Tag Archives: Newberry

RR tracks keep Provost at Newberry from having flashing left signals.

The in basket: Eric Blair asks, “Do you know what criteria the county have used to decide which intersections will get flashing yellows for the turn lanes?
“Specifically, is there a reason these haven’t been placed at Provost and Newberry Hill? I can understand not putting them on Newberry here, but why can’t they be put on Provost for north/south drivers.

“About once a week I’ll come up in the turn lane on southbound Provost, just after the lights have gone green for straight-through traffic, but remained red for the turn lane. And the way the lights cycle, I have to sit through a whole cycle to get the green turn arrow. A flashing yellow here would be wonderful.”

The out basket: I often get nominations of intersections where yellow flashing left turn signals would eliminate a lot of waiting. Mostly they are on state highways, and the state’s regional traffic office doesn’t like them. Their official stance is that they won’t use them unless there is a significant upgrade at the intersection. But they passed on using them at the recently improved intersection the county upgraded for the state at Ridgetop Boulevard and the southbound Highway 303 off-ramp.

They don’t get much interest in them outside Kitsap County, one technician told me.

The flashing lefts we do see are all at county intersections, installed by the county. Cities here like them, but haven’t found the money for them

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works didn’t get into the criteria the county uses, but availability of money certainly is one.

At Newberry Hill and Provot roads, there is another reason. “That intersection is too close to the railroad crossing for a left-turn flashing yellow arrow,” Doug said. Too much to watch out for in addition to conflicting vehicles, I guess.

Height of new Silverdale roundabout middle is no accident

The in basket: Retired educator Dick Barich is the second person to contact me with the opinion that the “Welcome to Silverdale” monument in the middle of the new Silverdale roundabout at the base of Newberry Hill Road is too high.

It obscures the view of oncoming traffic already in the roundabout, he said, and unnecessarily reduces the reaction time for a driver approaching on Newberry Hill to decide whether to pull into the roundabout, he said.

The out basket: I had a feeling the county had considered this in the design of the roundabout, and it didn’t take long before Tina Nelson, Kitsap County engineering’s senior project manager, provided me with the rationale.

“A raised center island is a preferable feature in a roundabout,” Tina said. “This is so that drivers entering a roundabout are not focused on, or distracted by, cars opposite the roundabout which should not be a concern.

“The goal is to have the driver’s focus on pedestrians and the vehicles within the roundabout that they would have a conflict with. It is actually recommended that the sight distance for entering the roundabout be kept at the minimum required, again with a focus on getting drivers to slow down.

“The wall also provides a visual cue to drivers that they are approaching a non-standard intersection, as well as a break in headlight glare of oncoming vehicles,” Tina said.

She provided an online link to the state Department of Transportation’s design manual for roundabouts,

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/publications/manuals/fulltext/M22-01/1320.pdf, pages 1320-40, which will tell you a lot more about them than you ever wondered about. Or, she said, Google “roundabouts” and you’ll get even more.

Silverdale roundabout project worries Realtor

The in basket: Real estate agent Karen Ebersole saw the schematic for the upcoming Silverdale/Chico/Newberry roundabout in Silverdale in a recent Road Warrior column and said she had been meaning to ask “what their plans are for routing traffic during the seven-month construction project. The only other way into Silverdale is the northern route at the mall exit,” she said. “I can see this as being a real nightmare for everyone, especially those living along Chico Way.

“As a real estate professional, this traffic construction/routing will also significantly impact the way I conduct business.”

The out basket: Tina Nelson, senior program manager in Kitsap County Public Works, says, “It’s planned that the road will remain open during construction, though some closure of access to and from Chico Way will be permitted.

“There is a proposed phasing plan in the contract. How traffic is routed is ultimately determined by the contractor. A public meeting is planned prior to the start of construction. Information regarding that meeting will be published when it is available.

“Representatives from the county and the contractor will be on hand to detail what to expect during construction, and answer questions from area residents,” she said. “Details about the project are available online http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/crp_3645.htm, the project website.

Speed limit questioned on part of Seabeck Highway

The in basket: Tom Deno thinks the speed limit on Seabeck Highway should be reduced to 35 miles per hour around its intersection with Newberry Hill Road. He asks,”Why is it 50 mph? There are nine-foot lanes, no shoulders and no left-turn lanes. Newberry Hill Road has  wider lanes, wide shoulders and it is 45 mph.”

The out basket: Kitsap County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says there is no apparent need for such a change.

The speed limit on Seabeck Highway was set in 1976,” he said. “.Speed limits are normally reviewed when conditions along the road change significantly.

“Changes could include significant land development, roadway geometric changes, and high collision occurrence  among other considerations.

“Very little has changed along Seabeck Highway in this area,” Jeff said. “Along with little changes along the road, the collision history is minimal with about 3.5 collisions per year on Seabeck Highway between Newberry Hill and Holly.

“We continue to monitor all roads for indicators that warrant reviewing the established speed limits.”

Klahowya crosswalk to get different warning lights

The in basket: Tracy Loehrs asks, “Do they ever plan on adding a traffic light at the intersection of Klahowya Secondary School and Newberry Hill? It is very treacherous at beginning and ending school times, especially with all those new drivers.

The out basket: You can read a lengthy and detailed answer to that question in a Road Warrior column dated Oct. 22, 2009, at kitsapsun.com. The answer boils down to no, they don’t, the brief duration of the congestion there twice a day only on weekdays doesn’t warrant the expenditure.

But Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says they do have some changes coming to make it safer for pedestrians.

“We have ordered a couple of strobe-type flashers that will be at the crosswalk,” he said. “These lights will be pedestrian activated.  Also, we are going to reconfigure the existing flashers to flash only when pedestrian activated.

“The thinking is that motorists tend to ignore signs and even flashing signs if they see them all the time.  If the flashers are activated only when a pedestrian crosses there, it tends to reinforce the sign, then the sign and flasher are directly associated with an actual pedestrian and not an empty crosswalk.”

Reader says Newberry Hill Road wall leans outward slightly

The in basket: Kevin Albert of Central Kitsap came to suspect the easternmost part of the huge retaining wall along the north side of Newberry Hill Road uphill from Provost Road was leaning outward slightly.

He tells me he crawled up onto the top of the wall last spring and used a plumb bob to test his observation. He found that the bob was three to five inches from the base of the wall  in three different locations just above the base, he said.

It doesn’t look unstable, he said, but is it intentional?

The out basket: No, says Jon Brand, assistant director of public works for Kitsap County.

He says the earth there is held back by a soldier pile wall, in which steel H-beams are driven into the ground and timbers inserted into the beam slots. The concrete is a facade.

“It is not designed to lean toward the street, but does not present concerns about toppling,” Jon said. “We are investigating your reader’s observation. If our investigation confirms what he observed, we will have someone with specialized expertise assess the situation”.

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Newberry Hill Road at Klahowya school called perilous

The in basket: Traci Stevens of Seabeck writes, “Every day, I travel, as do many others, along Newberry Hill Road and past Klahowya (Secondary School’s) entrance to start and end the work day.

“This area, throughout the year, also includes bus loads of middle/high school children, teenage drivers, teachers, parents traveling to and leaving during the school day, as well as countless after school activities, a church with a sizable attendance, not to mention the residents of the neighborhood across the street from Klahowya’s entrance.  

“All of this activity in an area that handles significant amounts of traffic in either direction, turn lanes going into the school and into the neighborhood across the street, a merge lane and a 45 mph speed limit, which very few abide by. I’ve actually been passed in this area! 

“I also understand the consideration of the surrounding area (1,000 acres) to be possibly converted to a multi-use area known as Newberry Hill Heritage Park. 

“Today (Oct. 8), I learned of another significant traffic accident and I know of one additional accident that involved an acquaintance that totaled the car, I’m sure there have been countless others.

“I understand the county has been out to view the traffic flows; however, they come during the quiet times, after school is in session and most have begun the work day, which was a complete waste of time. What does it take to get authorities to pay attention to this area for consideration of a traffic signal?”

Traci’s friend, Holly Woomer, who was in that other accident that totaled her car when a speeding driver who said he was late for work didn’t see her in time, seconds Traci’s sentiments. She asks for a speed limit reduction if not a traffic signal. 

“Attempting to cross the crosswalk at the intersection is also very dangerous,” Holly said. “You basically have to be in the middle of the road before somebody will stop.” 

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County traffic engineer, says better lighting at the intersection is the most they’ll do for now.

“We recently reviewed this location because the crosswalk seemed a little difficult to see in the dark,” he said. “We are considering the feasibility of installing an additional street light at the intersection to improve visibility at the crosswalk. This is the only improvement being considered there at this time.

 “We do not plan to install a signal there any time in the foreseeable future,” he said. “It does not currently meet any of the (standards) used to determine if an intersection needs a  signal. 

“We will consider proposing an improvement project in next year’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), but I don’t think it will score as a high priority against the other county road projects on the TIP. TIP projects are ranked based on road preservation, safety, and capacity. 

“Compared to other intersections,” he said, “the accident history here would not merit many priority points, other than a couple for ‘potential’ safety points. “(Also) signals are rarely installed for safety reasons. (They) won’t always reduce accidents and sometimes actually increase some types of accidents, particularly rear–end collisions.

 “Cost-benefit is another issue to consider with limited funding available for improvements,” he said. “Signals are very expensive ($300,000 – $500,000) to install. Outside of the short congested times mentioned by your reader there have not been any problems reported. If (an) improvement is needed for a short time during the day the cost would be very high with a relatively low benefit.

 “Newberry Hill Road is an arterial road. The goal of an arterial road  is to safely move traffic from one place to another at higher speeds than local access or residential roads. 

“One of the main starting points for determining a posted speed limit,” h said, ” is the speed that captures a majority of the traffic, which we refer to as the 85 percentile speed for traffic on that road.” (Eighty-five percent of drivers who use the road in speed studies travel at or below that speed.)

“We also consider roadway geometrics, adjacent land use, collision records, pedestrian use, bicycles, and parking practices as part of setting speed limits.

“Current conditions on Newberry Hill Road show a very low accident rate and do not indicate a need to reduce the speed limit,” Jeff concluded.