Tag Archives: pedestrian

Pedestrians imperiled at 11th & Kitsap Way

The in basket: Nancy Danaher wrote in June 16 to say, “A couple of weeks ago while traveling south on Kitsap Way at about 7 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m., we nearly witnessed a horrific accident.

“When a person needs to cross Kitsap Way at 11th Street in Bremerton, a pedestrian light gives them the OK and the two right lanes heading south get the red light.

Now, if you are coming around that curve at too high a speed or not paying attention at all, you are believing you have a green light to cruise through. Not the case when someone needs to cross the street.  Two times that same evening someone was almost hit by vehicles because they did not stop at the red light.

“Yesterday afternoon it happened again,” Nancy said. “I was headed northwest on Kitsap Way (at) the red light. A gal was crossing and had the pedestrian light and around the corner comes a large pickup truck and barrels through what to him would have been a red light!.  Thank goodness the girl was still walking in our two lanes.

“How can vehicles be forewarned that the light around the curve is RED?” Nancy asked.

The out basket: I heard back from both Tom Knuckey and Jerry Hauth of Bremerton’s street engineers about this and it turns out that intersection is due some pedestrians improvements, part of a grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council

Tom said, “This intersection is included in a Bremerton Crosswalk Improvements project, scheduled for design this year, and construction in 2016,  We’re currently coordinating with a consultant for the design, and have brought this concern to their attention as they develop a  list of improvements to be constructed.

“Although there have been no accidents involving pedestrians at this location, and although the sight distance exceeds (federal) minimums, we are still concerned about it, as Nancy is.  We will look at all options, including additional advance warning signage.

“In the meantime, we have requested additional enforcement by our police department. We also get feedback from our officers that helps us with designing the safety improvements.  Nancy’s input was very much appreciated and will also become part of the project file.

Jerry, successor to Gunnar Fridriksson, who left the city to go to work for Clark County this spring, adds, “I don’t know what may come of this design process. But we can certainly consider (or include) some advanced warning if it is needed.

“I have some reservations about the benefit of an advanced warning on this site,” he said. “As I drive through it, at the speed limit, it appears to me that there is adequate time to come to a controlled stop (as needed). Also, as I understand the situation that prompted this concern, a truck had run a red light. Bad things can happen when people run red lights and I question if a warning would have changed any of that.”



How should a bicyclist yield to a pedestrian?

The in basket: Laraine Gaulke said she was walking on the rather narrow sidewalk on Wheaton Way across from Albertson’s recently and two bicyclists in full riding gear approached her on the sidewalk. Though they were riding single file, the sidewalk was narrow enough she stepped off to let them pass, she said.

She wondered why the bikes weren’t in the street and whether it was legal for them to be on the sidewalk. I told he it was legal, but the law requires a bicyclist to yield to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or crosswalk.

She then said, “To me (that) means you stop and put your foot down on the ground and actually wait for me to pass.” I told her I’d ask what the police think of that definition.

The out basket: Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said it would depend on the situation. “Yield would be giving the right of way to the pedestrian. If they can do it by moving over, great. if not, they may need to dismount and allow the pedestrian to pass.” As a matter of courtesy and avoiding liability, I would think that slowing  down if you wish to stay mounted would be essential.

How soon to stop for a pedestrian in a roundabout

The in basket: After writing recently about peril to pedestrians at the Manette Bridge roundabout in Bremerton, it occurred to me that I hadn’t addressed an issue of interest to motorists.

How soon must a driver stop for a person in a roundabout crosswalk?

The question occurred to me when I saw a pedestrian crossing the large Highway 166 roundabout at what used to be called the Hi-Joy Y in Port Orchard. I was in the lane on the other side of the “refuge island” midway that provides walkers a relatively safe place to wait for a break in traffic. He was a long way from my lane and stopping for him then would have caused a lengthy delay for me and all traffic behind me. I didn’t stop.

The law requires a driver to stop for a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, within one lane of his own. On a two-lane street, stopping is required when the walker enters the street on either side. On a three-lane street, when the walker enters the center lane. On a street with four or more lanes, when the walker enters the lane next to yours.

But what about in a roundabout?

The out basket: There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer to this. As a practical, if not a legal, matter, the size of the roundabout could make the difference.

State Trooper Russ Winger says, “I do not have a definitive answer to this question. I personally think the driver should stop and let the pedestrian cross when they are ready to enter or already in the opposite lane. This ‘refuge island’ is nothing more than a few feet of asphalt and puts a person very near a moving vehicle if the vehicle does not stop.

“I think the roundabout in Manette is a unique example of roundabouts,” he said, “due to the fact that it – at times – has a high volume of pedestrian traffic and (vehicle) traffic at the same time. It is also a very small roundabout with a short radius and the sight distances are not great.

“I have driven in it many times and it seems trickier than most. You have to be alert to traffic and pedestrians at all times. It can be a very busy intersection and I think pedestrian safety is the more important aspect.”

But he conceded he might feel otherwise with a larger roundabout with more room for error. “Rather a gray area with just the one RCW to deal with it,” he said.

As a guide, I might rely on what Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police told me last year about the rules at the Warren Avenue center barrier between Burwell and Sixth Street.. He said motorist should stop for a pedestrian there when the pedestrian is in the gap in the barrier about to enter your lane.

That gap would be comparable to the refuge island in a roundabout.

Pedestrians buttons at 11th and Warren questioned

The in basket: Gary Reed writes with a question about the revamped intersection of 11th Street and Warren Avenue in Bremerton.

“Why are the “‘Push to Cross’ buttons placed so close to the curb? Seems like if a wheelchair user didn’t set the chairs brakes correctly before trying to use the buttons, they could roll out into traffic. Or, if a person had a couple of rambunctious children so close to the curb, they could easily fall into traffic.

“Why weren’t the buttons located on the light poles, away from the traffic?  I have never seen the lights change (anywhere) so fast a person couldn’t get to the curb from the light pole before the lights changed.”

The out basket: As with most things street engineers do, they must locate pedestrians signal buttons in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a federal publication.

Gunnar Fridriksson, Bremerton’s managing street engineer, sent me the relevant parts of that manual.

“The provisions in this section,” it says, “place pedestrian pushbuttons within easy reach of pedestrians who are intending to cross each crosswalk and make it obvious which pushbutton is associated with each crosswalk.

“If pedestrian pushbuttons are used, they should be capable of easy activation and conveniently located near each end of the crosswalks. Pedestrian pushbuttons should be located to meet all of the following criteria:

A.    Unobstructed and adjacent to a level all-weather surface to provide access from a wheelchair;

B.    Where there is an all-weather surface, a wheelchair accessible route from the pushbutton to the ramp;

C.    Between the edge of the crosswalk line (extended) farthest from the center of the intersection and the side of a curb ramp (if present), but not greater than 5 feet from said crosswalk line;

D.   Between 1.5 and 6 feet from the edge of the curb, shoulder, or pavement;

E.    With the face of the pushbutton parallel to the crosswalk to be used; and

F.    At a mounting height of approximately 3.5 feet, but no more than 4 feet, above the sidewalk.”

I haven’t measured the buttons’ locations relative to the curb and crosswalk, but must assume they comply with these rules, including C., whatever it means.

Rules are opposite for bikes and pedestrians on roadways

The in basket: Irene Olsen asks, “When walking along a road as a pedestrian, should you walk with the traffic flow or facing the oncoming traffic? And how about if you are on a bicycle?”

The out basket: This is a quick and easy one. State law requires pedestrians to walk toward oncoming traffic, so they can see an approaching danger.

The opposite is true of bicycles, which state law requires be ridden with traffic. While one might argue, as I once did, that bicyclists need to see approaching danger as much as pedestrians, the following from bicyclinginfo,org cites author Ken Kifer’s explanation as to why I was wrong.

“Turning motorists are not looking where wrong-way riders are riding, the motorist and bicyclist have limited time and little space in which to react to each others’ presence, the closing speed of a bicyclist and motorist riding head on into each other is higher than if the bicyclist and motorist were traveling in the same direction and riding with traffic decreases the number of vehicles passing you, and doesn’t bring you into conflict with bicyclists who are riding the right way with traffic.”

Countdown pedestrian lights a sometimes thing at Kitsap & Adele

The in basket: Ian MacKenzie writes, “I have a question regarding signal lights at the intersection of Kitsap Way and Marine Drive/Adele Avenue (in Bremerton). As we all know, this is one of the red-light camera intersections.

“Specifically,” he wrote, “I am wondering about the walk/don’t walk signs (at) the intersection. I have noticed at times the orange Don’t Walk’ sign operates as a countdown timer letting both pedestrians and drivers know when the light is going to change. This is an improvement that probably reduces red light running far more than cameras but that is a different topic all together.

“Late at night and early in the morning when the signals are prioritized green for Kitsap Way, the Don’t Walk signs are solid orange at all times and when a vehicle approaches from either Marine Drive or Adele Avenue, the light on Kitsap changes immediately without any warning.

“Why can’t these countdown timers be in effect 24 hours a day. Do they require more energy to operate? All lights throughout downtown Seattle operate in this manner.”

The out basket: Jeff Collins of the city of Bremerton signal shop says the difference lies in whether the traffic lights in the Kitsap Way corridor are coordinated with one another at any given light change.

“During coordination, the pedestrian displays change to ‘walk’ at the start of green on the main street.

“There are two reasons we do this.

“First, it gives pedestrians more time to cross with walk displayed. Typically, the walk signal only comes up at the start of green and only stays on for the walk time and if they are not there to push the button before the light turns green, they will have to wait until the next green.

By having them come up with coordination, we can give the pedestrians more ‘walk’ time.

“Second, it gives the traffic technician an indication of where the signal is in coordination as we drive through the corridor.”

When the corridor is not running in coordination, the pedestrian signs light only when a pedestrian actually pushed the button to cross, which isn’t very often in the wee hours.

“The countdown indication works 24 hours a day but it will only display immediately after a walk display,” Jeff said. “At night, when the walk displays are not coming on automatically with coordination, the countdown display will only come on after a pedestrian presses the button and the ‘walk’ comes on.”

Only the Adele Avenue side of the intersection has the countdown lights, which eliminate much of the uncertainty pedestrians have about how much time they have to cross, and evidently are also a visual cue to drivers as to when the light will turn to red.

“The countdown signal is the new standard required by the federal Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices and when we have a failure we are replacing the displays in pairs,” Jeff said.

“Due to the cost, we can’t replace them all at once without some external funding,” he said.”

Long wait at Kitsap Way signal corrected


The in basket: Nancy Danaher wrote Aug. 21 to say, “Sunday morning shortly before 8 a.m.  my husband and I were at the corner of Kitsap Way, the west end, and the interchange of Highway 3. We were headed towards Bremerton.

“The traffic light was red. There was only ONE other car behind us.  No other cars were situated at any of the lights and yet we waited and waited  for a green light.

“What gives that these lights can’t be triggered by the traffic on hand?  I did not run the red light,but I did make a safe decision to get through this interchange. When I was safely back on Kitsap Way and looked in the rear view mirror, the singular other car was still at the red light.

“Any other complaints about this particular light?”

The out basket: No other complaints to me, although my wife and I sat at the end of the southbound off-ramp for quite a while one night several weeks ago, waiting for a green light.

There was a problem with the signal, says Jeff Collins, electrical technician in the city of Bremerton signal shop. It was programmed in such a way that it always thought a pedestrian had pushed the button to activate the walk light to cross Kitsap Way. Being a wide street, that provided a lot of time for the phantom pedestrian, and a long wait for any conflicting auto traffic.

He has removed that condition from the signal’s program so what happened to Nancy and her husband won’t occur, he said.

Nancy’s complaint is what called it to his attention, he said.

Pedestrians and unmarked crosswalks

The in basket: Most drivers know they can be ticketed for not stopping to allow a pedestrian waiting to cross the street at a crosswalk. And I learned years ago that pedestrians have the right of way at any intersection, even where no crosswalk is painted on the pavement. Such areas are called unmarked crosswalks.

But I’d never learned if the compunction to stop for a pedestrian poised to step out onto the road or street at an intersection extends to unmarked crosswalks.

So I asked Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police.

The out basket: The answer is that the rules for yielding to pedestrians are the same at marked and unmarked crosswalks, so a driver who sees a pedestrian on the curb, sidewalk or shoulder about to cross can be cited for not stopping.

Pete sent along a copy of the law on this, which reads in part: “The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked

or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one

lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or

onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section, ‘half of the

roadway’ means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of

travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.”

Like a distressing number of our state’s traffic laws, this one leaves room for confusion by addressing only “lanes,” and saying nothing about pedestrians on the shoulder. Pete says it does include the shoulder or sidewalk.

As a personal observation, when I’m a pedestrian, I try not to seem too intent on crossing a street until I have a good space between cars. I can see behind the driver in the approaching vehicle and often would much rather wait for a break in traffic that I can see coming than force the closest driver to stop for me. It makes for a more leisurely and, I think, safer crossing. But the law doesn’t recognize that reality.



New Silverdale eateries create pedestrian worries

The in basket: Cathy Briggs, one of my classmates at the AARP senior driving safety course I took in

April, said she has seen a dangerous situation on Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale where Hop Jacks restaurant and Taco Time recently opened.

The parking lot for Hop Jacks fills up and people have been parking on the other side of Bucklin Hill Road and scurrying across it to the new restaurant – some with little kids, she said. One other person in the class said he’d seen it too. There is no crosswalk there. Both thought it has car-pedestrian accident written all over it.

I asked Kitsap County Public Works and Community Development if they see it as a problem.

The out basket: A Community Development employee said the Sandpiper restaurant previously on that site had 59 parking spaces and the county code calls for only 53. “There are 65 off-street parking spaces on the commercial site (now), exceeding the minimum requirements,” the person said.

“I assume that the demand for parking will relax once the novelty of the new restaurant wears off,” the person continued. “The parking standards for restaurants are an estimate for parking demand and have been tested over time.  Sometimes the standard requires too much parking while there is not enough for popular establishments.”

Putting a crosswalk there might make the situation worse, as it conveys a sense of protection that may not really exist. County public works officials advocate using one or the two closest existing crosswalks, both at a traffic signal, which actually does provide protection, though I’ll be surprised if many people will be willing to walk that far.

“There are safer places to cross near there,” said Transportation Engineer Jeff Shea. “Pedestrians should use the marked crosswalks at Silverdale Way/Bucklin Hill or at the signal on Bucklin Hill Road at the entrance to the shopping center.”


–Isn’t one pedestrian sign on Schold Road enough?

The in basket: Kathy Anderson, with her tongue in her cheek, I suspect, asked about what seemed to her to be duplication of signs on Schold Road north of Silverdale.

“I live close to and walk the Clear Creek Trail frequently,” she said. “Could you ask the appropriate culprits why, in addition to the sign which clearly shows a pedestrian, they felt the need to add an additional sign stating PEDESTRIANS ON PAVEMENT?  Was it just in case the pedestrians were, in fact, monkeys hanging from trees?  Love your column.”

The out basket: The sign with the picture of a pedestrians is intended to let drivers know pedestrians may be crossing the road or along the shoulder.

Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “This section of road was delineated to provide a pedestrian/bicycle path. The sign indicates pedestrians are actually on the road surface, not just adjacent to or near the road. Pedestrians do not have a separated or protected area to walk along the road.”