The in basket: Willadean Howell has a couple of suggestions for making Washington Avenue in Bremerton more driver friendly.
She finds the left turn for those coming off the new Manette Bridge to be uncomfortably tight due to the center barrier that divides the two directions of travel on Washington. If the end of the barrier at the bridge access were cut back a short distance, the turn would a lot easier, she said.
She also echoed a suggestion I got year or so ago about making the southbound outside lane of Washington at Sixth Street a right-turn-only lane. Most drivers make that turn and the inside lane is sufficient to handle those wanting to go straight ahead, she argued. As it is now, drivers who otherwise could make a right on red and be on their way are trapped behind any driver who wants to go straight and must wait for a green light.
When another reader made the same right-turn-only suggestion, city engineers of the time said they wouldn’t what to make such a change piece-meal but would consider it as part of a larger review of downtown traffic flows.
The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson, the city street engineer who answers my questions these days, says he agrees with his predecessors about the right turn.
“(There are a) couple of issues here,” he said, “one of which
would be reconfiguring the existing signal and its cabinet – and the costs associated therewith.”
“Further, extending Washington’s widened sidewalk, currently south of Fifth Street, up
to Sixth Street may be affected by such a change and must be considered.”
“I do believe this is an excellent issue to be addressed with a downtown circulation study,” Gunnar added. “I will put a note into the file with your e-mail for when we do pick that back up.”
As for the barrier intruding on left turns, there are no plans to chop it back, he said. The state tested the turn with a Kitsap Transit bus and a tractor-trailer and “were able to have both of them make the movement,” he said.
Of course, state officials said they used a bus in designing the new east-end Manette roundabout and they wound up enlarging it after buses actually started using it.