Tag Archives: reflective

County planning reflective borders on traffic signals

The in basket: Jack Ford says that during a recent power outage that hit Silverdale, he saw several cars blow through the darkened Levin Road traffic signal on Ridgetop Boulevard, probably unaware there is a signal there.

He wondered if reflective material can be put on signals so they can be spotted when the signals and nearby street lights are out.

The out basket: The state has been installing yellow borders on some of its signals where power outages are common for some time but I wasn’t sure if Kitsap County had followed suit. Ridgetop is a county road and the Levin light is temporary while Bucklin Hill Road is closed. It will be bagged Friday when Bucklin reopens and physically removed in coming weeks.

In driving around Silverdale I didn’t see any of the signals with the border. I asked if the county has any.

Jeff Shea, county traffic engineer, replied, “We have begun to install the heads with the reflective material around them, but they aren’t always that easy to see. We have the borders at some signals including Mullenix and Phillips (in South Kitsap), pedestrian crossing on Silverdale Way, and the new Bucklin Hill pedestrian crossing at Mickelberry.

“Even with the reflective material on the signal head some drivers don’t stop. Many of our power outages occur at night during storms making it difficult to see the roadway. Compound that with the height of the signal heads, which puts them on the periphery of the light your headlights project.

“For added safety because of the outages we experience, Public Works has been installing battery backups at our more heavily used intersections with plans to install them at all signals. These backups will allow our signals to operate for several hours after an outage occurs.”

The law says that a darkened traffic signal must be treated as an all-way stop.

Do highly reflective plates aid speed enforcement?

The in basket: An online commenter who goes by Mike made the following surprising comment on the Road Warrior column at kitsapsun.com, about the requirement for front license plates in this state .

“Of course there is no plan to eliminate the front plate,” he said. “The State Patrol (revenue collectors?) need the nice reflective surface for their laser guns to check your compliance while they sit in the unmarked car without lights on the right-of-way in the dark. This is the real reason that you are forced to replace perfectly good plates every few years!”

I’ve never really understood resentment about the way one gets caught doing wrong, which seems to underlie Mike’s complaint. But I suppose it’s no different that the well established practice of throwing out court cases if the search that led to the arrest is found wanting.

I asked whether Mike is right about laser’s reliance on the plates, and whether there is anything to prohibit roadside speed enforcement at night from a darkened patrol car.

The out basket: Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the State Patrol detachments here says, “In no way does a reflective license plate contribute to the effectiveness of a radar/laser.  The purpose of a front license plate on a vehicle is strictly for identification purposes.

“There is nothing (in the) law or WSP policy that prohibits police vehicles (marked or unmarked) from performing radar speed enforcement at night. That includes parking stationary with lights out.” she said.