Tag Archives: First Street

A.M ‘Tour de France” at Bremerton ferry generates question

The in basket: Kelli Lambert says in an e-mail, “I am wondering about the routing of bike traffic when the bikes off-load from the ferry (in Bremerton). I drop my husband off around 7 a.m. for the 7:20 ferry, and quite often the stream of bikes (which my husband and I refer to as the ‘Tour de France’) comes riding past me very close on the driver’s side, against the one-way traffic.

“The other day they all started whizzing across First Street and a Kitsap Transit bus came awfully close to hitting one. It’s dark and congested at that time of day.

“I assume many of the bicyclists are going to the shipyard for work. What is the actual route they are supposed to take? And does the Bremerton Police enforce it at all?” she asked.

The out basket: I get many complaints of this kind, bicyclists using their smaller size and mobility to do things cars aren’t physically able to, whether it’s legal or not.

In this case, it’s not. Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police says, “Bicyclists on the roadway must obey the rules of the road, the same as a vehicle.  This includes traveling the right way on one-way streets. This has been an ongoing issue that we have tried to address and will continue to address.”

Oddly, these bikers can get away with what they are doing if they stay out of the roadway, use the sidewalk and don’t endanger any pedestrians while so doing. Permission to ride on sidewalks, cautiously, is the main exception to the rule Pete states about bicyclist’s having to obey the rules of the road.

Otherwise, they should do what cars do, go around the block to get to the shipyard in the traffic lanes.

Highway 304 median not done yet

The in basket: I joined an estimated 100 volunteers in cleaning up the badly overgrown median in Highway 304 coming into Bremerton last Saturday.

The combined effort made impressive progress between 9 a.m. and noon, getting from the First Street intersection westward to almost past the Kitsap Transit maintenance shop.

At noon, after downing a couple pieces of the many pizzas the city had provided for the workers, I decided not to push my just-turned-70-year-old body any further and left.

But I felt sure those who remained would be able to finish the short distance to Farragut Avenue in the remaining three hours the event was scheduled. Maybe they’d even get across Farragut to the median on the other side, I thought, though that would have mean moving the inside lane closures for the safety of the workers to the west.

Though it was a volunteer effort, it was clear the city had put a lot of money and effort into it, between closing the inside lanes, deploying electric signs to warn of them, equipment and truck drivers to haul away the displaced weeds and dump garden bark, manning the sign-up tent, and providing gloves and yellow vests for the workers.

When I came back through at 3:10 I was surprised that not much more had been done. It looked like it must have ended early.

I asked Public Works Director Chal Martin, whom I had met working in the median, what happened.

The out basket: “Several things,” Chal said. “There were sections where the going

was tougher and we ran into tougher work at the far end.”

And I wasn’t the only one who left at half-time.

“We lost some folks after lunch,” he said.

“Finally, at about 1:30, it became apparent that

people were getting tired and tired equates to a safety issue — we noticed several volunteers being less aware of the work zone and stepping out into the travel lanes. “So we began migrating folks to the exits.”

They’d intended to use the last hour to remove the lane closures anyway, he said. And parks officials had told him even before the event that  volunteers get predictably tired if you go longer than four hours.

“I was disappointed to not get the first section done,” Chal said. “But this was a learning exercise.  I think that in general, we learned a lot and accomplished a lot.

“But, of course, we need to get out there again and

complete the first section.  This needs to be done in November.”

They’ll meet at the parks department building on Lebo Boulevard Friday afternoon to plan the next step.

First Street crosswalk hard to see

The in basket: John Jurgens writes, “Can you look into the crosswalk on the north end of the Gateway right near the Chinese restaurant (at First Street and Highway 304 in Bremerton)?

“I drive a worker-driver bus in every work day and coming from the south is a challenge in bad weather,” John said. “The road sweeps a bit to the left just before the crosswalk so we don’t have a clear view of anyone crossing to the east until we are almost at the crosswalk. This morning someone was trying to cross west and I almost did not see her.

“Is there any way the city could install some sort of crossing signal to warn drivers coming from the south that someone is waiting to cross?”

He also suggests a change to discourage left turns onto First Street at the intersection, which requires driving into oncoming northbound traffic lanes briefly.

“While it is not an issue now because the Montgomery Gate (to the shipyard) is closed, I have seen cars and even a tractor-trailer sitting in the median area southbound waiting to turn left onto First Street. If the median was just a bit longer or even squared off, it might discourage these left turns.

The out basket: There is a plan completed for addressing those issues, created in 2007 and called the Non-Motorized Plan, providing improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians.

It calls for what’s called a “half-signal” that pedestrians and bicyclists can activate to stop traffic on the arterial highway long enough for them to cross. There would be no signal for First Street traffic, which can’t cross there anyway.

Seattle has a bunch of them and has a description of them you can access by asking Google for “half-signal.”

As for the median barrier, the plan calls for two new gaps in it for bikes to cross the highway, but makes no mention of lengthening it to discourage risky left turns.

But since there is no funding for the plan’s recommended changes at present, there is time for those who would like to see it done to campaign for its being added to the project, if and when it’s done.

Wrong-way bicyclists in downtown Bremerton worry reader

The in basket: Dan Wages and Michael Johnson are upset about two strategies use by shipyard workers in Bremerton to get to work in the morning. We’ll discuss Dan’s first and Michael’s in the next Road Warrior.

Dan says, “Every weekday morning at about 7 a.m. I see several bicyclists coming off of the Seattle ferry ride against traffic westbound on First Street heading towards the PSNS gate.

“This looks very dangerous,” he said, “in that cars coming down Pacific, which turns into First Street, do not expect two-way traffic on a one way street. I witnessed one accident a few months ago where a bicyclist struck a vehicle turning into the Kitsap Credit Union building’s underground parking and hear drivers of cars yelling at the bicyclists reminding them that they are on a one-way street going the wrong direction.”

He wonders if what the bicyclists are doing is legal and thinks the city of Bremerton is risking a “huge liability” if one of the bikes is hit by a car.

“There is no signage telling cars to watch for traffic going against the flow on this one-way street,” he said. “Bremerton police do not issue tickets for what appears to be an illegal action.

About a dozen bicyclists do this each day, he said.

The out basket: Lt. Pete Fisher of the Bremerton police traffic division didn’t waste many words on this, saying, that bicyclists must follow the rules of the road per RCW 46.61.755, which says they must comply with all laws applied to automobiles, except that they can ride on the shoulder or sidewalk.

“Our position is that bicyclists must comply with all pertinent laws or they subject themselves to potential enforcement action,” he said.

He didn’t address whether they have written any tickets for this, but it’s clear that a bicyclist in the roadway going the wrong way is violating the law. It sounds like they can get way with it on the sidewalk if they don’t run down any pedestrians.

Another shipyard commute beef

The in basket: Michael Johnson is annoyed by the practice of some drivers headed to work at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton who cut through the parking lot of the Lucky Wok fast food restaurant at First and Charleston and try to force their way into the line of cars on First who turned right off of northbound Charleston, also known as Highway 304.

“I have always heard that it is illegal to cut through a business’ parking lot to bypass an intersection,” he said. “Is that true?

“There are always one or two cars and sometime five or six at a time cutting through the parking lot to cut into the line to get in the gate,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are always enablers in that line that allow them to cut in.

“I feel it’s the same as people trying to cut into the ferry lines.  Why should they get to go ahead of everyone else that has been patiently waiting in line?”

The in basket: The common belief that it’s illegal to cut through a parking lot to avoid a traffic signal or for some other reason is incorrect. There is no law against it in this state.

I don’t know what the realities are for those heading to the shipyard in the morning who could turn onto Montgomery from Sixth Street or Burwell Street but choose instead to stay on Charleston until the start of the center barrier forces them to use the Lucky Wok’s lot. If it’s not a big hassle, I’d say they are at least self-centered.

But they aren’t doing anything illegal, thought they would probably be judged at fault if they were to collide with a car already on First Street when they try to get into line.