Tag Archives: sidewalk

Sidewalk dip partially fixed

The in basket: George Bolton said a depression in the sidewalk in the 5000 block of Dream Court in Central Kitsap west of Silverdale is a serious tripping hazard and needs the county’s attention.

I suspected it would be the responsibility of the homeowner in front of which the sidewalk runs, but I asked the county about that.

The out basket: To my surprise, Kitsap County Public Works jumped right on it within a week and filled the depression – partially. It looked like they hadn’t brought enough asphalt, as the depression was only half-filled, but I saw that filling it more fully would have trapped water in the homeowner’s driveway, into which the depression extended.

I asked if the notion of property owners being on the hook for sidewalk repairs, something the cities hereabouts mention often, doesn’t apply to counties.

Jacques Dean, county road superintendent replied, “Road crews have filled in the depression in the sidewalk with hot mix asphalt. This is a temporary repair until such time as it can be programmed for permanent repair.

“Every other year, Kitsap County completes a county-wide sidewalk project. This project predominately repairs existing, damaged sidewalk, or resolves sidewalk conditions that do not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria. The deficiency on Dream Court will be added to a list of potential project repairs and programmed accordingly.”

Bridge project could have used some more sidewalk, says reader

The in basket: Jonathan McLean writes “Granite Constructon and Kitsap County have done a wonderful job keeping the Bucklin Hill bridge project on-schedule.

“(But) I am curious.  Why didn’t Kitsap County have the sidewalk-to-nowhere in front of the Social Security office extended to meet the sidewalk that already exists at the Bucklin Hill and Tracyton Boulevard intersection?

“That stretch of road was completely replaced and had new curbs installed as part of the bridge project.  A new bicycle lane was added through most of the project area but again this stretch was skipped.

“I have traveled this stretch of road in a car, on foot, and on a bicycle many times.  I think completing the sidewalk and bicycle lanes would be a great safety improvement.  Is this in the county’s plan?”

The out basket: Tina Nelson, project engineer for Kitsap County, says, “The Bucklin Hill Bridge Project was meant to end at the Mickelberry intersection.  The ‘rest’ of Bucklin Hill Road from Mickelberry to Tracyton Boulevard to complete the corridor is a future project.

“To make the transition work from five lanes to three, some widening had to take place east of Mickelberry.  Silverdale Water chose to replace their water main, which went beyond the county’s initial project limit. Thereby some work was added, but to stay within budget, and grant approvals, we had to limit the work done.

“We ended up adding extruded curb and asphalt curb (not a full section with curb and gutter, sidewalk and new roadway section) to manage some drainage issues, but we had to leave the rest alone,” she said. “The biggest need for traffic flow was to get the section completed to Mickelberry.  The sidewalk connection on the south side will happen someday, but is not currently in our six-year plan.”


Parkwood sidewalk work targets schools

The in basket: After seeing a large orange sign at the entrance to the Parkwood residential development in South Kitsap saying sidewalk construction and repair would be going on through March and April, I asked Kitsap County Public Works what prompted it. It’s an unusual project for the county to undertake, I opined.

The out basket: Not unusual at all, as it turns out. Doug Bear, spokesman for public works, said it’s part of a “countywide sidewalk replacement and repair project.

“The work includes eliminating trip hazards, sidewalk repair/replacement and handicap ramps along the entire length of Madrona Drive SE. Motorists can expect short delays of five  minutes in the immediate vicinity of the work. This project will run through April.

“They are mostly on Madrona and there will be some improvements on Lodgepole,” he added, then referred me to Julie Hamon, assistant construction manager.

“The sidewalk repair and replacement project is a project that the county performs every two years,” she said. “This year’s emphasis was safe-walk-to-school. The Parkwood area contains Marcus Whitman Junior High, Orchard Heights Elementary, Discovery Alternative High School, and Madrona Heights Developmental Preschool, all within close proximity, and the majority of this year’s project takes place adjacent to those schools.

“The yellow bubbled pedestrian pads at curb ramps, also known as detectable warning pads, are part of the project and meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for individuals that are visually impaired.”

They are brightly colored for those with poor vision and have a bumpy texture for the totally blind.

“The purpose of these pads is to let pedestrians know there is a roadway crossing such as a cross street or intersection,” she said.  This project is paid for by local road funds.

Walker hopes for a Werner Road sidewalk

The in basket: Fred Chichester writes, “I have lived in the Navy Yard City most of my life. I have found a
perfect walk from my house off of National Avenue. I walk up to Loxie
Eagans and take a left and head up towards the State Patrol office. There is sidewalk to that point.

“I like to walk up the Werner Road hill to the end up by the UPS business at the end, and back. This is a challenging
walk with the hills and is a perfect 3 1/4 mile one-hour walk round trip to
my house.

“I know numerous folks walk this route but you’re always very
cautious with the traffic on the hill especially since there is no actual
sidewalk. I always face traffic so I have the last ditch
option if a car ever comes toward me.

“(It) would be ideal if we could get a sidewalk at least on the
side facing traffic going up the hill as it would make the walk a lot safer and I bet even more folks would use it.”

The out basket: I’ve been of the impression that new sidewalks are built only as part of a larger road project, or as mitigation required during some business development.

But since providing for bicyclists and pedestrians is so much in vogue in the road building business these days, as evidenced by all the shoulder paving listed in Kitsap County’s six-year road plan (called the TIP), I asked county officials if that’s no longer true.

The county’s answer was brief. Greg Cioc, Kitsap’s transportation planner, said, “Mr. Chichester should submit his request and solution to the TIP process and it will be ranked with all other requests.  Go to http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/Tip_Project_Proposal_form.asp to submit an idea.”

The county commissioners approve the TIP each December, listing what is planned for the subsequent six years.

How should a bicyclist yield to a pedestrian?

The in basket: Laraine Gaulke said she was walking on the rather narrow sidewalk on Wheaton Way across from Albertson’s recently and two bicyclists in full riding gear approached her on the sidewalk. Though they were riding single file, the sidewalk was narrow enough she stepped off to let them pass, she said.

She wondered why the bikes weren’t in the street and whether it was legal for them to be on the sidewalk. I told he it was legal, but the law requires a bicyclist to yield to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or crosswalk.

She then said, “To me (that) means you stop and put your foot down on the ground and actually wait for me to pass.” I told her I’d ask what the police think of that definition.

The out basket: Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said it would depend on the situation. “Yield would be giving the right of way to the pedestrian. If they can do it by moving over, great. if not, they may need to dismount and allow the pedestrian to pass.” As a matter of courtesy and avoiding liability, I would think that slowing  down if you wish to stay mounted would be essential.

Pedestrians have to use a sidewalk where one exists

The in basket: Diane Van Fossen of Silverdale says she often sees pedestrians walking on the south shoulder of Bucklin Hill Road even though there is a sidewalk on the other side of the road.

She had just read an earlier Road Warrior column about a state law that requires pedestrians to walk toward traffic when there is no sidewalk, and asked if those who choose to use the shoulder when a crosswalk is available on the same street are committing a violation.

The out basket: Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, says they are.

“When sidewalks are present / available, whether on both sides of the roadway or on only one side, a pedestrian is required to use the sidewalk,” he said.

“In situations where a sidewalk is present, walking along a roadway or roadway shoulder is not optional.

“A pedestrian may cross a roadway at an intersection or use a marked crosswalk, should they need to access a location on the side of the road that doesn’t have a sidewalk installed.

“For unincorporated areas of the county, a pedestrian may cross a roadway between intersections (or where there’s no marked crosswalk) since it’s expected that the roadway length between intersections in a county setting may involve significant distance, as compared to a municipal setting.

“In these circumstances, pedestrians do not have the right of way; they must yield to on-coming traffic in either direction.

“Crossing Bucklin Hill Road between Mickelberry Road and Tracyton Boulevard is permissible… although not recommended during periods of low visibility or high traffic volume.

He conceded that walking to an intersection in a city, crossing and then doubling back to where the pedestrian wants to go would be just as much of a violation as walking there on the shoulder across from the sidewalk in the first place, but added, “I don’t know of any law enforcement officers that would actually enforce this law by issuing a notice of infraction.”

Whenever I’ve heard of someone walking with traffic on the shoulder being contacted by an officer, they’d just been given a warning and told what the law says.

Incidentally, when I wrote that column about not walking with traffic, I neglected to say that being on the side facing traffic is required “where practical,” recognizing that running across the street in heavy traffic to be walking legally is not required

City staff demonstrates the plight of pedestrians

The in basket: When I gently questioned the wisdom of turning Bremerton’s Washington Avenue into a two-lane street between Sixth Street and the Manette Bridge in a recent column, the city public works department decided it would pay to try to convince me of the value of the project, set for 2015.

So Public Works Director Chal Martin, Managing Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson and Administrative Division Manager Milenka Hawkins-Bates of their office took me on a tour of city work sites, ending at Sixth and Washington.

The out basket: Chal evidently had been getting some questions about the capacity of Washington to handle rush hour traffic with only one lane in each direction, though that wasn’t what I had questioned. He spent a lot of time demonstrating how little the second lane northbound is needed even with a ferry arrival and shipyard closing time only minutes apart.

And it certainly looked that day that almost all northbound traffic on Washington in the afternoon uses the outside lane to reach the bridge. Only briefly did traffic back up in the inside lane.

Those are the people who will be impeded by having to wait while the signal at the bridge is red and would-be bridge users are in their way. But I’m sure those people will quickly learn that turning left onto Sixth Street, which will keep its left-turn lane, will shorten any delays.

What impressed me far more on our tour was the case Chal made for wider sidewalks, which will be created in the Washington project.

Our tour began at the northwest corner of 11th Street and Naval Avenue, where we stood as traffic zoomed past. The speed limit is only 30 there, but that close to it, it seems to be zooming.

I’d never walked it, so in my many trips along 11th in my car never noticed how frighteningly slender the sidewalks are there.

Chal said, “I think about all the people I see who walk here. I see women pushing double baby buggies walking here. I see moms and little kids and people in motorized wheelchairs.

“When you’re in your car,” he continued, “you’re surrounded by modern safety conveniences, you have a radio and a heater. You’re not exposed to the elements. So I ask, is it OK to delay someone two or three minutes in their normal commute in a trade-off to get more safety for pedestrians and bicyclists?

“My answer,” said Chal, “is a resounding yes.”

The Road Warrior’s argument has been that the focus on providing for the relatively few bikes and walkers by further frustrating the vastly larger number of drivers is ill-conceived. You might agree with that, as I might still, but we should test that belief by walking from Naval to Callow on the north side of 11th occasionally.

And, as Milenka added, “If the sidewalk is safer, would you have more people using it?”

As for 11th, it can’t be widened, so making it safer for non-motorists would require reducing it to two or three lanes, as they are doing with Pacific Avenue north of Sixth Street right now. Don’t be shocked if that’s not proposed in some future year.

Mismatched downtown Bremerton sidewalk raises a question

The in basket: Mike Burton writes, “The city of Bremerton has put a lot of effort and expense into making the roads and sidewalks in the downtown area and, specifically, Pacific Avenue look very nice, and they plan to continue that north of Sixth Street on Pacific.

“As they were doing all of this,” Mike said, “the city purposely worked around a section of the sidewalk between Second Street and Burwell Avenue on the east side of Pacific. That section looks awful compared to everything else the city has done.

“Is there an explanation? Are there any plans to ‘fix’ that so that it conforms with all of the surrounding sidewalks?”

“Mostly the problem is aesthetic,” he conceded, ” but it is a bit uneven, especially where the patches and the ‘tar’ that they use for sealing meet, compared to the rest of the sidewalk around it. It just looks ridiculous, considering the city’s efforts to make all this look so nice!”

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city engineering staff says, “That ‘sidewalk’ is actually the top for a very large vault that houses the electrical servicing the Harborside Commons garage (the old JC Penney building).

“WIth the tunnel project, we did look at trying to either have it replaced or resurfaced to make it more presentable.  Unfortunately, due to the way it was constructed, we were unable to find an economical way of doing so that met with the state’s schedule for the completion of the improvements.

“Depending on what happens with the building, there may be an opportunity in the future for improvement. ”


Sandy Silverdale sidewalk spurs a spill

The in basket: Leslie Varner found the sidewalk in front of Central Kitsap High School a perilous place to walk in Jan. 24.

“We were walking down Bucklin Hill beside CK High and it

was a real challenge with all the road sand on the sidewalk,” Leslie said. “My guess is it’s overspray from sanding the roads.

“It’s a steep area and traveled on daily by students.

I’m really concerned that someone is

going to slip and actually fall in front of a car.  The cars are picking

up speed to head up the hill towards Seabeck.  I actually did slip on

the sand and fall down last night. Luckily at my age, crashing to the

ground is a bruising experience, but does not cause broken bones.”

The out basket: I asked if the county includes sidewalks in the places it sweeps up sand from the winter ice and snow control, as it does and already has begun on the roads itself, including shoulders.

Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works replied, “Keeping sidewalks free from snow, ice and other obstructions is the responsibility of the person or entity whose property abuts the sidewalk, per Chapter 9.28.020 of the Kitsap County Code. Kitsap County Public Works does not normally maintain or clear sidewalks during snow and ice operations.  I contacted the Central Kitsap School District on behalf of your reader and they responded immediately to clean the sand from the sidewalks.”