Tag Archives: Clare

Left turns at tricky Clare-Callahan merge are legal

The in basket: Curt Bay says he’s been taking the off-ramp more often lately from the northbound side of Warren Avenue Bridge in Bremerton to get to Callahan Avenue. The same off-ramp also serves Clare Avenue, and he’s seen a number of drivers who had come up Clare and merged with Callahan then turn left onto the northbound on-ramp to Wheaton Way. He wonders if that is a legal turn.

The out basket: It’s an unusual intersection, with two streets served by the same off-ramp, and westbound Callahan going  from two-way to one-way traffic going in the opposite direction at that spot. But yes, turning left onto the on-ramp there is legal as long as a driver on Clare yields to cars coming off the bridge on Callahan, and to any oncoming traffic. A U-turn is illegal, though, as there is a sign there prohibiting that.

Do you know the way to Highway 303?

The in basket: Pat Ryan of Brownsville has contacted me twice, years apart, suggesting that more directional signs around the northbound on-ramp to Highway 303 from Callahan Drive in East Bremerton are needed.

At present, only drivers westbound on Callahan have signs showing the way to the highway. Drivers who come north on Clare Avenue, which arcs around as a one-way street in its final couple hundred feet, can see the ramp, and maybe the highway, but are left to put two and two together without benefit of a sign saying, yes, a left turn will get you onto 303.

This year, Pat added that a sign down the hill at Lebo Boulevard and Clare, directing drivers seeking northbound Highway 303 up the hill would also be helpful.

There also is doubt about whether a left turn from Callahan onto the ramp is legal. A sign says no U-turn, but is mum on left turns.

Richard Gonzales e-mailed to say he knows a person who was stopped and warned by a Bremerton officer for making the left turn.

“The is no signage prohibiting the turn,” he noted. “Since my coworker wasn’t cited, can I assume that this officer just felt it was unsafe to turn left there or is it truly illegal?”

The out basket: It’s a legal place to make a left turn, says, Lt. Pete Fisher, head of BPD’s traffic division. He speculated that there may have been something dangerous about how Richard’s co-worker made the turn, perhaps not yielding to a car on Callahan, that prompted the warning.

Larry Matel of the city engineers says this about the signs Pat proposes:

While often times we all might like another roadway sign here or there, signs are deployed based upon a number of factors including traffic volume, complexity of traffic movements, traffic speed, and consequences of missing a turn, as well as economics.

That said, the city of Bremerton has thousands of street signs that all need to be maintained, regardless of the state of the economy. Therefore, we always look carefully at all requests for additional signing placement because the initial cost of the sign is only a portion of the cost of maintaining the sign over the life of the roadway. The costs do add up.

In this specific case, I do not see overwhelming life/safety or convenience issues creating a strong need to add additional maintenance responsibilities to our operations, especially in times of very tight budgets.”

I drove around the area, imagining that I was a stranger to the city coming from the direction of Lion’s Field, and I think a greater need for sign installation or maintenance exists on old Wheaton Way, which gets a lot more traffic.

There are no signs at Lebo and old Wheaton Way showing the way to 303, and a sign up the hill on old Wheaton that is intended to is almost entirely hidden by trees. Even then, it describes it as the way to “Warren Avenue/Wheaton Way,” which a newcomer probably wouldn’t know is also Highway 303.