Tag Archives: Fircrest

Over-intersection flashers may give way to sign post flashers

The in basket: I noticed the other day that the intersection of Fircrest Drive and Madrona Drive in South Kitsap’s Parkwood development, which has gotten more than the usual traffic control in the past, has something new.
Above the stop signs for traffic on Madrona wanting to cross Fircrest there now are flashing red beacons with solar sensors above them, their power source.
I didn’t recall seeing anything like them before, though they called to mind the stop signs on Fairgrounds Road at Old Military Road, which are bordered by small red flashing lights.
I asked if they are something new and what it is about Fircrest and Madrona which requires extra attention. Until now, that consisted of a sign warning Madrona drivers that cross-traffic on Fircrest doesn’t have to stop.
The out basket: Kitsap County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Both the LED lights bordering the signs (on Fairgrounds Road) and the above sign beacons (on Madrona) are (federally) approved applications to improve sign conspicuity.
“The LED border lights at Old Military and Fairgrounds is the only location with this configuration, although we do have a Warning Arrow sign with LED border lights on Southworth Drive.
“The intersection had a higher than average collision rate, so we decided to enhance the stop signs with the LED lights.  We will be monitoring this site to see if this enhanced conspicuity of the sign reduces collisions.  I have seen some concern noted in the literature about glare from the LEDs obscuring the sign to some degree.
“The (Madrona) sign beacons are currently under a replacement test program.  Our traffic safety team has been doing research on safety related to over-intersection beacons. They found that some motorists are confused on the meaning of the red in one direction and yellow in the other direction. Several jurisdictions around the country are replacing all their intersection beacons with above-sign beacons.
“Currently we have replaced two overhead beacons with above-sign beacons; 30th and Trenton, and Madrona and Fircrest.
“You are correct that this intersection has gotten a lot of attention for safety measures.  We aren’t exactly sure why motorists are having problems, but we will continue to monitor it. If we find that above sign beacons improve safety, we will eventually change out all overhead intersection beacons.”

Fircrest Drive trench patches rankle reader

The in basket: James Seabolt writes, “Maybe you could tell me why it is that when road work and repairs are made in Kitsap County the result is like a war zone. I think that every time I take a drive down Bethel Avenue in Port Orchard I need a front end alignment .

“I just came from Fircrest Drive off Mile Hill Drive and there are three places between the Mile Hill intersection and the fire department that were just patched and they feel like speed bumps.

“If a tax payer was to have work done on his own driveway at home there is no way we would accept the type of work done by the county. I know the excuse that the dirt settles different area-to-area and that’s bull. Seattle water and city light have long ago gone to filling there repairs with slurry, a cement-type product to fill in the repair under the pavement and the repairs are smooth.

“Why is it that we will accept sub-standard work from the county when we as taxpayers would not accept the same work at our own home?”

The out basket: I count five places a temporary patch has been made on Fircrest in the area James mentions.

Staged work is fairly common in the county, and in this case it’s the West Sound Utility District, the south end’s major water and sewer provider, and not the county doing the work.

Brent Winters, operations manager for West Sound, said the rough patches were done with what’s called cold mix, and were just to keep the material in place and avoid pot holes’ forming. The district is soliciting bids for a permanent pavement repair with hot mix asphalt, which will be smooth.

He said the ditching was done to change water connections of nine homes and businesses from an old 2-inch main to a newer 8-inch main to improve the quality of the water those customer receive.

As for Bethel Avenue, it’s subject to work to turn it into a main business corridor, but funding is uncertain and it just changed hands from the county to the city of Port Orchard besides. So no one wants to spend big bucks on permanent roadway improvements until it’s certain they’ll be there for the long run.

‘Perfect’ cul-de-sac not what it seems, says county

The in basket: Jim De Lorm wrote in mid-July, “I just received a notice that the county is going to pave the cul-de-sac where I live on Friday, July 22.” It’s Fircrest Place SE, just off Fircrest Drive in South Kitsap.

“Believe me, this cul-de-sac is in perfect shape. What a waste of money. I would think the money could be put to better use some place else.”

I guessed that it might be another of the county’s pervious pavement test sites and asked if I was close.

The out basket: No, says Don Schultz, county road superintendent, it’s just regular maintenance.

“While your reader believes Fircrest Place SE is in perfect shape, our pavement management system rates the road in poor condition,” Don said.

“Roads in Kitsap County are periodically inspected and assigned a rating score. The overall score considers pavement conditions including alligator cracking, rutting, surface deterioration due to raveling or aging and other factors. The score assigned to a road relates to its relative condition. (Fircrest Place) was last paved in 1974 and has a current surface score of 32.”

On that scale, 89 to 100 is excellent, 67 to 88 is good, 49 to 66 is fair,  21 to 48 is poor and zero to 20 means failed

“Each year road supervisors review road ratings to determine the best way to utilize the limited funds available to preserve the  county road system. Based on the rating score and other factors (proximity to other projects, equipment and material availability, the ‘window’ available for this type of maintenance work) they select roads to include on our annual paving schedule (http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadpave.htm).

“Systematic preventive maintenance is usually much more cost effective than waiting until a road fails,” he said. “It’s like the old FRAM oil filter cliché, ‘You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.’ By maintaining roads in the poor category before they fail, and restoring them to good or excellent condition, we keep those roads functional and ensure their use well into the future.”