such as is found up on Ridgetop Boulevard., is unclear,” he added. “However, it’s not recommended.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if, when more than one panhandler shows up at the same spot, they take turns. As a young street musician seeking money at a Portland area rest area told me in October, they know that even people willing to contribute to panhandlers don’t like to have to choose between them, so they recognize direct competition is not in their best interests..

County fixes odd behavior of Silverdale signal

The in basket: Tom Nofziger complained a while back about odd pre-dawn

behavior of the traffic signal at Silverdale Way and Bucklin Hill Road.

“ I travel through Silverdale every morning between 4:15 and

4:30 a.m.” he said. “When I get to that light, heading south, the light

will trip about five car lengths from the crosswalk. The problem is there are

no cars coming from any other direction.

“I have called the county three times over the last six months

about this problem with the promise that they will pass it on and

someone will contact me about it. I have not heard from anyone and

the problem still exists.

“I find myself just driving through the yellow light knowing that there is

no one coming from either direction. Can you help get this problem


The out basket: Apparently, I did. After I forwarded Tom’s e-mail to the

county, he sent another saying the problem seemed to have ended.

And Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works, tells me, “Our

traffic supervisor visited the intersection during the early morning hours on

Oct. 14 and observed what your reader noticed. There was times when the light

would cycle through without any demand. He made some adjustments on-site

and noticed immediate improvement. He is also planning to upgrade firmware on

the detection boards.”

I also told Tom that there’s nothing wrong with going through a yellow light. As long as one’s car has crossed the broad white stop bar where one enters the intersection before the light is red, there is no violation.

Incomplete Silverdale street signs to be replaced

The in basket: Margaret Gibbard e-mailed to say “The signs at the Bucklin Hill Road/Tracyton Boulevard are misleading.  At that intersection, Tracyton Boulevard is south of Bucklin and Myhre is north of Bucklin.  The signs only name Tracyton Boulevard, both north and south on Bucklin.”

The out basket: When Margaret first wrote, I figured it was a small matter of changing one of the small signs on a sign pole. But when I visited the site, I saw that she was talking about the large overhead signs installed on the signal cross-arms. And that’s just the start.

“This intersection should have signs that indicate both roads,” says Jeff Shea, the county traffic engineer, ” and we are working to correct that.”

The county sign shop isn’t equipped to make those signs, so the county contracts with Zumar of Tacoma for them. “The cost of each sign at that size is $2,741,” he said. “They use light-emitting capacitor lighting and their average life span is 10-15 years.”

This new generation of street signs actually lights up. You can see the wire leading into them on the four or five Silverdale intersections that have them, including this one. 

“The light is actually in the sign film itself,” Jeff said.  “LEC illumination increases visibility for motorists as they do not rely on a vehicle’s headlights or street lighting for visibility. LEC technology increases the distance from which they can be seen.”

That can increase safety, I would imagine, as the drivers aren’t looking away from traffic as long to identify where they want to turn.

“An additional benefit of LEC technology,” Jeff said, “is smaller signs. Because the signs are illuminated internally the  (guidelines)  allows smaller letter sizes. This reduces the size and reduces the associated stress on poles.

“We do not plan to retrofit all street name signs, but will consider LEC illumination for any major intersection modification.” As for the omission at the new Bucklin Hill/Tracyton Boulevard intersection, “when the signs are replaced, the manufacturer will remove the film from the old signs, allowing us to use the sign on a future project,” Jeff said.

Though expensive, LEC signs are just half the cost of the alternative to have lighted street signs, those that are backlit, he said.