Tag Archives: right turn only

Transit bus goes straight in right-only lane

The in basket: Eric Blair wrote July 25 to say, “I was traveling eastbound on Sixth Street in Bremerton this past Wednesday at 1815, and was behind a Kitsap Transit small bus. We were both in the right lane, stopped at the light at Park Avenue. Imagine my surprise when the bus continued straight through the intersection, from what is clearly marked a right turn only lane.

“I didn’t see any ‘except transit’ language on the sign. Are transit buses exempt from the new right turn only lanes in downtown Bremerton?”

The out basket: A sign is missing, as transit buses need access to the curb lane to pick up and discharge passengers and it is the city’s intent to allow them to proceed straight in the outside lane there.

And there is an “except transit” sign, just not right at the intersection. An earlier sign a half-block back saying right turns only are allowed in the outside lane has an “except transit” sign right below it. But I didn’t see it either until Gunnar Fridriksson, senior Bremerton street engineer, told me it was there and I went looking for it.

“The first sign which is about mid-block between Warren and Park has ‘Except Transit’ so the buses can legally continue through the intersection,” Gunnar said.  “We are updating the sign at the signal as well and I thought that had been completed.  Our sign shop is a bit busy these days, but I will check in with them and give a little reminder we need to get this done.”

Those ‘Except Bikes’ signs below Right Turn Only signs at Warren

The in basket: Daniel Crall e-mailed to say, “In Bremerton at Fourth Street and Warren Avenue, the city built a center divider so that a car can not turn left. However, there is a sign that states
that ‘Bikes’ may turn left. Does this mean bicycles or motorcycles?”

The out basket: The signs actually say a right turn only is permitted, with an arrow, but with a second sign, “Except Bikes” just below.

They are on both Fourth and Fifth streets on both sides of Warren.

Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers says, “This allows bicycles to go straight through on Fourth and Fifth streets.  Otherwise, the bicyclists would be subject to citation.”

I asked Gunnar if a left turn by a bicyclist passing through the median barrier would be permitted, and he said he believes that would be permitted. I also asked if any kind of motorized two-wheeler, from motorcycles to motorized scooters, could take advantage of the exception, and he said no. But the final call would be by a law enforcement officer who witnessed what was done.

Gunnar also said a businessman with a view of the barrier from atop the large glass office building there tells him he occasionally sees cars squeeze through the crosswalk gaps in the barrier. That, of course, is illegal.

Forced Sixth Street right turn being ignored

The in basket: Three readers say the recent change to require vehicles in the right lane of southbound Warren Avenue in Bremerton to turn right onto Sixth Street is being widely ignored by drivers used to that being a through lane.

Suzi Hubert wrote, “I have moved to the left-hand lane as instructed and find that those folks in the right lane go straight ahead to Burwell and I have a heck of a time getting over to make my right-hand turn on Burwell.

“It is most annoying and I am afraid that one of these days I’ll end up going to the ferry instead. Help!!”

Phil Kight asked “Is the city planning on leaving it as a right-turn-only lane, or will it revert back to its formal state when 11th Street is completed? It seems that just about everyone that I’ve seen using that lane ignores the right-turn-only (restriction).”

And an e-mailer going by BJ, wrote, “Why did they make the outside lane on Warren Avenue a right-turn-only at Sixth Street as part of the 11th Street detour? Knowing that we are going to turn right on Burwell, we (used to) travel in the outside lane once we get on Wheaton Way. Now we have to move into the center lane just before Sixth Street and cross our fingers we can get back into the outside lane in the short distance between Sixth and Burwell.

“VERY few people are paying attention to the Right-Turn- Only signs and markings on the road!  Why not leave it like it was with just a detour sign for those that don’t know the area?”

The out basket: When I drove there Thursday morning, a succession of seven cars made the right turn while the light was red. When it turned green, the driver of a large black pickup did indeed proceed straight and caused me some difficulty in getting over into the right lane at Burwell.

I’m not sure how that’s any worse than it was before the city began requiring right turns from that lane. There always were two lanes of traffic mostly wanting to go west on Burwell and competing for the right lane after Sixth. What’s changed, I suspect, is drivers who used to avoid that in the past by using the right lane exclusively no longer can, legally.

Gunnar Fredriksson of the city of Bremerton traffic engineer says, “Yes, the right-lane-must-turn-right restriction is with the project (a three-month closure of 11th Street for sewer work) and not permanent.  This was done to maximize the number of vehicles turning from Warren onto Sixth Street for the detour route.

“We are watching the situation, and for a majority of time, it seems to work quite well. I understand the frustration with those ignoring the signage and going through the intersection.  We are hoping this is part of the learning curve for motorists and will diminish with time.”

The same restriction has been imposed on Sixth Street’s westbound right lane at Warren, also is temporary for the duration of the sewer work on 11th and also is routinely violated. There’s less reason to change lanes beyond Warren on Sixth, and it hasn’t generated any complaints to me.

 

Of arrows and “only” in Port Orchard

 

The in basket: Joe Blazevich of Manchester wonders about an arrow on the pavement of Mile Hill Drive seeming to route people into the Hi-Joy Bowl parking lot as eastbound drivers exit the roundabout there. Can a person legally pull over into that lane immediately to proceed straight, despite the arrow, he asked. 

The out basket: It’s not a question of much importance, but it led off in a couple of interesting directions. 

Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend says that the absence of the word “only” on either a sign or on the pavement at that point makes it legal to use of the lane for traveling straight.

The city recently changed the traffic restrictions on Tremont Street approaching Port Orchard Boulevard westbound to make it a right turn only onto the boulevard, except for buses. There’s no “only” on the pavement there either, but signs along the roadside impose the restriction, so a person going straight in the outside lane there is subject to a citation.

The word “only” will be added on the pavement when weather permits, says City Public Works Director Mark Dorsey.

The change was made, Mark told me, because the Lutheran church with an entrance just west of the boulevard has become a church school, creating possible hazards for children. 

Drivers commonly raced each other for the only available upcoming lane as the two lanes westbound merge to one at just that point. “We get a lot of road rage issues right after Port Orchard Boulevard,” Al said before the change was made.

Making them merge before the boulevard makes things safer at the church school entrance, he said.

Al also pointed out the situation at Bravo Terrace, the business area east of the Sedgwick interchange, which also is in the city. There, two lanes are available for three possible movements, left, right and straight. Arrows denote the lanes for left and right turns, but the right turn lane also is OK for going straight ahead, into the Columbia Bank parking lot. No signs or pavement markings say “only” there, allowing other movements, he said. Otherwise, there’d be no way to get to the bank.

A more common marking for such dual lanes around the state is an arrow that depicts both the turn and the straight-ahead movement. Mark said he’d give that spot a look to see if that should be done there.