Tag Archives: Kitsap Way

Pedestrians imperiled at 11th & Kitsap Way

The in basket: Nancy Danaher wrote in June 16 to say, “A couple of weeks ago while traveling south on Kitsap Way at about 7 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m., we nearly witnessed a horrific accident.

“When a person needs to cross Kitsap Way at 11th Street in Bremerton, a pedestrian light gives them the OK and the two right lanes heading south get the red light.

Now, if you are coming around that curve at too high a speed or not paying attention at all, you are believing you have a green light to cruise through. Not the case when someone needs to cross the street.  Two times that same evening someone was almost hit by vehicles because they did not stop at the red light.

“Yesterday afternoon it happened again,” Nancy said. “I was headed northwest on Kitsap Way (at) the red light. A gal was crossing and had the pedestrian light and around the corner comes a large pickup truck and barrels through what to him would have been a red light!.  Thank goodness the girl was still walking in our two lanes.

“How can vehicles be forewarned that the light around the curve is RED?” Nancy asked.

The out basket: I heard back from both Tom Knuckey and Jerry Hauth of Bremerton’s street engineers about this and it turns out that intersection is due some pedestrians improvements, part of a grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council

Tom said, “This intersection is included in a Bremerton Crosswalk Improvements project, scheduled for design this year, and construction in 2016,  We’re currently coordinating with a consultant for the design, and have brought this concern to their attention as they develop a  list of improvements to be constructed.

“Although there have been no accidents involving pedestrians at this location, and although the sight distance exceeds (federal) minimums, we are still concerned about it, as Nancy is.  We will look at all options, including additional advance warning signage.

“In the meantime, we have requested additional enforcement by our police department. We also get feedback from our officers that helps us with designing the safety improvements.  Nancy’s input was very much appreciated and will also become part of the project file.

Jerry, successor to Gunnar Fridriksson, who left the city to go to work for Clark County this spring, adds, “I don’t know what may come of this design process. But we can certainly consider (or include) some advanced warning if it is needed.

“I have some reservations about the benefit of an advanced warning on this site,” he said. “As I drive through it, at the speed limit, it appears to me that there is adequate time to come to a controlled stop (as needed). Also, as I understand the situation that prompted this concern, a truck had run a red light. Bad things can happen when people run red lights and I question if a warning would have changed any of that.”

 

 

Marine Drive’s lost lane rankles residents

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 5.16.50 PMThe in basket: Linda Spearman and John White are among what I gather are a lot of Marine Drive and Rocky Point residents unhappy with an unexpected consequence of the city of Bremerton’s repaving of a stretch of Marine Drive that intersects Kitsap Way.
“It’s nice that they have repaved the first section of Marine Drive,” John wrote, “but at the same time they changed the lane structure (at Kitsap Way). Instead of a left turn, straight, and right turn lane, there are now just a left turn lane and a combined right/straight lane.
“The majority of the traffic anytime the intersection is busy are either left or right turns. Now that the right turn lane is combined with the straight lane all it takes is one person waiting to go straight and the right turn lane has to wait the entire signal sequence. I’ve already seen things backing WAY up, especially at rush hour time when the cycle is so long already.
“I know it was most likely done to widen the entrance approach when coming from Kitsap Way left-turn lane. And I will be the first to admit that turn has been close to the bane of my existence, since I live down Rocky Point, but I don’t see this as the best solution. Not to mention now there are three signals for two lanes. Then again after seeing the ‘improvements’ at Warren Avenue maybe that’s the new standard around Bremerton??”
Linda said, “We are envisioning big problems from this lane loss.  Usually when
Crownhill Elementary School lets out students for the day, there is a
traffic backup of huge proportions (also in the morning when students are
driven to school by parents).
“Now, with the right-turn lane being
utilized for right turns as well as straight through, vehicles waiting at
the red light to traverse onto Adele (straight) will be blocking the lane
for vehicles which would normally have been able to make right turns on
red.
“This lane restriction will inevitably cause worse
congestion.  There are probably other high-traffic time periods of the day as well. We hope tempers will not flare because of this change.
“Did the traffic department consider this problem before they made their decision?”
The out basket: John’s comparison with Warren Avenue at 11th Street is apt, as the rationale for eliminating 11th’s westbound right turn lane a couple years ago is the same as for consolidating two lanes into one at Marine Drive. It made room to widen the single lane inbound to Marine Drive, which  required too sharp a turn for large vehicles and drivers of some small ones.
But city Public Works Director Chal Martin wants upset residents to know that further modifications should make the change work better. They retimed the signals Monday and Chal said it seemed to help.
The change “was to make the inbound lane on Marine Drive wider to accommodate both right turns and left turns from Kitsap Way,” he said. “Especially with the right turns, school buses had a very hard time and would get hung up until the Marine Drive’s southbound left-turn lane cleared. Marco Dicicco, Bremerton School District’s student transportation and safety supervisor, was especially concerned about this issue.
“This change fixes that problem but will continue to cause a jam-up during the school rush period until we get the (traffic detector) loops working properly.
“Work still to be done includes re-aligning the loops (they are sort of working, but not quite because they are mis-aligned right now).  We’ll get that done (currently scheduled for Wednesday of this week) and watch for awhile – it takes folks time to settle into a new configuration. Also we may need to make a few additional adjustments. Bottom line is:  We will get this working right.”
The project was paid for with money raised by the city’s license tab add-on. “Money was an issue,” Chal said, “and widening the street was cost prohibitive.
“The three signal heads that are there will stay, as this is a standard configuration for two lanes also.  We did consider the issues associated with putting this reconfiguration in place.  The new configuration should begin working much better within the next couple of weeks.”

Signs routinely ignored at secondary Winco exit

The in basket: Charles Malley and Sharon Jackson are the latest readers to complain about the number of drivers coming out of the new Winco store in Bremerton on what used to be the end of Arsenal Way who drive straight across to Shorewood Drive, even though signage on that side of the Kitsap Way intends to forbid that movement.

Sharon says sometimes drivers coming straight across hold up would-be left turners, occasionally leaving not enough time for all those waiting to make the turn. It’s also an accident hazard, she said.

“I have never seen anyone ticketed, or even stopped for this infraction,” she said, “and I’ve wondered why. I think it’s possible that when their light turns green, people coming directly across think they can do so legally, despite the right turn only.”

Charles said, “People who live in the Shorewood Drive area are likely to know how this turn is marked.
“There will eventually be an accident when someone turns left from Shorewood onto Kitsap Way and someone else goes straight through the intersection from Winco. So who will get a ticket, the person turning left for failing to yield or the person going straight?”

The out basket: Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police says the driver who proceeds straight would be cited in the collision Charles describes. He also said, “I have also sent this e-mail to our motor officer.  Due to the configuration of the intersection, it is extremely difficult to set up enforcement in a car at that location.” He didn’t elaborate.

I spent about 15 minutes this week watching the intersection. Only three vehicles came out of Winco on that street during that time, but one, a black Lincoln SUV, did come straight across. There was no conflict with a left turner for that driver, and no cars were left waiting to turn out of Shorewood when the light changed.

But it WAS at 2 in the afternoon. Other times might be worse, though I wouldn’t expect a lot of rush hour traffic out of Shorewood and Madrona Point. The wait on Shorewood after the light turned red was a minute and 45 seconds.

I then crossed Kitsap Way to see what signs drivers coming out of Winco see. There are two signs saying only right turns can be made from the right lane, and a no-left-turn sign on the cross-arm for the traffic signal. But nothing about not pulling straight across.

The center lane, from which straight-ahead traffic normally would cross, has several yellow raised pavement markers (turtles, colloquially) creating cross-hatching on the pavement, which makes driving there illegal.

But it seems that some inexperienced drivers might not get the intended message from those pavement markings and use the lane to go straight. Probably most of the violators simply say “Screw it!” I won’t get caught.” But I wonder if more definitive signing banning straight ahead travel would reduce the problem.

13th & Corbet on Kitsap Way is a complex right-of-way spot

The in basket: Tom Baker of the Bremerton city electronics shop, who often helps me with answers, posed a question last month.

“Eastbound on Kitsap Way (in Bremerton) at the busy intersection of Corbet Drive, 13th Street and Wilbert.” he asked, “who has the right of way when turning left onto Corbet, and there is a vehicle turning right from 13th onto Kitsap Way? The right turning vehicle is looking at the oncoming traffic, and not at the car about to turn left in front of him.

“I believe the vehicle in the traveled way has the right of way, but I will yield to the right-turning traffic,” he said.

The out basket: This is a complicated intersection and right of way issues there are equally complex. Corbet and 13th intersect Kitsap Way within a few feet of each other. Wilbert is across the street  and is more conventional.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police says any car entering a roadway, especially from a stop sign, must yield to those on the roadway being entered, so the driver turning off of Kitsap Way would have the right of way. Tom is correct.

In the first year of Road Warrior, 1996, I handled a related question. Who has the right of way when a driver on Corbet turning left onto Kitsap Way conflicts with a driver on 13th turning right. Their paths will cross.

Pete Fisher agrees with what I was told then by Sgt. Tom Pratt of BPD. They say that the common rule that the vehicle on the right has right of way over that on its left, most often mentioned when discussing four-way stops, governs in that situation. So the left turner from Corbet would have right of way over the right turner from 13th.

Kitsap Lake crosswalk needs more than CPA is offering, says city

The in basket: Christopher Mutchler, a Kitsap Lake native who has established his accounting business there, says there is a serious need for a crosswalk across Kitsap Way in their business district.

“Growing up, there was a crosswalk between Bill’s Inn (the Garage) and the lake side of

Kitsap Way,” he said, “Some time later, the crosswalk was moved to between Fire One Protection and Novak Gutters.
“Now, no crosswalk.  When I researched locating here last December, I was informed by the city that nearly 10,000 cars pass this direction each day. Why no crosswalk now?

“I can purchase two solar powered, radio-controlled signs

from Tapco for $5,500.  I can raise the money myself and Tapco says they can be installed in a few hours.  Any reason why I could not create ‘Christopher’s Crosswalk?'”

He said he got the impression from the mayor in a July meeting with business owners at Kitsap Lake that it could be done, but he’s heard nothing since.

The out basket: The city very much appreciates the offer, says Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson, but must turn it down.

“My concern,” he said, “would be with the width of the roadway, pedestrians would get a false sense of security and some (driver) not paying attention would fail to notice the flashers on the side of the road. We really need a full system including a flasher and signage at the center of the roadway in the refuge island.”

And such a full system is on the drawing board. “This crossing is one of three projects the city council selected last year for us to concentrate on finding funding to complete,” Gunnar said. “We are looking at a system that has a flasher in the center along with a median island, and would be hardwire-connected instead of solar panels.”

As with plans to upgrade the crosswalk at First Street and Highway 304, discussed in a recent Road Warrior column, plans for the Kitsap Lake crosswalk are detailed in what’s called the Non-Motorized Plan.

It shows the crossing at the north side of the Harlow Drive intersection, and calls for pedestrian activated signage and a raised area half-way across for a pedestrian refuge. It appears to also involve sidewalks with more definitive breaks for driveways.

When, of course, depends on acquiring money to get it done.

Bump in Highway 3’s outside lane to be tended to

The in basket: Pat Fuhrer of the Silverdale engineering consultants MAP Ltd. e-mailed to ask ,”Have you driven southbound  SR 3 in front of the Bayview apartments since the state closed the lane Sept. 20 & 21 to repair the culvert trench recently?  It’s worse now then it was before!   Do you know if another repair is planned soon, and might they use a lean concrete backfill so it doesn’t settle again?”

The out basket: They are aware of the problem, just north of the Kitsap Way interchange in Bremerton, and will be fixing it temporarily soon and permanently next year, says Duke Stryker, head of maintenance for state highways locally.

An 18-inch-wide culvert that runs under the highway was damaged in last November’s heavy rains, he said. They had to dig down 14 feet to repair the damaged section, and found that the entire culvert was in bad shape.

So they contracted to have a 16-inch-wide liner inserted through it’s entire length last month, which required another 14-foot trench tin which they had to “wrestle the liner through there, after which it was backfilled and repaved,” he said.

But the compaction of the finished product didn’t hold up, leaving a depression.

“We’ve had some settlement, similar to what we had before,” Duke said. “We’ll put some cold mix in there and keep and eye on it, and put it on our paving schedule next year.”

Kitsap Way left turn to Walgreens frustrates National Avenue turners

The in basket: Michael Moore e-mailed to say, “Many times, when turning onto National Avenue from (westbound) Kitsap Way, there has been a vehicle turning left into Walgreens from the left-turn lane.

“This lane should be for turning onto National Avenue only,” Michael asserts. “I have actually been held up from turning onto National through an entire green (left-turn) light sequence.”

He said he’s seen close calls in which someone stuck in the turn lane behind a car waiting for traffic to clear before turning into Walgreens pulls back into through traffic to drive around and then get back into the turn lane to get to the green turn light.

“I have also witnessed people trying to cram in front of the turning car to get in line to turn at the light and stop traffic in the inside through lane. This has happened many times during shipyard traffic.

“I think it’s about time the city installs pylons to keep drivers from turning there. It would be a lot safer if those that want to get to Walgreens or the latte place (Starbucks) turned left onto National Avenue and then enter through the upper access to the parking lot,” Michael said.

The out basket: I know that I hate seeing a left turner waiting there when I approach to make that turn, hoping the car is gone before the left-turn light turns green. Heavy oncoming traffic can make it a long wait.

I suspected the property owner had gotten some kind of assurance of that second access to the property before developing, but Gunnar Fridriksson of the city of Bremerton street engineers says the city could cut off the access from left turners.

“I have another citizen who contacts me on a fairly regular basis as well with this complaint and would like to see us install c-curb to stop folks from making the movement,” Gunnar said. “The city can use a traffic barrier to control/limit the access.  However, we would not do so unless there is a clear accident history here to support the use.  Installation of such a barrier does have maintenance issues, as well.”

He’s asked the state (Kitsap Way is a state highway at that point) for accident data to see if there is reason to act. “but I am rather doubtful there will be much,” Gunnar said.

Those perplexing Thru Traffic Keep Left signs

The in basket: Floyd Routh asked for clarification some time back of the Thru Traffic Keep Left signs on Highway 3 northbound in Gorst and southbound just past the Kitsap Way interchange.
He had been pulled over by a Bremerton police officer for driving in the left lane northbound out of Gorst without passing another car. He didn’t get a ticket.
“When I found out why I was pulled over, I was more argumentative than he deserved,” Floyd said, then he asked, “Could someone clarify the ‘THRU TRAFFIC KEEP LEFT’ signs that are on Highway 3?  RCW 46.61.100 states to keep right except when passing.  Which takes precedence?
 “The signs are white with black lettering,” he noted. “These are regulatory signs and must be followed until superseded by a subsequent/follow-up sign or are no longer applicable.”
The closest follow-up sign is after Austin Drive  and says ‘SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT’.  “Technically, drivers heading from Port Orchard to Bangor should stay in the left lane from Gorst until Chico,” Floyd argued. “This is what I was doing when I got pulled over.
“Apparently the signs are to an old color scheme and were meant for ‘information only’,” Floyd said. “Are drivers expected to know which black and white signs are real and which are to be ignored?”

The out basket: Trooper Russ Winger of the State Patrol here, said, “The merge to left signs on southbound SR-3 at SR-304, whether regulatory or non-regulatory in nature, take precedence over the “keep right except to pass” rule, posted or not. As for the ‘Thru Traffic Keep Left’ signs on northbound SR-3 in Gorst,  they are intended to allow for the smooth merging of traffic from the northbound SR-3 on ramp, just south of the train trestle in Gorst.

“Motorists should, after a reasonable distance north of the on-ramp northbound SR-3, move back into the right lane of travel and remain there if traveling slower than surrounding traffic or not actively passing traffic in the right lane.

Common sense should guide here as to ‘reasonable distance’ past the merge on-ramp, meaning that point on the highway where traffic is no longer actively merging from the ramp.

 “The RCW  46.61.100 rule for keeping right except to pass or “
‘Slower Traffic Keep Right’ on a two-lane divided highway is always in effect unless otherwise signed. The fact that there may be no sign stating ”Keep Right Except to Pass’ does not mean a motorist should stay in the left lane until they see this sign.
“Motorists will see this sign at various points along long stretches of roadway on limited access highways. These signs are a reminder to motorists of the lane travel law.

“I think your reader is incorrect in saying that ‘technically’ a motorist driving from Port Orchard to Bangor should stay in the left lane from Gorst until Chico. The highway is multi-lane and the rules of the road supersede unless otherwise posted.

 The signs are black and white. It is my opinion that they should be to warn motorists to keep left (they do not say ‘left lane only thru traffic’) at the interchange with SR-304. You are still ‘staying left’ even if you are in the right lane when coming to the merge at SR-304.
“It is somewhat confusing and perhaps caution type signs should be used  – or no signs at all,” Russ said..
“I have spoken to at least seven of my fellow troopers and not one said they have written a ticket for ‘going through’ while not keeping left. I have not issued such a citation in my 23-year career here in Kitsap County, nor can I remember even stopping a vehicle for this.”
Though I (the Road Warrior) have many times raised the question of why the black and white signs are not mandatory, as black and white signs are supposed to be, I have never gotten an answer.

Marine Drive lane markings demonstrate city problem

The in basket: Claudia Hunt writes, “The Kitsap Way and Marine Drive intersection is one I negotiate frequently. The lane markings have become obliterated so completely that twice in the recent past I’ve met someone turning left from Kitsap Way entering Marine Drive occupying the left turn lane I need to exit Marine Drive.

“In daylight hours, it’s possible to avoid collision but if it should happen at night the potential for an unhappy outcome increases,” she said.

The out basket: The missing lane markings are raised pavement markers, RPMs or “turtles,” rather than stripes. The entire two rows separating the turn lane from the northbound Marine Drive lane are gone, with the mastic that used to secure them still visible.

I often report that street departments restripe their streets, roads and highways each year, but that was before I noticed Bremerton has as many or more RPM lines as stripes.

I asked if they are all replaced annually, and what is planned for Marine Drive at Kitsap Way.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the Bremerton street engineers says where the city uses stripes, mostly for edge lines, they will be renewed shortly by Kitsap County paint crews under an agreement between the city and county.

“The city adopted RPMs for roadway delineation quite a few years ago,” he said. “This was done when we started looking at life-cycle costs for an annual painting program, or using RPMs that can easily last 7-10 years before needing replacement.

“Good example – the Manette Bridge.  The fog lines on the bridge need to be painted every year, but the centerline RPM’s are still there and in good shape. Or the Eastpark development and Schley Boulevard.  The City has not had to do any maintenance on either street since the RPM’s where installed several years ago.

“The main contributors to a shorter lifespan on the RPMs are snow plows and heavy traffic,.” Gunnar said. “Plows can literally scrape the RPMs right off of the pavement, which is why the city plows are equipped with a hard rubber edge rather than a straight steel blade.  And traffic, especially in a turning movement, can pop them up as well.

“In years past, we typically would go out with good weather and replace buttons about the same time as the county would go out and paint. The last few years have had us deferring maintenance, as the real issue here is resources.  We are trying to get caught up this year – same as getting the marked crosswalks freshened up a bit.” The street crew may already be replacing missing RPMs, he said.

Marine Drive’s missing RPMS at Kitsap Way are to be replaced this summer, he said

‘Sharrows’ are new wrinkle in bike lane identification

The in basket: Kitsap Way between Callow Avenue and Highway 3 in Bremerton has a variety of pavement markings for where bicyclists should ride, I noticed as I headed west on it.

There are short stretches of painted bike lanes, separated by stencil markings painted in the outside vehicle lane showing a bicycle with two chevrons over the cyclist’s head.

I’d seen them on Fauntleroy Avenue in Seattle after I got off the Southworth ferry the past couple of years. I wondered what the chevrons were meant to add to what clearly was a designation for where bicyclists should ride.

The out basket: The chevrons are evidently just an arbitrary design feature of what are called “sharrows,” an authorized marking under the 2009 federal Uniform Manual for Uniform Traffic Devices. It’s a play on words, I guess, melding arrows and share.

As a whole, the sharrows emphasize the need for cars and bikes to share that lane, as well as suggesting bicyclists use enough of the lane that they don’t get picked off by the driver’s side doors of parked cars whose drivers are getting out.

That’s an issue in Seattle, but there aren’t many places in Kitsap with bike lanes next to on-street parking.

“We striped areas where there was sufficient space for a bike lane,” said Gunnar Fridricksson of the Bremerton street engineers. “As you noticed, where there was not space, the sharrows were installed along with signage.”

They don’t alter the law regarding the relationship between motor vehicles and bikes (they must obey the same laws, generally). They just emphasize the Share the Road philosophy.

It occurred to me, though, that I didn’t know whether bike lanes alter that relationship – whether cars can drive in a bike lane. So I asked Trooper Russ Winger of the State Patrol here.

Russ said the term “sharrows’ was new to him, but he drove around looking at bike lanes and had this to say.

“Kitsap Way has several marked and signed bike lanes along it. The signs are black and white regulatory signs. They are also marked on the asphalt with white bike symbols.

“The roadway is of sufficient width to have a full travel lane and a bike lane. In these areas there is no reason for a vehicle to be in the bike lane. Most of the signs I observed said only ‘bike lane’ and depicted the bike symbol.

“At intersections with road ways and openings to businesses, the bike lane turned to skip lines, allowing a vehicle to cross. I would say that a vehicle traveling otherwise in the bike lane in this type of situation would be illegal, disobeying a restrictive sign to start. Infraction $124.

“This is a good example of local jurisdictions using their power to add restrictive signs and lanes to further restrict vehicle travel governed by RCW,” he said.

He also encouraged drivers to “pay more attention to the small road signs and lane markings. I learned a lot just by paying more close attention to them after you posed the question to me and I have driven and worked these roads for 24-plus years,” he said.