Tag Archives: Lincoln

Speed limits on Poulsbo street puzzle driver

The in basket: Deborah Moran writes, “I have a question that has been bugging me for a while. Since they put in the roundabout on Lincoln at Gala Pines/Noll Road, the speed limit on one side is different from the other side.

“If I am traveling Lincoln into Poulsbo, it’s 35 mph from near Stottlemeyer until just before Pugh Road. However, if I am leaving Poulsbo via Lincoln, it is 25 mph until after I get past the roundabout. That is not logical to me and I am wondering if you can get an explanation about this.

“Both sides have sidewalks, the 25 mph side has a barrier between it and Lincoln. Both sides have some driveways, but more on the 35 mph side. It just makes no sense to me.

The out basket: Mike Lund, Poulsbo’s public works superintendent, replies, “The answer is really quite simple. The Poulsbo city limits is approximately 1000 feet south of the roundabout. The speed limit once you hit the city limits is 25 mph.

“The roundabout itself is actually within Kitsap County (and) the speed limit on Lincoln within the Kitsap County is 35 mph. However, the recommended speed limit for the roundabout is much lower (15 or 20 mph, I believe).

“Technically, the speed limit between the roundabout and city limits is 35 mph. We just did not post the sign between the roundabout and city limits.

“Coming into town, the speed limit changes within 1000 feet of the roundabout and we did not want to confuse drivers by having them speed up to 35 to just have to slow back down to the posted 25 mph.

“Leaving town is basically the same reason. We did not want drivers to speed up to just have to slow down for the roundabout 1000 feet away.”

You’ll often find this kind of discrepancy near city limit lines, like that on Sylvan Way on each side of Petersville Road in Bremerton, as the default speed limit in cities is 25 mph but in counties, it’s 35.

Should drought increase need for mowing on shoulders?

The in basket: Christina  Stewart asks, “Can anyone tell me if the county is out in their area actively mowing the sides of the road? With the fire danger off the charts, shouldn’t (they be) mowing down all the dry grass and weeds next to the county roads? I just drove in to work today up Columbia Street (Port Gamble-Suquamish Rd.) and then into Poulsbo on Lincoln. The grass is taller than most vehicles in some areas. Yesterday I was in the Kingston area, same issue. We are creating our own potential safety problem! The county should be mowing all day everyday.”

The out basket: Actually, mowing can start grass fires as well as prevent them, and leave cut grass slightly more likely to burn,.

Practices vary among jurisdictions, but since Christina asks about the North Kitsap area, I’ve limited my inquiries to Kitsap County, the state and Poulsbo.

I asked their normal practices and whether the heat and lack of rain has changed them this year.

Jacques Dean, road superintendent for the county, said on July 7″, “We have not made any changes to our vegetation management program. Our mower in the north end has been unavailable due to mechanical problems, which has put us behind schedule there.  We were waiting for parts to make repairs. It is back in operation now. We do mow all day, every day during the growing season when equipment is available.

 

“Our vegetation mowers operate five days a week over eight months per year (vegetation is generally dormant November through February).  With this approach we have been able to mow 1,900 shoulder miles of roadway each year, or approximately 950 centerline miles. We are able to mow most, if not all of our roadways at least once per year.  It should also be noted that our crews apply vegetation herbicides to approximately 840 shoulder miles of roadway each year, which assists in keeping vegetation in check.

 

Logistically, and realistically, we cannot address all of our roadways simultaneously, specifically during the peak of the growing season.  We have to take a systematic approach to our vegetation management program, considering the overall scope of work, available schedule, resource availability, roadway level of service, types of vegetation, geographic location/proximity, etc.  Our crews are working hard to ensure that our roadways are safe, in good condition, and aesthetically pleasing.  They are doing the best possible job.”

Claudia Bingham Baker, state highway spokesman here, said, “When conditions get extremely dry we stop most mowing activities. This link http://wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2015/07/working-to-prevent-roadside-brush-fires.html talks about our efforts to reduce the risk of fires.”

That site says, in part, “Every year, we do most of our mowing in early spring or late fall to avoid the hot, dry summer season. We also leave bare ground barriers alongside roadways in many cases to provide extra protection against sparks and other fire risks. This year is no different.

“That said, some of our maintenance work can’t wait, often because to do so would comprise motorist safety. And work like mowing, grinding or welding carry some inherent risks of sparks that could lead to a fire.

That’s why whenever we complete maintenance work during the dry season we take several precautions. That includes having water and tools on site to immediately extinguish any sparks or fires that start due to our work.

We also limit our maintenance work during the hottest part of the day. Work is done from 8 p.m. to 1 p.m., when it’s more humid and less likely for a fire to start. If weather conditions are particularly severe, everything except emergency work is halted.”

Dan Wilson, head of Poulsbo Public Works, says he isn’t sure that Christina got into the city, but if she did, he thinks she would have found the city’s shoulders well tended by their mostly hand-done streetside brush clearing.

Poulsbo’s Lincoln Avenue project trudging toward completion

The in basket: Larry Bartholomew of Poulsbo wonders when work on Lincoln Avenue will be finished.

In an Oct. 29 e-mail he wrote, “Attached is an April 2014 letter from the City of Poulsbo regarding a project affecting a two-block area on either side of the intersection of Pugh Road and Lincoln Road.

“As you can see from the letter, this project is due to be completed by the end of October. There are two days left in October and it’s clear there is far more than two days’ worth of work to be done.  In fact, given the pace of the work done so far, it looks like it will be months, rather than days, before the work will be completed.

“I understand that paving requires a minimum temperature, and we are quickly approaching a period of consistent lower temperatures.  My guess is that paving may soon become problematic if temperature is an issue.”

He also was upset by the configuration of Lincoln and Pugh during the work. “The corner of the curbing creates a restriction of space for those entering Pugh from Lincoln, or vice versa, that appears barely large enough for two cars to pass in opposite directions. This will likely require those turning onto Pugh from Lincoln to come to almost a complete stop when there is a car waiting to turn onto Lincoln from Pugh.”

“I’m sure my neighbors and others who traverse Pugh and Lincoln roads would like to know when this project in now expected to be complete and what the thinking was that led to the significant narrowing of the entrance onto Pugh Road.”

The out basket: City Engineer Andrzej Kasiniak told me on Nov. 10 that they hoped to have the paving done by Thanksgiving, but there remains some to do. As Larry predicted, the weather is a growing impediment.

Michael Lund, chief inspector on the project provided an update this week.

“The Lincoln Road project is definitely behind schedule,” he said. “There were some unknown underground utilities that hampered the project early on and now the weather delays are definitely a concern.

“The contractor is Pacific Coast General from Port Orchard. They were able to get the first lift of asphalt on the road prior to Thanksgiving. The plan was to do some more paving at the Pugh intersection today and then start on the pervious bike lanes. The extreme cold temps have pushed that off a day or so but they are very hopeful to get one lift of asphalt on everything by the end of this week.”

“The concrete crews will start pouring sidewalk later this week, as well.

“The lighting crews are scheduled to install the rest of the street lights later this week and into next week. This will make it a lot nicer during the evening hours traveling the roadway.

“I received a revised schedule from the contractor today and they are trying to be completed before Christmas.

“There is  still a lot of work to do and we are trying to get it done as soon as possible.”

He said finished paving and striping will make the turn at Pugh less of a problem.

“The intersection meets all safety standards and at the tightest point has 10-foot-wide lanes,” Mike said.. “However, with the road only being gravel at this time, (drivers) tend to shy away from the curb and encroach into the center of the lanes more than they will once the final paving is completed.

“With striping, it will help the (drivers) to understand where their lane is and allow for oncoming traffic to pass by.

“Part of the problem with this intersection is we do not have the right of way to make a wider intersection and still have pedestrian connectivity with the sidewalk. The existing roadway prior to construction pinched down to about 20 feet as well within the right of way. (But) the traveling public would turn, drive and park on the private property. This gave the illusion that there was more roadway out there than actually legally was.

“If any of the traveling public has concerns or comments  they can email me at mlund@cityofpoulsbo.com.”

Lincoln Pugh intersection shown below

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.”

Poulsbo roundabout is step #1 in Noll Way redo

 

The in basket: I was surprised to read recently in this paper that a roundabout project in Poulsbo was “shovel-ready” and will receive a half-million dollars in federal stimulus money that would get it done this year. 

The story said the money had been granted to Kitsap County, but there was no sign of the project – at Lincoln and Noll roads and Gala Way – in the county’s six-year road plan. I asked where the roundabout came from. 

The out basket: The designation Kitsap County was generic, said Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, and included cities, including Poulsbo, which has the lead on the roundabout. The county itself got $2 million for repaving roads that need it.

Andrzej Kasiniak, Poulsbo’s public works director, says the roundabout is on the city’s six-year road plan, set for three years in the future before the federal money became available. All the right of way is city owned, so work can begin this year.

It will become the first construction to accomplish what the Noll Road Corridor Study, adopted by the city in 2008, recommends.

Noll Road now meanders from Highway 305 to Lincoln Road. The corridor study calls for various improvements, the roundabout included, as money becomes available.

The most dramatic part of the plan calls for eventually rerouting Noll Road traffic to Johnson Way, the next Highway 305 intersection to the north. The rerouting is to begin at the 90-degree turn Noll makes near Bjorgen Creek. Noll from there to its existing intersection with the highway would become a lesser street.  

It’s unknown when that phase may be accomplished, but it would mean a traffic signal that otherwise would have gone in on Highway 305 at Noll will instead by put at Johnson Way.

Details of the Noll Road Corridor Study can be seen online at www.cityofpoulsbo.com/publicworks/publicworks_eng_projects.htm