Tag Archives: silverdale

Manhole cover called a peril to motorcyclists

The in basket; My motorcycling stepdaughter Ronda Armstrong says there is a “pothole” on Myhre Road in Silverdale just north of its intersection with Ridgetop Boulevard that poses a threat to those, like her, who hit it on a two-wheeler.

It’s just past a rise that hides it from view until one is very close to it, she said.

The out basket: It’s actually one of three manholes grouped together at that spot. The cover may have subsided, leaving a distinct bump. It’s not something I found bothersome crossing it in my 2013 Malibu, but once again I must consider how much different the experience would be on a motorcycle.

I asked the county it it’s something they could change.

The out basket: Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works, says, “It’s a Puget Sound Energy cover and they have been notified to modify it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.”

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.”

 

Kitsap County has no plans for red light cameras

The in basket: Phil Shoemaker says he’s “just wondering if red light cameras are in the planning for intersections in Silverdale. Some of the main ones are becoming very hazardous: Silverdale Way and Ridgetop, Randall and Bucklin Hill. Also Kitsap Mall Boulevard and Randall Way. Seems like a good way for the county to benefit financially and keep our roads safer.

The out basket: I don’t share Phil’s appreciation of red light cameras, which seem mostly to capture California right turns (just slowing not stopping when the light is red) which does make things safer for pedestrians in crosswalks. But the cameras do little or nothing for truly dangerous through-traffic red light violations, which I find to be almost imaginary, anyway. I have spent a lot of time watching supposedly dangerous intersections and have yet to see a red light violation that nearly created a collision, let alone created one.

I don’t know if the county shares my gimlet-eyed assessment of the cameras, but I’m happy to report that Jeff Shea, the county traffic engineer, says simply, “We are not considering red light cameras in unincorporated Kitsap County at this time.”

As an aside, I wonder if Californians have a different term for California stops.

 

Parked cars on Dickey Road are OK

The in basket: Peter Wimmer asks, “What is the legality of continued parking on a county road? Along Dickey Road in Silverdale, there are three vehicles that park just far enough off of the road, a couple of feet, from the pavement everyday for over a month. They are not abandoned, I see them warming up as I go to work in the morning, and are not normally there during the day. They seem to belong to the residents on Discovery Ridge Court. It looks to be an unsafe parking area and I wasn’t too worried until there was a large black trailer parked over night further down the road closer to the road and unable to see it in the dark.
“I do not know if it was with the three others, but it lends to telling people it is OK to park along the roads, not a habit I want people to get in to.
“Also, the shoulder area by the three vehicles is now getting rutted up from the rain and parking of vans and a truck. Is there anything to be done?
The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, replies, “As long as the vehicles are off the travel way and not abandoned it would not constitute a parking violation. As for the darkness of the trailer, it is required to have red reflectivity (as all street legal vehicles are) to the rear.”

Bucklin Hill Road closure should end on time

The in basket: During my intermittent visits to Silverdale, I come to wonder how the replacement of the Clear Creek culverts with a bridge on Bucklin Hill Road is coming, whether it’s on, ahead of or behind schedule and the likely date for reopening the road.

The county’s Web site describes the work being done each week, but I didn’t find anything about the time line.

It’s easy for me to be blasé about the difficulties the work creates for drivers, being there only every other week or so. Still, from what I’ve seen, I’d rather drive there during the construction that on I-5 on an average weekday morning.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, the county’s senior project manager says the work seems to be slightly ahead of schedule.

“The overall project is on schedule for completion and opening of the roadway in July,” she said, then added, “That is in essence ahead of schedule as we have been planning a 14-month closure, and we are now looking at no more than 13 months.

“The exact date in July will be determined this spring when all unknowns have been accounted for. We have encountered some challenges with the utility work, finding unknown utilities and old timbers, slowing down the utility work and requiring engineering revisions.

“As we get out of the ground, the unknowns are less likely, and we can be more certain of the completion date.  The contractor may be adding hours and working on Saturdays to assure a July completion.

“We have heard from the public that they like to know what is happening, so we started updating the webpage (www.bucklinhill.com) weekly with the activities taking place.”

Hey, it’s LeVEEN and MIRE roads, I’m told

The in basket: Lillis King writes, “Now that there is a light at Levin Road (in Silverdale), would you remind your readers that the road’s name is pronounced — le VEEN?

“You may know the history of the Swedish immigrant who settled in the Clear Creek Valley and whose house still stands on the Gerald Peterson property<” she said. “Parts of the old Levin (le VEEN) Road can still be traced from Silverdale to almost Poulsbo because it was the main road from Silverdale to Poulsbo, according to Gerry Pederson, once my neighbor.

“You can find more about John Levin on page 468 in the “KItsap County, a History,” published by the Kitsap Historical Society,” she said.

“It drives me crazy to hear people call the road — LEH vin. I hope you can reach many people to know who this pioneer was and how he pronounced his Swedish name.”

The out basket: I’m among the offenders who have called in LEHvin Road and Lillis’ e-mail is the first I’d heard that I was wrong.

But it’s not the first assertion I’ve heard that the common pronunciation of a road in Silverdale is wrong.

Back in the days when Harlan Beery was a sportswriter for this paper, he told me that the road that runs between Harrison Hospital’s Silverdale campus and the complex where Costco sits is not MY-REE road. It, too, is named for a Silverdale pioneer and the name is pronounced MIRE, he said.

I’ve been saying Mire ever since. I don’t know why My-REE has become the pronunciation of choice for so many. The defunct Myhre’s restaurant in Port Orchard, which was a fixture there for decades until its second fire and closure, may have something to do with it, but I’m guessing there’s some other reason.

Rush-hour incidents in Silverdale blamed on noise wall

The in basket: Dave Matney sees a problem with the southbound off-ramp from Highway 3 to Highway 303 and Silverdale.

“This off-ramp makes a blind turn around a tall concrete wall, then opens up and splits into three lanes leading up to the signal. Normally this process flows smoothly, (but) occasional traffic will back up onto SR-3 well before the blind turn. This happens very quickly and violently, one second you’re cruising in the outer lane doing 60mph, the next instantly slamming on your brakes to keep from rear-ending the guy in front of you.

“The signal changes, everybody starts to flow and the traffic clears out. Except the ones that did not get stopped in time. The second time this happened to me,” Dave said, “I was not going to stop in time, swerved to the right shoulder and came to a stop next to the car in front of me. The car behind me came to a stop behind the car in front of me, where I should have been. I heard a screeching sound and looked in my rear view mirror in time to see the off-ramp sign fall backwards with a car on top of it. My quick action saved the three of us from being in an accident.”

State troopers and tow trucks were on the scene when he came back the other way, he said.

“Over the last year, I have had this happen to me three times and have witnessed three other occurrences,” Dave says. “It always happens in the afternoons, between 3 and 5 p.m., coinciding with the Bangor commute that starts at 3 and lots of traffic is flowing out of both the Trident and Trigger avenue gates heading south in the outside lane.

“What is the purpose of this wall? Normally these walls are built for sound dampening when the freeway backs up to a housing development. But in this case there is no housing, just a ball field. The sharp turn with a wall blocks the driver’s sight line from seeing the traffic back up.

“Has the state patrol starting noticing this trend at this location?

“Maybe a warning sign,  ‘Traffic can backup suddenly.'”

The out basket: It is a noise wall, designed to reduce roadway noise from reaching the play field behind it, says Claudia Bingham Baker of the state highway department. She says she’s unaware of any plans to modify it.

State Trooper Russ Winger says, “We have not observed abnormally high collision numbers in this area. Collisions do occur there but many of those occur at the right turn yield sign (at the top of the off-ramp).

“We have had collisions occur in the straight section on SR3  when traffics backs up during heavy volumes and anywhere in between up to the intersection. The bulk of these collisions – rear end type –  are usually attributed to A) following  too closely. B) speed too fast for conditions. C) driver inattention.

“I am not so sure it is a sight distance problem rather than a driver awareness problem. Traffic can and does back up here during peak traffic times and I’m sure there are plenty of close calls that go unnoticed but it does not appear to be greatly different than other congested urban sections in Kitsap County.

“We have a fairly high collision rate on SR303 at the various intersections between Riddell and Fairgrounds roads. These are straight roadways with long sight distances. Many of the collisions are also rear-end collisions with some intersection collisions. Again, the various contributing factors noted above are the causing factors, along with running signal lights.”

New stores will worsen Greaves/Old Frontier, reader predicts

The in basket: Shun Hung Ling e-mails with the latest complaint I’ve gotten about the somewhat unusual intersection of Greaves Way and Old Frontier Road west of Silverdale. About the only problem there he didn’t mention is the visibility of the traffic island where westbound Greaves traffic turns right onto Old Frontier, the most common complaint I get about that spot.

“The signs indicate the traffic on (eastbound) Old Frontier Road heading towards the mall has the right of way,” his e-mail said, “including when they make a left turn to continue on towards Trigger Avenue.

“The traffic on Old Frontier Road heading south must turn left onto Greaves towards the mall or right towards Anderson Hill Road.  The problem here is the two lanes on Old Frontier going south have a stop sign.  The inside car trying to turn left can not see the oncoming traffic when there’s a car in the outside lane trying to turn right.

“When traffic coming east on Old Frontier Road and turning left to continue north has the right of way, they tend to drive somewhat fast and turn left cutting corners, threatening the car wanting to turn left on to Greaves Road.”

Traffic will continue to build with the opening of the new shopping plaza at Greaves and Highway 303, he said, making those problems worse.

He thinks the intersection needs a traffic signal or at least to have the Old Frontier stop signs moved back five or six feet “so both car lanes on Old Frontier heading south can see the traffic coming from their right before they make their turn.

I asked Kitsap County Public Works if any modifications to recognize the increased traffic with the opening of the new plaza are planned.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, county traffic engineer, says, “Before developing the Greaves Way project we looked at current and future traffic volumes. The signal at Clear Creek Road was warranted for current volumes, and installed at the time the road was developed.  The then-current volumes did not warrant the signal at Frontier Road.

“We evaluated it using estimated future volumes and a signal was warranted based on growth and future development’s bringing additional vehicle volumes.

“We did install much of the underground electrical system for a new signal at Frontier Road based on that evaluation.  We continue to monitor the traffic volume at that intersection. As it gets close to meeting volume (criteria), we will propose a signal installation as a future project.

“Stop lines for multi-lane stops can be difficult to navigate when traffic occupies both lanes,” he said. “Stop lines at non-signalized intersections are not usually staggered. Motorists tend to stop as close to the intersection as possible, especially drivers that are familiar with the intersection.

“We consider a couple of things when placing stop lines.  They have to be at least four feet behind the nearest line if there is a marked crosswalk.  We mark them as close to the intersection as possible to give motorists better sight distance to see cross traffic.

“We also try to keep them out of shoulders to help protect pedestrians and bicyclists.

“State law states that a driver must stop at the stop line if one exists, but the driver is allowed to move forward after stopping to see oncoming traffic better,” Jeff said.

Silverdale Post Office access is a puzzle

The in basket: Jerry VanFossen of Silverdale passed along a complaint voiced at a recent meeting of the Central Kitsap Community Council about traffic flow at the Silverdale Post Office.

A woman told the group that she was “almost killed” while trying to turn left fromSilverdale Way into the northern access to the post office parking lot . Another driver was turning left out of that access and they might have collided but for good fortune.

The council asked Jerry to find out if leaving the parking lot via that access was permitted. He asked me.

The out basket: There are no signs at the northern access to help answer that question. The southern access provides a hint with a one-way sign pointing into the lot, which means don’t exit there. And the striping in the lot hints at the same, with the spaces angled toward the exit.

Getting any guidance from the post office was futile. I left phone messages when I was lucky enough to get a person to answer, electronic messages when I was able to reach a mailbox that wasn’t full and unable to take messages, and visited once and left a lengthy written description of what I wanted to know. I never got a return call.

Finally an employee who didn’t want to give me her name told me the post office is between postmasters and the previous one was leaving about the time I left my long written message. She said they “are waiting for things to get better” after a replacement is named.

She also said a woman had complained about the parking lot about a month ago, perhaps the same woman who addressed the community council.

I asked Trooper Russ Winger of the state patrol here who would be responsible in a collision between left turners, one in a two-way turn lane and the other entering from a side street.

It turns out Russ knows that parking lot first hand and replied, “If you look at that parking lot and roadway on Google Earth it becomes clear (in my opinion) that the parking lot is designed to be one-way. The parking stalls are angled to allow easy turns into them from the north. The south end is clearly marked with signage as one-way, exit only with right or left turn. There is no southern entrance to the parking lot.

“Drivers do wrongly enter there on occasion and I have seen exiting vehicles honk at the offending drivers,” he said. ” They usually try and sneak in quickly and grab a close parking stall as traffic clearly does not flow in that direction. Most customers who use the post office there on a regular basis know this.

“I have used the lot on many occasions and have not seen anyone try and exit to the north,” he said.  “Normal daytime traffic there is so busy it would be like walking the wrong way on a busy one-way escalator. It’s sometimes difficult to even back out of a parking stall with the volume of parked vehicles and traffic flowing in from the north.

“I think you can exit at the north end of the lot but it seems to be clearly intended for post office employee use. If you did find yourself attempting to exit at the north end you would be required to yield to traffic on Silverdale Way first. The vehicles already on the roadway have the right of way,” Russ said.

Bucklin Hill power pole work not finished

The in basket: I took Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale the other day just to check out the new power poles that were installed, closing that major thoroughfare to traffic for much of a recent week.

I noticed that each has an array of three arms at their tops with no wires suspended from them. Three lower arms carry the wires the smaller poles on each side of the new ones carry.

I wondered if Puget Sound Energy was planning way into the future or perhaps a power upgrade is coming.

The out basket: Akiko Oda of PSE says six more new poles are coming to Bucklin Hill Road in March, and they’ll match the poles installed during the closure. The three upper arms then will be put to use.

The remaining work will require closing only one lane, she said, with flaggers directing alternating traffic through the closure.

That still leaves a year of complete closure where Bucklin Hill Road crosses Clear Creek beginning this July. The recent closure served as a test of how drivers will adjust to that.

I stayed away from the area of the closure while it was happening, but the traffic between Highway 303 and Costco uphill from it didn’t seem much affected. Nor did I hear much of an outcry from drivers. What say you, readers?