Tag Archives: Olympic College

Little Warren Avenue project an outgrowth of much bigger one

The in basket: I’ve been past the little pedestrian island the city of Bremerton added at 17th Street and Warren Avenue several times, and decided to ask what prompted it.

The out basket: I’m glad I did because it grew out of planning for a much bigger project that has begun. The eight  metal platforms that appeared in the eastern sidewalk of the Warren Avenue Bridge last week are for that project, the million-and-a-half dollar replacement of a major water line suspended from the bridge.

“With the water main replacement, we starting looking at traffic control plans and how to better accommodate pedestrians during construction, as we need to close the sidewalk on the east side temporarily,” said Gunnar Fridriksson, managing street engineer for the city.

“When we looked overall at the south end of the bridge, both sides were very lacking in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) facilities.

So we worked with Olympic College to put a small project together that extended the sidewalk on the west side and put new ADA ramps there, along with putting them in at 17th Street along with the pedestrian island.”

He turned me over to utilities engineer Bill Davis for information on the water main job, which also is discussed at http://www.ci.bremerton.wa.us/display.php?id=1201.  I had asked the purpose of the eight platforms.

“The scaffolds you see will allow the contractor to remove and replace the water main that hangs under the bridge sidewalk,” he said. “The scaffolds have wheels and will move between the light poles along the bridge sidewalk.

“They will set up their equipment to put the pipe in place under the north side of the bridge off of Lebo Boulevard. The work is being done by IMCO of Ferndale, and we anticipate completion in late April.”

The outside northbound lane will be closed at times for the work. The closures will be at night (7 p.m. and 6 a.m.) throughout the project, and during the day (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) for up to 20 separate periods, Bill said.

IMCO has permission to close both northbound lanes at night (7 p.m. to 6 a.m.), up to five times, he said, but indicates it probably won’t have to, he said. If they do, the southbound lanes will become two-way for that period.

Closure of the bridge’s east sidewalk has begun. The sidewalk on the other side is open and a detour under the bridge has been marked to direct pedestrians on the east side how to get there.

Bill said two other cross-Narrows water lines, on the Manette Bridge and under water, will provide sufficient water to the east side while the Warren Avenue Bridge line is out of service.



Why was Broadway in Bremerton made one-way southbound?

The in basket: When Olympic College made Broadway Avenue through its Bremerton campus one-way this year, I understood the reason – to keep students and other pedestrians safer from vehicle traffic as they cross Broadway.

But I wondered why they made it one way southbound. That’s still a viable detour option for drivers in a hurry when they come to a red light at 16th Street after crossing Warren Avenue Bridge.

Wouldn’t one way northbound keep more non-college traffic off campus, I asked.

The out basket: John Perlic of Parametrix, which did the traffic study for the new college parking lots, said they decided that requiring college-bound traffic coming from the north to go down to 13th Street to turn right to reach the parking lots would be less safe for those drivers than turning into the wider 16th Street entrance. More college-bound traffic comes from the north than the south, he said.

Further, he said, there was a surge of cut-through car traffic in the afternoon when Bremerton High School got out for the day, and southbound one-way on Broadway kept those cars off the college campus.

Eventually, the college, which obtained ownership of Broadway from the city of Bremerton a while back, may close the street altogether, he said.




Is there a plan to widen Bremerton’s Warren Avenue?

The in basket: Anyone who visited the Web site about the newest parking lots at Olympic College, the address for which I provided in a recent Road Warrior column about how shabby the landscaping looks, might have raised an eyebrow in reading this assertion on the site.

“During coordination efforts with the City of Bremerton and the Washington State Department of Transportation,” the Web site says, “we learned that there are plans to widen Warren Avenue. Since we did not want to waste resources constructing parking that would be demolished shortly, we planned for the widening and landscaped the impacted area with low ground covers.”

Such a plan for Warren Avenue was news to me. I asked the city and state about that.

The out basket: The college won’t be losing ground to any widening of Warren Avenue any time soon.

Gunnar Fridriksson of the city’s street engineers says it refers to the findings of a study called the SR 303 Bremerton to Silverdale Transportation Corridor Study, completed in 2002.

It analyzed a bunch of ways Wheaton Way and Warren Avenue, collectively known as SR or Highway 303, could keep up with future demand.

Among the proposals was widening the highway to six or seven lanes between 11th Street and Fairgrounds Road, including a $26 million widening of Warren Avenue Bridge. Alternatives included a new bridge over Port Washington Narrows in one place or another, and adding HOV lanes to the existing highway

“Remember,” Gunnar said, “this (was) shortly after Initiative 695 passed and quite a few projects were shelved/dropped. I cannot recall if either the city or WSDOT formally adopted (the study).”

Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways is concise on the question. “WSDOT has no plans to widen Warren Avenue,” she said.


Two Warren Avenue changes mystify readers

The in basket: Yvonne Dean and Bruce Waterbury have asked what the city of Bremerton has in mind when the projects along Warren Avenue at 11th, 13th and 16th streets are finished,

“Help,” Yvonne wrote. “Can you tell people just what is happening on 16th with the new curbing and on 13th with the new traffic light installed by Olympic College. Will we still be able to go up and around Warren off of 16th?  Are people going to be able to make left turns off of 13th onto Warren Avenue to go south?”

Bruce wrote, “I am wondering why there is now a stop sign in the middle of the road at the working stop lights at Wheaton Way and 16th Street. Where it is positioned, one has to stop at the first line for the lights, then move one car length ahead to stop at the stop sign line.  Is this just a cheap trick to ticket people again? Who is running the street department? Stevie Wonder?”

The out basket: The stop sign next to the new pedestrian islands at 16th Street will be gone soon, replaced by a Yield sign, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers.

“We have been delayed a bit with weather to be able to complete pavement markings and the final concrete work.  The island is for pedestrian refuge. The stop sign is a temporary measure to make folks aware that the northbound left turn from Warren has the right of way here.”

When the traffic signal at 13th is activated, left turns will be allowed from 13th Street onto Warren in either direction, but signs will prohibit left turns from Warren to 13th, also in either direction. “We will be removing the curb currently in place at the centerline of Warren,” Gunnar said.

In 2011, Olympic College acquired from the city that portion of Broadway Avenue that runs through the college, presumably to make leaving Warren at 16th and cutting through the college less attractive, and perhaps impossible. “The college is looking to make some revisions regarding circulation there, but are waiting for us to get the signal fully operational before proceeding,” he said.


New OC crosswalk and accesses bring concern

The in basket: Phil Olwell of Bremerton thinks one of the signs recently posted on Broadway Avenue in Bremerton along the expanded Olympic College parking lot between Broadway and Warren Avenue mis-characterizes its crosswalk.

“I think that first sign northbound shouldn’t say ‘raised crosswalk,’ it should say ‘depression in the road,’ ” Phil said.

Another reader who didn’t leave a name called the Sun’s assignment desk to suggest the new parking lot will worsen things for drivers on Warren.

“He said it seems like there are more entrances and exits, and that brings the potential for more congestion in that area,” assignment editor Kim Rubenstein said in passing it along to me.

The out basket: I suppose Phil has a point about the first of the crosswalks one encounters heading north from 13th Street. It actually is kind of a raised crosswalk on its leading edge and a dip in the road on its trailing edge. as it provides a flat place for pedestrians to walk on what otherwise would be a slope.

But I don’t think the sign does any harm. “Raised crosswalk” would get drivers to slow down, which is the goal and would minimize the bump from the depression.

There is one more driveway into and out of the new parking lot, but curbing installed on Warren Avenue’s centerline prevents left turns into and out of it. It seems to me one or more of the pre-existing accesses also got that curbing, making them all right-in-right-out-only accesses, which should minimize congestion of an accidental nature.

Next year when the city extends the right turn lane from Warren to westbound 11th Street, there should be significant easing of the backups on Warren, which certainly are getting worse almost weekly.