Tag Archives: Fairgrounds

How pending changes will help at Fairgrounds and Central Valley

The in basket: Ralph Gribbin read a recent article about lane projects coming to the intersection of Central Valley and Fairgrounds roads in Central Kitsap, and questioned some of the assertions made. He wrote to me rather than the existing reporting staff.

“The article states ‘vehicles going straight have to wait for vehicles in front of them to turn left who are waiting for those coming from the other direction to go past,” he said. “NOT SO.  Each direction goes independently from the other three directions, and opposing traffic is at a standstill.

“It also quotes a statement supposedly made by Kitsap Public Works project manager Dick Dadisman ‘There is really nothing wrong the roadway other than turn lanes are needed to get the large volume of traffic through the intersection.’”

“Left turn lanes are not going to eliminate ‘waiting’ at the intersection,” Ralph wrote. “The difference will be the sequence in which each of the eight directions will be waiting. Opposing straight through and right turns will go while while those associated left turners and all cross traffic is waiting.

“The $2 million cost for this change could probably be much better spent in other county road repairs,” Ralph said.

I asked the county to comment, adding that I’d heard discussion of replacing the intersection with a roundabout.

The out basket: Dick Dadisman responded in defense of the expenditure, calling it “a safety and operational improvement project.

“This intersection is ranked 33 of 139 on the county’s high accident intersection list,” he said. “Additionally, with three schools nearby and this intersection located on a county bike route, the safety of non-motorized traffic is also a major concern.

“The proposed project will provide left turn channelization on all legs of the intersection, construct a new eight-phase traffic signal, provide widened travel lanes for improved bicycle safety and construct sidewalks with handicap ramps for pedestrians.

“During the planning stage for this project a roundabout was considered, but it was deemed not appropriate for this intersection.  A roundabout typically requires much more land to construct and sufficient right of way does not exist at this intersection. Additionally, the vertical grades on all four legs of this intersection are not conducive for the construction of a roundabout and roundabouts tend to cause safety issues for pedestrians and bicyclists when compared with a traffic signal, sidewalks and curb ramps.

“Mr. Gribbin’s description of the current traffic signal operation is correct in that ‘split phasing’ occurs on all four legs of the intersection.  This split phasing causes long delays making this intersection operate at an unacceptable level of service.

“Mr. Gribbon is also correct in his operational description of the proposed eight-phase traffic signal. Construction of this project proposes new left-turn channelization on all legs in addition to the new traffic signal.

“A traffic study was prepared where the level of service of the intersection was evaluated.  The study indicates the current intersection level of service (LOS) is F with an average control delay of 95.5 seconds in the PM-peak hour.  For the AM-peak hour the intersection operates at a LOS of D with an average control delay of 47.1 seconds.


“Adding the proposed left turn channelization and optimizing the proposed traffic signal cycle length with permissive left-turn phasing on the northbound and southbound approaches and with protected left-turn phasing on the eastbound and westbound approaches, the intersection level of service improves to LOS B.  The control delays will also decrease to 16.6 seconds for the PM-peak hour and 15.8 seconds for the AM-peak hour.

“The decreased control delays are due to left turning vehicles moving out of the travel lanes and into the new left-turn lanes, thereby not choking the intersection,” he said.

Permissive left turn phasing uses flashing yellow lights and protected left turns can be made only with a green arrow light.


Status to remain quo on SR303 near Fred Meyer

The in basket: Sharrell  Lee says, “I want to know if there are any plans to add extra lanes in the approximately three miles between Arbys and Fairgrounds on Highway 303.

“Why?  Have you driven it lately?  The worst area is where the Fred Meyer turn and Camelot turn are situated.  Approximately 3 p.m. any weekday, it is insane with traffic backing up from Lowes to Riddell in either direction.

“Also, the word is that an apartment complex across from Golden Star (restaurant)will soon be built. This will further add to the congestion, and I therefore don’t see how some traffic revision can be avoided.  I’m interested in what the long range highway plans for this area are.”

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways says, “No improvements are currently planned beyond routine highway paving in the area. A study completed in 2002 identified the potential of adding HOV lanes at 11th Street in Bremerton and extending them to the north to Fairgrounds Road, but no funding has been secured.”


Old Military Road speeders trouble resident

The in basket: Craig Reynolds says speeding is particularly bad on Old Military Road between McWilliams and Fairgrounds roads in Central Kitsap, especially at rush hour.

Both directions are bad between 3:30 and 6 p.m., he said. He presumes it to be commuter traffic not wanting to use Highway 303 for whatever reason.

Many are motorcycles and kids with loud exhausts, he said. He thinks residents of the housing on Pine Road regard it as an option to 303 when heading toward Silverdale.

They get up to 45 to 60 mph in the 35 mph zone, he said.

He wonders how the neighbors might score one of the “Your Speed Is…” signs, such as the one in the dip on McWilliams Road just east of where Old Military intersects it. That sign really seems to slow drivers down, he said.

Frankly, that sign annoys me, as it flashes “slow down” if you’re even a mile over the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit, which is hard to avoid on the downgrade leading to it. I prefer the one Port Orchard has on Mile Hill that blinks your speed if you’re over the limit, and flashes red-blue, simulating a police car, if you’re more than 5 over.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer says, “Residents can request speed radar signs from Public Works by calling Kitsap1 (360.337.5777).

“Our traffic investigator completes a thorough study to determine if the sign is warranted. The study includes looking at the number of vehicles that are routinely exceeding posted speed limits.

Jeff said, “The radar signs are reserved for higher functional road classifications that do not qualify for speed bumps or other traffic calming devices,” which describes Old Military Road, I’m sure.

Flashing stop sign deployed at CK intersection

The in basket: Paul Werner of Central Kitsap told me in a phone call that stop signs with flashing lights had turned up at on Fairgrounds Road where it crosses Old Military Road.

I had seen those solar powered signs at a trade show at Sea-Tac last winter and the county said afterward that they might use them, but were noncommittal.

I asked the county about their first use here (other than one on the Bangor Navy base) and whether we’ll be seeing more of them.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer replied, “We have, in fact, installed a solar-powered flashing light stop sign on the two legs of Fairgrounds Road at Old Military Road. “This intersection was being considered for an overhead flashing beacon due to its collision history.  We are evaluating the effectiveness of these flashing stop signs in lieu of the overhead beacon.

“The flashing sign is less expensive (approximately $1,600 each for the signs versus about $10,000 plus ongoing electricity costs) and installation is significantly easier than the overhead beacon.

The signs will flash continuously as long as the solar power keeps them going. Jeff said a version activated by an approaching vehicle exists but is more expensive. They’ll know more about how the solar power will do in the dark of winter after it goes through one. The location of Fairgrounds Road has pretty good exposure to the sun, he said. If the signs stop flashing, they’ll still be stop signs.

“We are not currently looking to install these signs at any other location,” Jeff said. “The proximity to residential housing was another consideration. In residential areas, flashing lights can be annoying to homeowners near the intersection.  This location doesn’t have homes near it.”


‘Jungle’ said to be claiming barrier on 303

The in basket: Perry East e-mailed to say he’d “noticed that the large divider on Highway 303 (near McWilliams and Fairgrounds roads) is looking like the jungle is taking over – moss, grass and trees growing up and against. Has the state any plans for clean up of this?”

Perry’s inquiry came just a week after Paul Zellinsky of Bremerton asked me the same thing.

Paul was for 14 years a state representative here, and he said he contacted old friend Mary Margaret Haugen, now head of the Senate Transportation Committee, asking her to intercede to see that it is cleaned up.

The out basket: Duke Stryker, head of the state’s highway maintenance operation here, said he hasn’t had any expressions of interest in that barrier from Olympia or regional headquarters. But he had his maintenance supervisor visit the site after I asked and he agrees the barrier needs attention.

They’ll be getting to it as soon as they are done with pavement repair that requires a grinder, such as that on Wheaton Way, in Gorst and in Purdy, discussed in a recent Road Warrior column.

They have to share the grinder, which they rent from the city of Bremerton, he said, and it will be going to Clallam County when they are done here. So his crews are working nights and have a limited time (through June) to complete this summer’s dig out and replacement pavement repair. Later, they’ll do less intensive grader resurfacing.

I asked him if the demands of the awful winter of 2008-09 might have required cutbacks in aesthetic operations like cleanup of the center barriers on state highways the following summer. He said that’s a balancing act they do all the time, but he couldn’t say there was any necessary relationship between that winter and the barrier on 303.

Certainly safety work like renewing highway striping every years and preservation work like the pavement repair take precedence over cleanup jobs, he said.

I noticed there was some impressive vegetation along the jersey barrier farther north on 303, suggesting it was missed last year too.

Bad behavior causes parking lot closure near Fairgrounds


The in basket: Lance Hagele asks, “Why is the parking lot on the corner of Fairgrounds Road and Tracyton Boulevard closed? 

“It has been closed for a very long time and I thought it might be closed  for renovations,” he said. “I noticed it was open for vendors to park their RV’s during the Kitsap County Fair. 

“This parking lot supports the Anna Smith Park. Now people must park along Tracyton Boulevard, which poses  an unsafe condition to enjoy the park,” he said.

 The out basket: Dori Leckner of Kitsap County Parks replies, 

“The parking area you mention is blocked off because many used it for  illegal dumping. People left campers, cars, trailers, dead animals, headstones and yard waste there. 

“When the parking lot was open, there were break-ins and vandalism to vehicles parked there because of its remote location. 

“We’ve kept the Master Gardeners at Anna Smith Park informed about these challenges and they understand why this parking lot is closed,” she said. “We are working to see how we can alleviate these concerns and open the lot in light of these challenges.”

Motorcyclist decries Central Valley Road condition


Central Valley pot holes
Central Valley pot holes

The in basket: Mitch Hailey of Bremerton e-mailed two weeks ago to protest the condition of Central Valley Road, including with his message several photographs of ruts and pot holes left by a sewer excavation between Alexis Drive and Holland Road. 

“While riding my motorcycle on this road and with no warning, I found myself having to dodge one danger after another and coming very close to dumping my bike,” Mitch said.

“Having just survived a crash where an irresponsible dog owner allowed their pet to play in the roadway unrestrained, I am very sensitive to preventable dangers placing others at risk.  Someone needs to be providing oversight of these construction projects for safety’s sake.”

The out basket:  Jacques Dean, Kitsap County’s project manager and the overseer of this county project by Buno Construction, said he sent the contractor copies of Mitch’s photos and ordered that more attention be paid the condition of the road after each day’s work.

The workers are to make a daily patch of the road they disturb that day, Jacques said, but weren’t taking enough time raking out the hot asphalt mix before it was rolled. Rain and traffic produced the conditions in Mitch’s photos.

The work the day after Mitch wrote was a lot better, Jacques said. 

Since then, two readers have disagreed. 

On Oct.27, Sheldon Cherrey wrote, “Well,  I traveled that road last night. The road is worse than the  

last time I drove it. Possibly due to the rain “

And Louis Oliver wrote Saturday to say he found “that a forest service road that has not seen a grader in over two years would be the smoother of the two. If it is the county that is doing the repairs after the pipe is replaced, the job should be out-sourced. If a contractor is doing the job, they should be fined and replaced. Then I wonder who should pay for my dental work? Yes, it is that bad.”


Tina Nelson of the county, filling in for Jacques, who was away from work last week, had this to say about the latest complaints:

“Last week the contractor was directed to spend more time (and money …) on maintaining the patch.  I drove it yesterday, and I thought it was an acceptable patch at the time. 

“The catch is that the patch is only temporary,” she said. “The same trench needs to be dug up again to install the new force main, starting the second week of November, over the gravity sewer that has already been installed.  It is our intent to keep the patch safe, but at the same time be cost conscious. 

“If travelers go slow, allow the extra few minutes, or use an alternate route, we will not be forced to spend additional precious dollars on a temporary patch.  

 “Patience,” she urged. The final product, when the sewer installation is complete, will be like a brand new road surface.  Permanent restoration in Central Valley Road is currently scheduled to start in mid-December, which includes final asphalt paving.  Asphalt paving, of course, is weather dependent.”   




How about rumble strips on Central Valley shoulders?


The in basket: Cathy Houston brings up a familiar subject, danger to pedestrians and school children on Central Valley Road’s shoulders. 

“As we all know, there are several schools in the vicinity,” she said. “Students are walking in the area in all types of weather and in all levels of darkness.

“Traffic is extremely bad at the Central Valley/Fairgrounds intersection. Cars treat the fog line as just another lane marker and use the shoulder as another driving lane. 

“I would like to see some rumble edging along the fog line for the length of the road from Foster Road to McWilliams Road, letting the drivers know in a very obvious way that they have crossed out of their lane,” she said.

She also thinks the fact that a crosswalk at the Fairgrounds Road intersection that continues past the edge line, which others in the area do not, contributes to the danger by “giving drivers a false sense of where the edge of the road is.”

The out basket: Cathy had already contacted Kitsap County Public Works to no avail before writing to me, so she won’t be much surprised by their answer.

“Without a physical barrier (curb, gutter and sidewalk) some motorists do not respect the shoulder area of the roadway,” says Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer.

“It is against the law to drive on the shoulder, except for emergencies and certain other legitimate reasons, but motorists do it anyway. We have tried bumps or tubular markers at other locations and motorists simply drive over them or take them out, and they eventually disappear. 

“I don’t think rumble strips have the desired impact,” he continued. “Rumble strips are designed to alert drowsy and inattentive motorists when they leave the roadway. They have a great track record for reducing run-off-the-road accidents on highways. They are less effective as a method to keep motorists from driving on shoulders. 

“Most motorists drive over them, since they don’t present a physical barrier of any kind, and make the turn on the shoulder.  The white edge line is very visible and makes it clear to the motorist that they are on the shoulder. 

“Rumble strips also present a hazard to bicyclists,” he said, “which is why we leave gaps between series of rumble strips.” 

Cathy’s concerns will be considered in the planning of a $1 million-plus redo of the Central Valley-Fairgrounds intersection in 2012, he said.

In the meantime, “we will remove the (crosswalk) bars in the shoulder and better mark the shoulder area with an edge line clearly visible around the curve radius as part of our pavement marking program this summer,” Jeff said. 

“There is a major sewer project impacting the south side of the intersection. We will mark the north side initially, and complete the south side after the sewer project is completed.”

Central Valley/Fairgrounds signal on the fritz


The in basket: I found myself in an unfamiliar place Monday afternoon, though certainly it’s well-known to hundreds of our readers. I rarely use Central Valley Road near Fairgrounds Road, because of the school zones there, and don’t recall the last time I was there at school-closing time.

But Monday I wound up northbound on Central Valley approaching Fairgrounds Road about 3 p.m.

“What a zoo,” I remarked to myself, as the cars ahead of me barely moved while I could see the light was green and should have been moving traffic. I decided to count how many seconds elapsed between the light turning green again and my moving forward. I wondered if school children in the crosswalk were keeping turning traffic from moving, holding up everyone behind them, and whether it was a daily thing for drivers there.

Instead, I wound up counting the length of the green light because it turned yellow after only 10 seconds. Obviously, not many cars got through.

I asked the county if that’s normal behavior for that light.

The out basket: No, says Callene Abernathy of county public works. At least one citizen called in the same complaint Monday night and a signal technician found

that the signal was not operating correctly.  The technician did a temporary fix, she said, and others were to go out Tuesday to see what is wrong with the signal.

Central Valley survey work raises concern


The in basket: E-mailers Priscilla & Rudy Barrilleaux of Bremerton say “For the last two weeks there has been a survey crew working on Central Valley Road from Waaga Way to now just beyond Fairgrounds  

Road.  I was wondering if you could please find out the reason for  

the survey?”

They worried that Central Valley might grow to four lanes, Priscilla said.

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says it’s advance work for the 2012 revision of the intersection of Fairgrounds and Central Valley roads . The county has earmarked $1.14 million for the work, so it will be a fairly substantial job, but preliminary engineering won’t begin for a year, says Doug, so there’s no word on how it will be configured. He’s heard no talk of replacing the signals with a roundabout, he said.