Tag Archives: left-turn lane

Why not a three-way stop on McWilliams & Old Military?

The in basket: Jowdy Randall thinks a Kitsap County project is a waste of money.

“I have noticed the survey markings of turn lanes being installed at the intersection of Old Military and McWilliams roads,” Jowdy said. “This (will) entail the buying of private property, and extensive construction.

“A much simpler and less costly answer would be to install two more stop signs to go with the one already (there). This (would) make the whole intersection much safer. The turn lanes and purchase of land seem like such a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The out basket: Dick Dadisman , the county’s project manager, says, “The McWilliams Road / Old Military Road  intersection improvement project is a safety improvement scheduled for construction this spring/summer.  The project constructs intersection and channelization improvements designed to alleviate congestion, improve operational efficiency and improve safety for the traveling public.

“A detailed traffic study was prepared by the Kitsap County Traffic Division prior to commencing design.  This study evaluated various improvement alternatives, including the addition of stop signs.

“(It) reviewed the current traffic conditions, roadway operational characteristics and collision history, concluding with the best solution for improved safety being to construct a left-turn lane on eastbound McWilliams Road at the intersection.  In addition, this project also widens the roadway to increase bicycle safety and construct sidewalks with handicap ramps for improved pedestrian safety.”

Making it a multi-way stop-controlled intersection would decrease the efficiencies of this intersection, he said. “The two roads are vastly different with the number of daily vehicle trips on NE McWilliams Road (an arterial) over twice as large as the trips on Old Military Road NE (a collector).  Arterial roads are designed to move traffic, and making this a multi-way stop controlled intersection will vastly decrease the level of service on NE McWilliams Road.”


Ramsey Road gets its left-turn lane from Sedgwick

The in basket: I noticed that men and equipment have widened Sedgwick Road at and on either side of Ramsey Road in South Kitsap. It has the look of the first step in putting in a left-turn lane.

Property owners in that area couldn’t persuade the state to make a turn lane part of the safety project it did on Sedgwick a few years ago. I asked the state if that’s what’s happening now.

The out basket: Yes, but not on the state’s dime. The turn lane was made a condition of the approval of the big new fitness center on the corner of Sedgwick and Ramsey, says Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard’s public works director.  Ramsey also has been widened substantially to make room for what appears to be a right turn lane onto westbound Sedgwick.

Other road work is planned in that area, Mark said, a condition of the approval of a housing development near Blueberry Road’s intersection with Ramsey. There are improvements planned for both Ramsey Road and Blueberry Road, he said, for both cars and pedestrians. They will include a left-turn lane onto Blueberry from Bethel Avenue, he said.

Bucklin-Randall left turn gets blocked

The in basket: Eric Blair says using the eastbound Bucklin Hill Road left-turn lane to reach Randall Way is sometimes made difficult by would-be left-turners going the other way with one too many options for reaching the adjacent shopping center.

“I routinely travel east, coming down Bucklin Hill, and want to turn left onto Randall. I am frequently blocked from getting into the left-turn lane, because someone coming west on Bucklin has entered the turn lane, across double yellow lines, so that they can turn left into the parking lot for Kitsap Credit Union. Has the county considered blocking this to force traffic to travel a bit further and turn left into the next entrance?”

He envisions something like what the county did on Myhre Road at the access road running down between Pet Smart and Ashley Furniture – a row of pylons to prevent left turns there.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says, “We recently completed a traffic study on that segment of Bucklin Hill Road. The study looked at congestion and other aspects of traffic, bicycle and pedestrian travel between Anderson Hill Road and Silverdale Way.

“One of the problems identified was the left-turn lane, the two-way left-turn lane, and the business approaches your reader mentions.  The study recommended traffic controls at those accesses.

“This was also a topic of keen interest with the Central Kitsap Community Council when we discussed this corridor with them.

“We are contacting business owners in this area and discussing potential impacts these changes will have on their businesses. Based on the data we collect, we will identify and consider potential solutions that can meet the needs of the business and motorists who use that corridor. “

Entering a left turn lane before the lines say you can

The in basket: I came across a four-year-old inquiry from Linda G, that read, “This afternoon, I entered onto Caldart in Poulsbo behind a North Kitsap school bus. The bus signaled an intention to turn left at Lincoln, and moved across the double yellow line before the left turn pocket.

“I wanted to turn left onto Lincoln  also, but waited to move left until the pocket entrance was accessible. Was the bus driver OK to move left before the left turn pocket opening?

“There is a space shaped by the double yellow lines that I have always believed was not for drivers, but was a safety barrier of sorts. What’s the law?”

I dredge up this old question, which I didn’t answer then, because it meshes somewhat with this recent one from Tom Baker of Bremerton about the eastbound left turn lane on Werner Road at National Avenue:

“The striped turn pocket is not long enough to hold the vehicles that can stack up,” he said. “The choices are to sit in the center area ahead of the turn pocket, or to extend out into the through lane, Since the center area ahead of the turn pocket is wide enough, that is the most popular choice.

“What’s legal here and had Kitsap County considered extending the turn pocket?”

The out basket: Since the old inquiry came from Poulsbo, I went to that city’s police chief, Al Townsend, for an answer.

I made a distinction between whether this driver behavior does or doesn’t result in a collision.

“It technically is illegal to cross the double yellow line,” Al said. “However, like all traffic issues, officers need to use discretion and good judgment, much like drivers.

“If the driver’s intent is just to line up into the turn lane early, either because it’s too short to hold all of the cars that will turn, or that the vehicle is too large to negotiate the small lane opening after the double yellows, or the traffic going straight is backed up past the open turn lane, and the driver can safely enter the turn lane early (as long as they don’t cross over the second double yellow that protects the traffic lane of the opposite direction), then they should be fine.

“When a driver can mitigate his/her intent for this turn lane and do so in a safe and prudent manner, I don’t see any problem with it, keeping in mind that the letter of the law is that you can’t cross over the double yellow line.

“What would likely determine whether someone was ticketed for that would be whether they did so safely (i.e. not when other cars are coming at them in the opposite direction, did so slowly, etc.)

“On the collision portion, if someone does it within the lines, the person who goes outside of that would likely be listed as the major contributing factor to the crash. Hence the reason they should do so slowly and with caution for other drivers.”

State Trooper Russ Winger agreed with Al.

As regards the Werner Road site Tom asks about, Deputy Sheriff Scott Wilson says, “We recognize that, in many instances, the left turn pocket is not long enough to hold all vehicles where the driver wishes to make a left turn onto a perpendicular roadway. This is especially noticeable during work commute periods and there are many intersections in the county with this same situation. The demand has exceeded the engineering design.

“Pulling into the center lane and then waiting in the area before the turn pocket opening is not a violation that I can find in the RCW,” Scott concluded.

Lastly county Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea said about National and Werner (actually it may have become Loxie Eagans Boulevard at that point), “We will take a look at lengthening the turn lane. This is a difficult location to lengthen the lane because we are restricted from widening the road by curb, gutter, and sidewalk on both sides of the roadway; our pavement width is not adjustable.

“We will have to ensure that we have enough taper length for the speed and enough lane width for two cars to pass without sideswiping. These two parameters may limit or restrict how much lengthening of the turn lane we can do.”

Left-turn lane, street light requested at fatal accident site

The in basket: Roy Lundeen wrote to say he thinks the Holly Road/Wildcat Lake Road intersection, scene of a fatal accident involving a left turner last year, needs a left-turn lane and better lighting.

“If you are turning left from Holly Road onto Wildcat Lake Road (Lakeview Ave) and there is oncoming traffic,”  he said, “while you wait, the traffic you are holding up tends to pass you on the right shoulder, oft times not slowing down much.

“This is particularly noticeable at quitting time in the afternoon,” he said. “Since this turn is at the nearly 90-degree bend in Holly Road, the reduced sight distance/reaction time only increases the probability of a serious accident,” he said. “I feel like I have a bulls-eye target painted on my back.”

As for a street light, he said, “During our dark, drizzly, foggy winter nights it is very difficult to see where Wildcat Road actually is.  If the resident who lives near that intersection has his yard light on, that is very helpful, but it is not his responsibility to light up this intersection.”

The out basket: Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “This intersection is one of about 20 around the county that we expect to receive illumination as part of a federal safety grant issued in 2009 known as High Risk Rural Road Program funds. We are in the process of finalizing the locations and designs, and hope to start construction within the next six months.”

Bill Edwards, transportation operations engineer for the county, handled the other part of Roy’s suggestion, saying that.the intersection is under study, but there are no immediate plans to revise it. There is nothing yet on the county’s road plan for the next six years scheduling work there.

“We are doing further engineering studies to determine if left-turn channelization is warranted at the intersection,” he said. “That study is scheduled to be complete in early October. If improvements are warranted, we will consider it in our next round of proposals in early 2011. We have already completed scoring projects for 2010.”

So will last year’s death increase the chances for a left-turn lane there? Jeff Shea, county traffic engineer gets that one.

“We certainly consider all reported accidents when evaluating intersection concerns,” he said. “A fatal collision doesn’t automatically trigger a mitigation project. Some fatal accidents involve driver error which we cannot always engineer a fix for.

“In this case, the (criteria) for a left turn lane are the number of turning vehicles versus the total traffic and opposing traffic. Once the project meets the (criteria), it competes for funding with the other proposed transportation improvement projects. The recent fatality there, as well as the complete accident history, is one of the many factors considered to determine which projects get funded each year.”