Tag Archives: Port Orchard

Port Orchard makes quick work of weedy guard rail


The in basket: Nancy Fuller-Hall wrote, “I moved to 282 Farragut Avenue  in February. Who is responsible for the Farragut road?  As you can see the area where we live is a mess but just up the street the                                        guard rail and street is nice and neat.


The out basket: That Farragut, as opposed to the one in Bremerton, is in Port Orchard. Public Works Director Mark Dorsey of that city replied, “The City does maintain the vegetation along these guardrails.  BUT…….please understand that we (Public Works) only have 12 employees to operate/maintain/repair (2) public water systems, the sanitary sewer system, the storm drainage system, the road system and our city parks and facilities, for a population that has doubled in the last eight years.  We do this two ways:

1) identified and scheduled routine maintenance

2) response to citizen complaints.

“For the prior, roadside vegetation control with our roadside vegetation mower is a constant from early Spring to Fall ….but guardrails require hand labor (weed-eater) and we keep up on those as best as we can.

“For the latter, we maintain a Complaint Log whereby we receive a citizen complaint, determine who is responsible (often times, it’s the adjacent property owner’s responsibility, i.e., sidewalks, trees, etc.), schedule the work if it’s our responsibility and follow up with the complainant.  We rely on the community to help us keep on top of things that we just don’t see in our day to day.”

He asked one employee to add the Farragut complaint to the Complaint Log and another to schedule the work.

Just two days later, Nancy wrote again to say, “Just wanted you to know that the Department of Public Works cleaned up the street yesterday. Thank you so much for your referral and quick action.  Not only does it look great but I can now pull out of our driveway and see the oncoming traffic.”

Horstman Road patch has been a struggle

The in basket: Merlin Dahlke writes, “The question I have regards the lower portion of Horstman Road (in Port Orchard). About three months ago they tore it up, for reasons I don’t know.  Instead of fixing it, all they did was put up ‘Rough Road’ and ‘Motorcycles Use Caution’ signs.  Even those signs are down or gone now.  Are there any plans to fix the road?”

The out basket: It certainly is impressively rough, so much so it’s clearly a temporary condition,

Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard’s public works director, says the spot was ditched for utilities to serve the housing being built south of Horstman.

“I am told it’s being paved today,” he said Monday. “Fingers crossed. We’ve been struggling with the contractor on several fronts.”

The struggle continues, apparently. As of mid-day Tuesday, the patch was unchanged.

Extra outside ‘lane’ at Sedgwick & Sidney

The in basket: Jim Milner e-mails to say the intersection of Sidney and Sedgwick roads in South Kitsap, for traffic approaching from the Highway 16 freeway, has a problem.

It “faces four traffic lights at the intersection,” Jim said, one for left turn, one for straight ahead, one for straight ahead /right turn. There are three lanes of traffic. one left turn, one straight ahead and one straight ahead/right turn. There is another lane on the right shoulder that appears to be controlled by the fourth light, yet at the same time it is not designated as a traffic lane.
“This creates no small amount of confusion,” Jim said, “resulting in many near collisions between those using the designated right turn lane and another driver assuming the extreme lane is a designated turn lane. I have been told by a KCSO deputy that if an accident were to occur at that intersection, both parties would be cited for failure to yield right of way.
“Why are there four lights to control three lanes of traffic?”
The out basket: You’ll find one more signal head than there are lanes at nearly every signalized intersection, including in the other directions at that one. It’s a federally required redundancy on the main movement at such intersections, in case one signal head fails or is obscured by other traffic.

Mark Dorsey, public works director for Port Orchard, says, “What Mr. Milner is seeing is ‘extra asphalt’ at the shoulder.  The edge stripe/fog line heading west (coming from Lowe’s) is continuous with the combination through lane (westbound)/right-turn(northbound.)

“There is potentially room for a right-turn pocket with curb/gutter/sidewalk and that will be a future improvement, but for now……the edge strip designates the lane…….and people crossing the edge stripe and using it as a right-turn lane are being ticketed.”

Bethel Avenue work in 2015 to be done where it will last

The in basket: For what I’m sure is a lot interest in when Bethel Road in South Kitsap will be made more drivable, John Susan is the only one who has asked me about it in 2014. He was moved to follow up his April inquiry with another this fall when he noticed that Lund Avenue to the east of Bethel had just gotten some full-depth patching, often called dig-outs.

“They worked on Lund, which was much better off than Bethel,” he said, adding that just repairing the sunken manholes on Bethel would have been a better use of the money.

The out basket: Different jurisdictions, John. Port Orchard annexed the Bethel corridor a few years ago and has been searching for money to accomplish short- and long-term upgrades of Bethel, as well as the city’s double-round-about plan for Tremont Street.

The Lund Avenue patching was done by the county, The city limits end just west of Hoover Avenue.

News coverage of Port Orchard City Council budget talks that included money for Bethel Avenue said 2015 work will be at the Lund-Bethel intersection. I wondered how broad that would be defined and whether it would extend up to the Walmart  traffic signal, where it seems the ride is the roughest.

Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard public works director, says, “The city will focus the 2015 asphalt repair work at Bethel-Lund, since this area will not be affected by future design modifications associated with the future Bethel corridor redesign.

“A complete grind and overlay is proposed. I do not have specific limits of yet, but it will not extend to Walmart. That will more than likely be 2016…and not a complete grind and overlay, but specific grind-outs with repair.

“The complete repair work is estimated at $1.7 million,” he said, “so the city needs to break the work up into affordable segments.”

Ditches consume possible room for bicycles and pedestrians, reader says

The in basket: Chris Olmsted thinks the city of Port Orchard could make things easier for pedestrians and bicyclists between Westbay and Retsil by filling in some ditches.

“Improvements to this scenic ride will bring in tourists, improve property values and give runners, walkers and cyclists a place to improve their fitness levels,” he said, adding, “I ride this route asking myself why are we holding on to 19th Century technology –  ditches.

“Why doesn’t the city of Port Orchard use new technology to deal with water runoff? New technology would widen the road, making it safer for all users while creating additional width for walkers.

“The current road is not safe for cyclists,” Chris said. “There is absolutely no shoulder along Bay Street to Retsil and lane widths are also narrow.  Why is right of way land on one side of the road being wasted by ditches while on the other side lifestyles are being destroyed?”

That a last was referring to the struggle the city council is going through about how to extend the existing waterfront bike and pedestrian trail from Westbay, which might involve condemning some homes.

The out basket: City Public Works Director Mark Dorsey replies, “Within the city limits, we have both roadside ditch storm water conveyance and closed system storm water conveyance (catch basins and pipe.)  Both are viable conveyance system alternatives, used where applicable.

“It is unreasonable to think that the city would initiate a program to install closed conveyance systems throughout the city for numerous reasons (tremendous cost to storm utility rate payers, unintended consequences associated with closed conveyance installation, potential outfall upgrades, water quality reduction associated with loss of vegetation, etc.)

“Roadway and shoulder widths also vary within the city,” Mark continued, “as do designated bike routes, and I concur that there are areas of the city that are very pedestrian friendly and areas that are not and choosing a route in which you are comfortable based on your level of experience is at your discretion. But I do not agree that closing in roadside ditches is the simple solution.

“With respect to your specific route, Bay Street to Retsil, the city is working diligently to complete a state-approved multi-modal pathway from downtown to Annapolis and I hope you will be pleased with the improvement once completed.

“Finally, I can say that most cyclists that I do speak to understand that it is their legal right to ride within the traveled way when needed and to follow the same rules of the road as a motorist.”

Ditch work on Highway 166 is proactive

The in basket: A loader has been scooping big shovels of mud into Peninsula Top Soil dump trucks from the south shoulder of Highway 166 east of Port Orchard the last couple of weeks, stopping traffic and allowing alternating flows of traffic through one remaining open lane.

It was a short distance west of where I’d seen state maintenance equipment doing similar work earlier this year, where water chronically flowed onto the pavement. But I’d never seen that problem where they are working now.

Since the only official vehicle I saw at the scene was a city of Port Orchard public works truck, I asked Public Works Director Mark Dorsey what prompted the work.

The out basket: Mark told me, “The state intervened last winter to do some limited ditch work to keep water off their pavement. We (now) are trying to be proactive and keep the ditch system open and functioning.

“The objective is to reestablish the flow of runoff within the ditches, rather than have standing water on the roadway,” he said. It’s hard to say how much longer the work and traffic disruption will go on. They worked through Thursday’s rain,  but the loader is still on the roadside and they have a ways to go yet.

Flexible log-like structures left lying crosswise in the cleaned ditch are temporary erosion/sedimentation control devices employed for the activity,” he said when I asked. He said they are called “waddles.”

The state and city share responsibility for the highway, he said.

I know that spot better than I would like. Back in the late 1960s or early ’70s, I was hurrying in light snowfall to Bremerton in my retired state patrol car acquired at auction. I tried to pass a cautious driver ahead of me just west of Ross Point and lost traction. After a 180-degree spin, I slammed backward into the ditch, then about six feet deep. The state filled it in later for safety reasons.

I was sitting on my seat belt, which left a pretty good bruise on my backside. Had I had the misfortune to have done a 360 and gone in forward, I’d probably look much different than I do now. Heaven knows how I would have fared had I gone over the water side of the highway.

That’s probably when I got serious about wearing my seat belt.

Bethel Road, a year later

The in basket: John Susan says “For many years now I have driven Bethel Road between Sedgwick and just passed Walgreens where Bethel splits with Mitchell. To me it just keeps getting worse every year! Badly sunken manhole covers that you need to avoid, sunken and cracked ruts that are breaking apart and after you pass the light at Walmart, the road is so badly uneven and cracked you can’t find a smooth part.

“My question is simple,” he said, “does anyone in this county care enough to have this fixed!!!

The out basket: Things have progressed slightly since Rance McEntyre and Richard Hood asked essentially the same question in a Road Warrior column a year ago.

It’s no longer the county’s problem, but the city of Port Orchard is trying to do something about it. It annexed the road a few years back and has been trying to find money to make improvements.

But they won’t be the multi-million dollar improvements the county designed when it had the project. Instead, Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard public works director, has

$325,000 to spend on making it a little better this year. The work is being designed by a consultant, and likely will be a series of dig-outs and patching to smooth the roughest areas.

Mark says what will be done where and how much of the $325K will remain when the consultant is done won’t be know until the design is finished.

As for next year and beyond, last year he said, “We’ve inherited a very large problem to deal with, and first we must redesign the (county’s) plan to break it into phases we can get funding for. And we must acquire the right of way, because the county didn’t.”

Now he adds,”There has been no specific city council direction on the Bethel Corridor redesign, other than the public outreach/redesign process will commence in 2015.

“But with the significant changes to transportation funding over the past six years…..I personally do not think the current county-prepared plan is viable in its current state.”

Port Orchard intersection worries nearby resident

The in basket: Bryan McKinnon says the steep intersection of Sidney Avenue and Kitsap Street in Port Orchard is hazardous.

“Having experienced vehicular woes here myself, I can say that it is very difficult (day or night) to monitor traffic moving north-south on Sidney, especially if driving in a car (vs. an SUV/Truck).  Night time, headlights from uphill, southbound vehicles seem to get lost at one point just past the museum.

“Try driving this and please share your experiences with me,’ he asked. “Dangerous or not?  Changes required?”

I asked him what he’d suggest and he replied, “I’ve started focusing on vehicles turning right off of Prospect Street to head south up Sidney. I think those can be the ones that slip past plain view. Perhaps the simple fix is put a stop sign for southbound traffic at Kitsap/Sidney.  However, if right turns off Prospect are suspect, then no right turns off Prospect onto Sydney.

“Please keep it slow and safe on Kitsap,” he added. “We’ve a lot of kids up the hill, elderly, and a lot of pets. I constantly battle the ‘short cutters’ with speeding …and regarding the stop signs as ‘optional.'”

The out basket: I’m very familiar with this intersection and am one of the short cutters who use it to bypass some of the backup on Bay Street in the afternoon. I don’t speed on Kitsap though and have never felt “battled” when I’m there.

I do agree the uphill traffic is obscured by the slope and can surprise someone waiting at the stop sign at Kitsap Street, but a stop sign on that steep upgrade would be very unpopular with southbound drivers.

I’ve never had a close call there.

I asked Port Orchard Public Works Director Mark Dorsey if the intersection is on their radar for any improvements and he said, “I concur that this ‘historic’ and vital intersection has limited sight distance with respect to southbound traffic visibility, but….there really are no viable solutions to improve the intersection, other than making it a four-way stop, and the city currently has no plan to do so as there is no accident history to warrant the change.”

Where will Mosquito Fleet trail go from here?

The in basket: With completion of the latest segment of the Mosquito Fleet Trail in Port Orchard, I realized that I had no idea how the trail will progress from its present terminus just west of the Marlee Apartment. It looks like the next stretch will be difficult. Will it go around the Marlee on the water side or stay in front of the apartments? If so, for how long.

So I asked Mark Dorsey, the city’s public works director.

The out basket: It turns out I haven’t been keeping my eye on the ball on this project. While the stretch that now ends at the Marlee was being done and traffic was rerouted to the center lane of Bay Street to make room for the work, another phase was being quietly completed, out of my sight.

That segment, paved, fenced and landscaped, passes behind the Westbay Center building, ending at a temporary concrete ecology block at Beach Drive. Its completion will be recognized in a ceremony soon.

Mark furnished me with a set of the elaborate drawings of the trail done for the city by N.L. Olson & Associates. They show that the segment of the trail at Rockwell Street will pass between the Marlee and Bay Street, with leveling of the surface and removal of some poles, a hydrant and elevated sidewalk to make way for it, then curve to the north and the Sinclair Inlet shoreline. It will follow the shoreline behind the Comfort Inn and curve around Titus Ford until it’s almost across Blackjack Creek from the gazebo at Etta Turner Park on the Westbay Center property.

A pedestrian bridge then will cross the creek, connecting the trail to its completed Westbay section.

From where that segment ends now, it’s fairly straightforward. Existing plans show it passing in front of the various buildings on the water side of Bay Street, with portions of the street moving a few feet inland. The trail will proceed to its final terminus at the Annapolis ferry dock.



New Port Orchard path’s entrance called ‘most dangerous’

The in basket: Don Rude of Port Orchard says, “Bay Street, westbound just west of Rockwell Street, is the start of the new walking path. This is the most dangerous spot in town.

“A car can go to the right and down that path very easy, either a young driver being stupid or a DUI driver! There should be a curb along Bay Street! There should be a steel post in the middle of the path where it starts to go down hill! Whoever engineered that path was not thinking straight.”

The out basket: It’s not done yet, says Mark Dorsey, public works director for Port Orchard. Fencing and guardrail to keep drivers from making the kind of mistake Don envisions are yet to come.