Tag Archives: Fred Meyer

Disparate signal operation on Highway 303 puzzles reader

The in basket: Robert Arper e-mails to say, “I am curious why the left turn lane into the East Bremerton Fred Meyer is programmed so differently than the left turn lane into the East Bremerton Walmart.

“Right now it would appear that Walmart shoppers are getting preferential treatment but Fred Meyer shoppers are getting the shaft. Yet it is the motoring public that is paying the price in the form of delays in both cases.

“Those of us waiting for the light to turn to allow us to turn into Fred Meyer have to wait forever while traffic heading north on 303 gets the green regardless of the amount of traffic.

“Those of us traveling south on 303 are delayed by those wishing to turn left from the northbound lane into Walmart even if there are only one or two cars in the left-turn lane.  It would seem that the people programming the lights at these two intersections are not the same person or they just want to make it difficult for the motoring public.”

The out basket: The history of those intersections is quite different, accounting for the difference in treatment.

Former officials in the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways have told me that when Fred Meyer wouldn’t agree to shift its main entrance when the store was built, the entrance didn’t line up with the existing road across Highway 303, creating an offset intersection.

As a result, the two opposing left-turns onto 303 must happen separately, prolonging the wait for those wanting to make other movements. I often hear complaints about the left turn into Fred Meyer being annoyingly short when it finally does come around, but in my experience, that comes and goes and isn’t always the case.

In front of Walmart, the center barrier installed there between McWilliams and Fairgrounds roads to eliminate left-turn accidents at other intersections near there was finished during the holidays and heavy traffic into Walmart soon spilled out of the left turn lane into the inside northbound through lane.

So the signal shop gave it an extra left turn opportunity in each cycle to eliminate the danger of rear-end accidents that created. It’s been that way ever since, though watching that turn lane, I’m not sure I often or ever see enough turning traffic during the two cycles combined that it would fill up the turn lane. But I’m not often there during the holidays.

Nonetheless, the Olympic Region signal shop and the city of Bremerton are considering whether changes should be made in the timing of signals between Fred Meyer and points south.

Ken Burns of the signal shop says, “Robert’s assessment of the signals’ being operated by different people is correct.” The city has one and the state the other.

“(We) are working together on a corridor analysis for the system on Highway 303 from Sheridan Road to the Fred Meyer/Furneys Lane signal,” Ken said. “This analysis will examine left-turn volumes, pedestrian crossing clearance times, as well as the overall delay at the intersections in this corridor.”

Change coming for left turners near Fred Meyer in Bremerton

The in basket: Vern Beeson and Steve Newton called me last fall to protest what they feel is the misuse of an access on Highway 303 in Bremerton across from the Camelot Court mobile home park, where Vern lives. It’s configured only for right turns into and out of the parking area at the Azteca restaurant just north of Fred Meyer.

But, both men said, it’s often used by left turners coming south on the highway. They aren’t dissuaded by the awkward configuration of that access for left turns.

Steve said he was almost hit by an Access bus that roared into the exit half of the access on Sept. 2, ignoring the Do Not Enter sign on that half.

“Nearly every time I’ve driven into East Bremerton the last year and a half,” he said, “there is a car trying to make an illegal left to go in the wrong way at this intersection” so they do not have to wait at the left-turn signal just ahead at Fred Meyer.

“(Are there) any plans to force traffic to go through the light, or does a fatal accident have to occur before action is taken?”

Vern added an aspect of the problem that hadn’t occurred to me. Drivers waiting to turn left toward Azteca are in the way of people like him who want to pull into the center area and make their own lefts to go home, he said. It’s especially irritating when he’s pulling his trailer and must then find a place to turn around up ahead so he can return and make a right turn into Camelot Court.

Unlike Steve and others who have objected to this, who want to see left turners toward Azteca cited for an illegal turn, Vern suggests closing the right-in half of that right-in-right out access altogether. He never sees anyone actually turn right into the parking area, he said.

The out basket: I’ve written about this twice before and the last time, in July 2005, I wrote that those left turns appear to be legal. There is no cross-hatching, sign or broad yellow center stripe to prohibit a left-turn, and the pavement arrows in the middle there show it as a two-way turn lane.

I so concluded despite a state patrol position that the turns SHOULD be illegal but that it would be hard to enforce with the current striping.

Trooper Krista Hedstrom, who has taken over as spokeswoman for the local WSP detachment, agrees with her predecessor from 2005, and says this time the state Department of Transportation has agreed to install No-Left-Turn signs, when it gets around to it, to allow citations for the action.

As for Vern’s idea, WSP would oppose closing that half of the access, she said. “Closing the right-in half of that access may eliminate one issue, but could potentially create others,” she said.”By eliminating that access, you are creating unnecessary traffic in the Fred Meyer parking lot which creates risks to pedestrians/shoppers.

“Right now that access may not be used much but that could be partly due to the fact that many of the businesses have closed,” she added.  “Once those buildings are occupied again, traffic will begin to pick up for those using that right-turn-in.”

That’s beside the point for Steve’s situation, as the turn he describes by the Access bus would clearly have been a violation, since it went in the exit and the driver ignored the Do Not Enter sign there.