Tag Archives: shoulders

Bainbridge’s Valley Road challenges pedestrians

The in basket: Merry Mcallister of Bainbridge Island writes, “Can you help me with the walking pattern on North Valley Road, between North Madison and Sunrise Drive?

“Pedestrian access is almost none — maybe 5 inches beyond the white line, then you’re in the ditch.  Cross the road, and you can’t see oncoming traffic, so what’s a walker to do?

“If I walk on the white line, should I take out more life insurance?  I wear reflective gear from head to toe, but the cars go WAY beyond the speed limit, and many only pretend to defer to pedestrians. I’ve lived here 40 years and it’s become a scary problem.

“My preference would be a wider shoulder, especially on the north side,” she said,  “like maybe three feet wide.  No pavement. It just gives the cars license to speed.

“Pedestrians should at least be able to walk outside the white line without getting into the ditch.  Occasionally the grass is mowed there, but not often, so it’s really spongy on the ditch side.”

The out basket: Chris Hammer, Bainbridge’s engineering manager in public works, says, “The city developed a shoulder widening program back in 2007 that is known as the Core 40 program.

“The idea is to develop a 40-mile network of walkable and bike-able shoulders throughout the secondary arterial street network. A project has been identified for Valley Road that would likely consist of a paved uphill climbing lane for cyclists and could also include a wider gravel shoulder on the other side of the roadway for pedestrians.

“Typically 6-foot-wide shoulders are provided, as that provides a safe facility for pedestrians walking into traffic and can accommodate a 5-foot paved area for cyclists.

“(But) the C40 Valley project is lower on the list of priorities for C40 projects and it is not currently included in the city’s six-year Transportation Improvement Plan,” he said.

There is a project already underway on Valley, begun Sept. 11, but it’s on the other side of Sunrise, where shoulders are even narrower.

“Sound Excavation has been working on drainage improvements that will provide for better roadway drainage and better accommodate private drainage off the hill from several lots above Gertie Johnson Road,” Chris said. “The embankments above Gertie Johnson have experienced two significant slides over the past decade that I am aware of.

“The project will also provide for landings and crosswalk markings at the intersection of Valley and Sunrise.

“Some in the community have advocated for wider shoulders on this section of the roadway. The project includes graveling the shoulders but we are not able to make them much wider with this project. The costs would be substantially higher than afforded with the planned surfacing reconstruction project due to challenging topography. Widening would also necessitate removing significant trees and landscaping restoration requiring easements.”

One islander I talked to in my visit said the situation sounds like many others all over the island. I suppose the small business center where Valley and Sunrise intersect may be more of a draw for both drivers and pedestrians that on other roads.

 

About those narrower lanes on new Manette bridge

The in basket: Several comments on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com expressed amazement and/or alarm after a

Sept. 16 column said the driving lanes on the new Manette Bridge in Bremerton will be a foot narrower than those on the old bridge.

Others felt the new span’s five-foot shoulders where now there are none, make it no problem.

I asked Jeff Cook, the state’s project engineer on the job, for the rationale behind narrowing the vehicle lanes.

The out basket: “The various components of the bridge were sized to fit in with the

city’s revitalization plans now and in the future,” Jeff said. “Manette, like most

bridges, serves as a medium to tie together the pedestrian and vehicular

routes as well as the communities on either side of the Narrows.

“I think an important perspective to keep in mind is that the current 12-foot

lanes (with no shoulders) constrict to approximately 10-foot lanes (with no

shoulders) at the main truss span.  (Ever have to stop in the middle of

the bridge because a bus was coming through the truss from the other

direction?) The new structure provides 11-foot lanes with 5-foot’ shoulders.  The change to vehicles is a significant increase in lateral space.

The bridge provides 12′ feet of sidewalk where users are currently allowed

the 4-foot space.”

The bridge also has fewer piers to affect maritime activities, he said..

“So, the new bridge improves the accessibility and available space for

vehicles and pedestrians and bicyclists and boats,” he concluded