Tag Archives: shipyard

Stream of departing shipyard pedestrians make drivers sweat

The in basket: Elissa Torgeson of Bremerton writes, “We really need a crosswalk light

Steady pedestrian traffic out of the Bremerton shipyard keeps ferry traffic from proceeding
Steady pedestrian traffic out of the Bremerton shipyard keeps ferry traffic from proceeding

at the corner of 1st and Pacific (at the shipyard gate) for when the workers are leaving. It is pretty much impossible to get a car through there as the workers won’t stop at all and it’s basically a constant stream of pedestrian traffic.

“I am getting dropped off at 4pm for the 4:20pm ferry to Seattle and it’s a real problem,” she said.

The out basket: I watched this spot from 3:40 to 4:20 one Thursday this month and the situation she describes certainly raised the anxiety level for drivers trying to get to the ferry around 4 p.m. But while it’s always risky to use one day’s observation to generalize about a traffic situation, what I saw didn’t justify paying for a pedestrian light, by which I assume Elissa means a walk-don’t walk light with the requisite overhead signal heads to stop cars during the walk cycle.

It would have the advantage of letting drivers know they WILL get an opportunity to get to the toll booths before the ferry leaves. I saw one driver pull out of line and around the car stopped at the crosswalk in frustration when the line of vehicles extended back to Burwell. Some drivers seemed to be applying crosswalk law that says you have to have a lane of travel between you and the pedestrian before you can proceed, a practical impossibility at that hour.

Nonetheless, the flow of pedestrians had all but stopped by 4:15. no cars were backed up at either the crosswalk or the toll booths then and the only drivers uncertain of getting on the boat were the  late arrivals you see at any ferry departure.

Traffic signals are expensive and the city is struggling to stretch its street dollars as it is.

Since I assume Elissa’s ride is in the single lane that continues around without going to the toll booths, I would think her solution would be to get out at the crosswalk and walk from there. It’s not much farther from there to the ferry terminal than designated passenger drop-off locations.

Just to make sure the city wasn’t in the middle of something to address this, I asked. Street Engineer Tom Knuckey said only, “We’re always evaluating situations such as this and are interested in practical ideas to improve safety and efficiency.  The rush hour here definitely makes things more difficult.”

Fast lane changes in morning shipyard traffic can be illegal

The in basket: Tom Marcucci e-mailed to ask “Who should be notified of reckless driving on Highway 3 where it splits off to go down South Charleston Boulevard (into Bremerton) or north toward Poulsbo?

“I drive this stretch around 6:15 a.m. every morning headed to Silverdale,” Tom said, “and watch folks headed towards the shipyard hang in the left-hand lane between Gorst and this split point, then at the last second shove their way across three lanes right at the split point to get over to South Charleston Boulevard. It’s very dangerous and busy at that time of day… especially in the winter when it’s dark and wet.

“I can see why it would be difficult to put a traffic enforcement car at this spot,” he said, “…but something needs to be done. At 06:15 that stretch can be VERY hazardous driving!”

The out basket: The State Patrol is the agency with direct responsibility there, so I asked my State Patrol source, Trooper Russ Winger, if the actions Tom describes constitute a moving violation. He says they do.

“The law says you must signal intent to change lanes 100 feet prior to movement, changing only one lane at a time and only when safe to do so. You cannot make a sweeping lane change from the inside lane to the exit lane and comply with the law.

“This is even more dangerous in heavy traffic as you cut other drivers off with the illegal and unsafe lane changes.

“I have and will gladly stop and cite a driver making this movement.

“Failure to plan ahead is not an excuse – for me anyway- when a driver does this type of thing.”

This also would be good to know in Gorst for drivers coming off northbound Highway 3 onto Highway 16 and trying to get over three lanes to go to Port Orchard.

Another shipyard commute beef

The in basket: Michael Johnson is annoyed by the practice of some drivers headed to work at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton who cut through the parking lot of the Lucky Wok fast food restaurant at First and Charleston and try to force their way into the line of cars on First who turned right off of northbound Charleston, also known as Highway 304.

“I have always heard that it is illegal to cut through a business’ parking lot to bypass an intersection,” he said. “Is that true?

“There are always one or two cars and sometime five or six at a time cutting through the parking lot to cut into the line to get in the gate,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are always enablers in that line that allow them to cut in.

“I feel it’s the same as people trying to cut into the ferry lines.  Why should they get to go ahead of everyone else that has been patiently waiting in line?”

The in basket: The common belief that it’s illegal to cut through a parking lot to avoid a traffic signal or for some other reason is incorrect. There is no law against it in this state.

I don’t know what the realities are for those heading to the shipyard in the morning who could turn onto Montgomery from Sixth Street or Burwell Street but choose instead to stay on Charleston until the start of the center barrier forces them to use the Lucky Wok’s lot. If it’s not a big hassle, I’d say they are at least self-centered.

But they aren’t doing anything illegal, thought they would probably be judged at fault if they were to collide with a car already on First Street when they try to get into line.

Two-hour parking going unused on Charleston Beach Road

The in basket: Elizabeth Clark of Navy Yard City says, “On the east end of Charleston Beach Road in Navy Yard City, there are a few dozen parking spaces that are listed as two hours only.

“It’s clear that they don’t want shipyard workers parking here but it seems like a major waste of space since I very rarely see any cars parked there and the local businesses seem to have ample spaces of there own.  Why so many usable spaces sitting empty when there is such a parking shortage on base?

The out basket: As Brynn Grimley of the paper’s reporting staff wrote a year ago, the county restricted the parking after some business owners complained that customers had trouble finding a place for their cars because shipyard workers were using them all day.

It’s a familiar story in Bremerton, where shipyard employees (and college students) are always on the lookout for free all-day parking and the city tries to craft parking limits that leave spaces available for businesses and home owners.

But Charleston Beach Road is just outside the city limits, so the county has the say there.

And it may be asked to make some changes, because the two-hour spaces at one end of the road aren’t getting much use and the unlimited spaces at the other end are getting too much.

Rick Cordova at Westbay Auto Parts says it appears the word has spread about the availability of the free parking at their end of Charleston Beach Road. Increasingly their employees have to park on site, cutting into customer parking.

Jim Civilla, higher up in the Westbay hierarchy, made some inquiries just last week about whatever became of assurances he felt they got from Bremerton officials when the city’s Gateway project eliminated all parking along the highway that they would still have on-street parking for their employes on the county road.

And Chris Miller of Miller Sheet Metal next door agrees, saying the city should stay interested and involved in the issue, as it was the city project that made all the changes..

But it was all the two-hour parking at the other end of the road that  Elizabeth asked about .

Bryan Schoening of Cliff’s Cycle Center, the closest business to the two-hour spaces, says he’d like to see them retained, at least during business hours.

His business lost multiple spaces in front to the highway project and the public two-hour spaces take some of the sting out of that.

It wasn’t simply a matter of shipyard workers filling the spaces all day, he said. Many vehicles stayed in the same spot for days or weeks, and trash accumulated near them.

In two visits to the road, I found only one vehicle in any of the 50 or so two-hour spaces at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday, confirming what Elizabeth says she sees.

If those Charleston Beach businesses being impacted by shipyard parking seek some redress from the county, I’m sure the distribution and number of two-hour spaces will be an issue.

Timing slip-up slowed shipyard traffic

The in basket: Darrell Franks of Union e-mailed to say, “I wonder if you can find out what’s going on with traffic signal timing at the intersections of Burwell and Montgomery, and Burwell and Callow (in Bremerton).

The lights are badly mis-timed, causing traffic to back up terribly after 4 p.m., when shipyard traffic becomes heavy.

“As they are timed now,” Darrell said, “the Montgomery light will be green while the Callow light is red, which does no good at all. When the Callow light turns green, the Montgomery light goes red, which allows a relative handful of traffic to move from Burwell onto Callow.

“This problem began about three weeks ago, and I expected it to be solved by now,” he said.

The out basket: I don’t find myself in commuter traffic much anymore, being retired, but I had seen exactly what Darrell described twice this month at shipyard quitting time. I hit the backup on Burwell back at Olympic Avenue and watched the odd signal changes as I crawled forward. I wondered if it was always that bad.

Jeff Collins of the city of Bremerton signal shop said Darrell made a good call on when the problem started.

About two or three weeks ago his shop changed the batteries and reset the clocks in the controllers that keep the lights more or less in sync, he said..

‘I found one of the intersections exactly one minute off on the clocks,” he said Wednesday. It should be better now.

“Thanks for the heads up,” he said, a commendation that really should go to Darrell. I’m surprised he’s the only one who complained.

Long backups in Loxie Eagans rush


The in basket: Bernie Strub,, who works in the shipyard in Bremerton, wrote to say that the traffic westbound on Loxie Eagans Boulevard at National Avenue was backing up badly during the afternoon rush between 4 and 4:30 p.m. as workers like him head home and line up at the traffic signal. 

It could mean a wait of three or four cycles through the green lights before he got through, with only about 10 seconds of green each time, he said. He didn’t notice the problem on the other three legs of the intersection or at other times of the day.

The out basket: The problem may have been corrected by now, and Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, thanks Bernie for bringing it to their attention. Jeff said on Dec. 4, that one of the traffic detectors in the pavement at the intersection had failed, and they had been unaware of it. “We’ve done a fix to remedy this problem,” he said. “We will be monitoring it to see if the fix is working.”

If it isn’t, that can be reported to the county’s Open Line (now being called Kitsap-One) at (360) 337-5777, as can any other problem a person suspects on a Kitsap County road.