Tag Archives: silverdale

Bayshore left-turn lane on Bucklin Hill Road is hard to see

The in basket: Rosemary Crow e-mailed to say, “The crosswalk signs on Central Valley Road near Fairview school have yellow paint that shows up really well at night. Is there any chance we could get a coat of that paint on the post at the entry to the left turn off Bucklin Hill Road onto Bayshore Drive in Silverdale? That left turn lane is nearly invisible at night, especially a rainy night.

“The white reflector is so old it hardly shows at all. The paint on the curb is also old and hard to see.

“We travel this route twice a week at night and in the winter it is very difficult to see even though we know it is there.”

The out basket: I knew that the water main replacement work in Silverdale still has some excavation and restoration yet to do at that intersection, and I asked the county if the turn could be made more visible then.

Doug Bear, spokesman for county public works, replied, “This is not part of the Silverdale Water project. Our traffic division is looking at ways to more clearly delineate the turn lane. This could include increasing the reflective content of the stripe there, or other strategies to make the turn more visible.

“The fix there will depend on weather and may have to wait for the spring striping window,” he said.


Overhead traffic sensor images can be viewed remotely

The in basket: I learned something surprising in preparing for a talk to the Silverdale Rotary recently. Tina Nelson, senior program manager for Kitsap County Public Works and its spokeswoman on the upcoming closure of Bucklin Hill Road, said there will be some re-timing of traffic signals in Silverdale to accommodate the detouring of the 20,000 or so cars that normally use Bucklin Hill Road. But most of it will wait until observations show where changes are needed.

Moreover, she said, they can adjust a signal’s timing remotely and right away based on what they see via the overhead traffic detectors the county increasingly uses in place of the in-pavement wires that use metal mass of the vehicles straddling them to detect waiting traffic.

It was the first I’d heard that the overhead sensors, at the top of tall poles on the signal cross-arms, send images to the signal office. I’d assumed they just reacted to changes in the traffic they were focused on.

Perhaps mindful of the reaction from our more privacy-sensitive citizens to government recording of the public, Tina was careful to say she thinks the sensors aren’t designed to capture license plates or the faces of car occupants, and that the images aren’t recorded. She also was careful to say she wasn’t an expert on the sensors, and suggested I double-check.

The out basket: Doug Bear, spokesman for the public works department, said, “Is it possible that a license or face could be seen in an individual frame. That said, the images are not retained. It is just a live feed.”

New Silverdale restaurant access worries reader

The In Basket: Shireen Kennedy of Kingston e-mailed to say, “I hope you can help to illuminate the situation regarding access that will be used when the new Oak Tree restaurant is built in Silverdale.

“It appears that the new location will be on Mt Vintage Way at the end of the road. There is currently a senior apartment complex located at the end of this road.  There is also a couple of medical clinics as well just past Target.

“It appears that there is an easement through the parking lot of Mt Vintage Apartments. It concerns me that this parking lot may be used for the entrance of the new restaurant facility.

“My mother lives at these apartments so I visit this area at least once a week.  It does not make sense that a road will be going through a senior apartment building’s parking lot.  I see a major safety concern here for residents. Many residents walk their dogs in this area. Also some residents use this path with their electric wheelchairs. ”

“Can you verify for me how the city plans to provide adequate access and egress for the restaurant?

The out basket: It’s actually the Oak Table Cafe, and Kitsap County, not a city, has planning jurisdiction.

The restaurant’s site is being carved out of the hillside just northwest of the senior citizen complex, a major earth-moving feat for an eatery that describes itself as a breakfast and brunch restaurant.

Ross McCurdy, who is having the new cafe built along with wife Nicole to relocate one by the same name they operate in Kingston, said that earth work was factored into the selling price of the parcel, making it a viable site for a restaurant that will close at 3 p.m. each day.

Shawn Alire, development services and engineering supervisor in Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development tells me, “Mt. Vintage Way and the easement are private and Kitsap County has no jurisdiction over who uses these roads, but the access was reviewed for emergency vehicle access requirements prior to approving the development permits.

“A 20-foot unobstructed drivable surface is required and was shown for the development,” he said. “The Oak Table restaurant drive does not pass through the senior apartment complex parking lot but does access at the most northwestern corner of the site. The easement runs along the northern side of the parking lot and on a side note…the easement/access is owned by the Oak Table property and the senior housing complex uses the easement.

“Safety improvements for pedestrians proposed by the applicant include a sidewalk and crossing areas within their development.”

Ross says their driveway will be less steep than Mt. Vintage Way and will meet applicable slope restrictions. Construction is about to begin and he hopes for a May opening. It will seat  135 and employ about 40.

It will be the highest building in Silverdale, he said, and have a great view. He expects residents of the senior apartments to find it a real plus, not a traffic problem.

Silverdale interchange is no place to try odd left-turn-on-red law

The in basket: Ben Pearson e-mailed to say, “I know that left turns on red are legal onto a one-way road like an on-ramp but can they be used at that odd intersection of Highway 303 and Highway 3 where you are crossing over the traffic lane?”
The out basket: Ben is in the minority, as most drivers don’t know that that is legal. I write about it a lot, but it hadn’t occurred to me until Ben asked that it technically would apply to left turns from eastbound Highway 303 to northbound Highway 3 in Silverdale.
It would be wildly unwise to try it there. To do it legally one must make a complete stop at the red light before proceeding and be sure no traffic with a green light would conflict with the turn. It can be done only onto a one-way street.
That Silverdale intersection is so long, with a hump in the middle, that it would be difficult if not impossible to see conflicting traffic that would make the turn illegal – and would risk a fender bender or worse.
“It would be a crazy thing to try and if there isn’t a sign already prohibiting it, there should be,” I told Ben, and asked State Trooper Russ Winger, my State Patrol contact what he thought.
“I would agree,” he said. “That would not be a simple left turn from a stop line to the ramp. You must travel several hundred feet prior to even making the left turn.
“The timing of the lights, distance and design of the roadway make that type of turn, at a minimum, unsafe. The intersection can be confusing already for some drivers not familiar with it and that type of action would not be safe at all in that location.”
But I wondered what such a sign would say. “No left turn on red” would mystify the great majority of drivers who don’t know a left turn on red is EVER legal.
Claudia Bingham Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways said, “We agree with you that drivers would have no idea what such a sign would mean, and we would not install it.”
It’s a moot point in most cases, anyway. Even where a left turn on red would be safe as well as legal, the odds of the first driver in line knowing of the odd law and daring to take advantage of it are so low it’s rarely seen.

2 flashing yellow lefts get warning signs

The in basket: Ian MacKenzie wrote on June 3 and said, ” I wrote to you a while back regarding the intersection of Randall Way and Kitsap Mall Boulevard (in Silverdale). I worried about the implication of both the southbound lanes able to turn left on a flashing (yellow) arrow.

“I just came home from a trip to Home Depot in Silverdale and made that left turn and I see that the county has installed a large sign between the signals informing people that Left Turns Yield on Flashing Yellow,” he said.

“This is the exact sign that the City of Federal Way has installed at all their flashing yellow (turn) signals.

“I would like to think that maybe we had an impact in getting that sign placed and improving the safety of the intersection.” he concluded.

The out basket: I suppose we contributed, but accident history prompted the sign’s installation, notably a fatal left-turn accident at the Kitsap Mall Boulevard-Randall Way intersection.

The same sign has been put on the left-turn signal cross-arm on Myhre Way southbound at Ridgetop Boulevard, also in Silverdale, reader Harry Gilger notes. None of the other county intersections with the yellow flashing lefts nor any of the other directions at the two in Silverdale have gotten the signs.

“We are placing that sign at intersections where collision data support additional awareness,” said Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works.

Tell me more, reader asks about restoration of Silverdale streets

The out basket: Dave Kugler was unimpressed with the county’s answer as to whether the streets of Silverdale would be restored with a full overlay when Silverdale Water District’s water main replacement project is over. The answer was no, but that any patches that didn’t meet county standards would have to be brought up to those standards.

Dave wrote, “There is no doubt that the contractor has turned Silverdale Way into a tire and suspension torture track and that significant upgrades will be required to many of the patches.

“Can you clarify why we have to pay the county to inspect this work and then formally require further repairs? The contractor, hopefully, is already working to county standards and will fix these issues without further time and expense beyond the contract.

“Then please clarify that the contractor, not the county, will be paying for the needed additional work. I can only hope the contractor is doing better work under the surface than what we see and experience on the top.”

 The out basket:  Dale Blackwood, the county’s lead right of way inspector, who provided the original answer, responded to this one too.

 “All work done by contractors working in county-owned rights-of-way requires a permit,” Dale said. “The cost of the permit includes fees charged to Silverdale Water to cover inspections for the duration of the project.

“Their permit also requires, and we regularly receive, compaction tests for materials used during all phases of the project. We work closely with the contractor doing the work on this project for Silverdale Water. The contractor is responsible for the cost of any additional work required by our periodic inspections.

“Prior to a final inspection accepting their work, all work must comply with county road standards. Silverdale Water has a 2-year bond with their contractor to ensure any additional work needed to accept the project, as well as any deficiencies emerging during that period, are addressed and paid for through the bond.

“This is a long and extensive water main replacement project and the contractor has been responsive to issues, even if we called them during weekends and holidays. With the large amount of rain this spring and the volume of traffic that regularly uses Silverdale Way, the maintenance end of this project has been challenging. We continue to work with the contractor and Silverdale Water to ensure this challenge is met,” he said.

What now with Silverdale street pavement?

The in basket: Carl Johnson of Silverdale e-mailed to ask, “Now that the water piping work by Silverdale Water District is almost done, and given the ‘patch’ work that has accompanied this project, is there any chance that Silverdale Way (and side streets) will be re-paved, and allow us a smooth driving surface?

The out basket: I had been wondering the same thing and asked Kitsap County Public Works.

Dale Blackwood, lead right of way inspector for the county, says, “There is no current plan to overlay Silverdale Way. Once the project is complete the patches will be inspected. Those that don’t meet county standards will need to be brought to those standards before final approval of the project is given.

“Overlaying the entire surface will be considered for future work once the project is completed and accepted,” he said.

Tick-tock, Ridgetop/303 signal project

The in basket: Yvonne Dean and Sam Watland are the latest to ask about the seemingly endless project to put a traffic signal at the southbound off-ramp from Highway 303 (Waaga Way) to Ridgetop Boulevard in Silverdale.

“According to the sign the highway people put up,” said Yvonne, “the road project was to be completed the end of February, but as of March 6, there still isn’t a traffic light installed.  What is the hold up now?  Before it was the pole and the state programing the signal box.”

Sam quipped that he hopes the continual delays on the signal project aren’t an omen about how long Bucklin Hill Road really will be closed this year and next for the replacement of the culverts through which Clear Creek pass under it.

Yvonne also said the heavy rains the past two weeks have raised questions in her mind about the drainage slopes nearby. “I travel the lower part of Ridgetop several times a week,” she said, “and I have noticed with the heavy rains we have been having a lot of water that never gets to the drainage areas that are in place and therefore the water tends to accumulate at lower places causing puddles.

“The specific area I am talking about is at the intersection of the exit to Ridgetop coming north from Bremerton and going right up Ridgetop Junior High.”

The out basket: The county’s weekly Road Report says work was to resume this week with modification of the bases for the signal cross-arm poles, which have arrived. Field testing of the new controller cabinet also was to be done this week and completed Friday.

“The transfer over to the new service system begins this week,” it said. “The contractor is starting additional drainage work at the ramp entering the Ridgetop Boulevard Intersection.
“Two small areas of sidewalk modifications within the project limits are also planned. Remaining channelization markings will be installed upon completion of the new signal system.
“All paint markings, including the crosswalk across Ridgetop Boulevard, will be completed after the signal is operational.  Until that work is completed pedestrians should use marked crossings at other intersection locations.”

Public Works spokesman Doug Bear ways the drainage issues described by Yvonne are outside the signal project boundaries and have “been dispatched to road maintenance crews to resolve.”



303 off-ramp to Sid Uhinck a hairy maneuver in Silverdale

The in basket: Eric Blair and Rob Davy have a quarrel with the way many drivers use the Ridgetop Boulevard intersection in Silverdale where traffic comes off of southbound Highway 303 on an off-ramp and sometimes stops either out of an excess of caution or in order to move quickly to the left to turn onto Sid Uhinck Drive.

That’s the place Kitsap County plans to put a new traffic signal if it ever gets all the needed approvals.

Eric says he uses that off-ramp often and “I almost always get stuck behind someone who is stopped, blocking the lane while waiting for traffic to clear so that they can jump lanes on Ridgetop to turn left onto Sid Uhinck.

“It appears that even with the installation of signals,” he said, “the right  turn lane from the exit ramp will continue to enter its own lane on Ridgetop, and isn’t going to be signaled. How is this going to help exiting traffic onto westbound Ridgetop?”

“Even with the light, I’ll still be waiting for cars who are trying to jump over to Sid Uhnick rather than travel westbound. Is this correct?”

Rob feels likewise and raises three objections.

He says it’s illegal to stop in a through lane to wait for traffic to clear for a lane change. The fact that the ramp is a through lane is obscured by the 90-degree curve it makes, but it has its own lane waiting on Ridgetop and neither a stop nor a yield sign controlling the turn.

Second, he argued, the solid white stripe separating that lane from the next cannot legally be crossed.

And, most tellingly, he says there isn’t enough room between the 90-degree curve and Sid Uhinck Drive for a driver to signal his lane change for the 100 feet the law requires. Two hundred feet are needed because one must change lanes twice to get from the ramp lane to the left turn lane onto Sid Uhinck, he says.

Both men want a row of pylons separating the ramp lane from the straight through lane to prevent those lane changes.

Rob even proposes a realignment that would allow those on the ramp to get to the Sid Uhinck left turn even if pylons are installed.

Let ramp drivers use the lane that allows left turns onto Ridgetop to turn right there too, both on a green light and on a red when traffic allows, he proposes. That way they could get into the Sid Uhinck left turn lane with only one lane change, for which there may be enough room to signal for the 100 feet.

The out basket: When the signal is installed, green lights for ramp traffic will stop all conflicting traffic with red lights and reduce the number of motorists who make the unnecessary stop at the 90-degree curve. Regardless of its legality, the move to Uhinck would be easier.

And single white lines don’t prohibit a lane change to another legal driving lane. Double white lines, such as those at HOV lanes, do that.

The law DOES prohibit stopping in a through lane to make a lane change. I’m sure tickets are rarely written for it, but a driver who gets hit from behind after stopping for that purpose can get a ticket as well as the driver who hit him. Many of those drivers who have been stopping where that off-ramp turns, for whatever reason, would be astounded,  I’m sure,  to learn they’re breaking the law.

As for the changes Eric and Rob propose there, County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Before we make any modifications to this intersection, we will see how it works after the signal has been operating for a while.

“The reader makes an interesting recommendation, though.  For local traffic it might work once traffic gets used to it.  It would take time away from the left turners in that lane which could upset some motorists.

“It would be difficult to provide guide signs for the visiting motorist. We try to sign and mark roads in a manner that a motorist would expect.  Turning right from an inside lane is not a normal traffic movement.  This would lead to some real frustrated motorists that are confronted with a traffic barrier if they are in the right lane and want to get onto Sid Uhinck.

“Also, the ramp falls under the jurisdiction of (the state).  They would have to be convinced to change the configuration of the signal, markings and signage,” Jeff said.

I would guess the 100 feet of signaling requirement is enforced maybe one time in 10,000 it’s violated. State Trooper Russ Winger calls it “‘technically’ illegal to jump to the left turn lane (from the ramp lane), even though HUNDREDS of vehicles accomplish this on a daily basis. I suggest the (county) install a sign – and possibly barriers – prohibiting the left turn to Sid Uhinck from the right-turn lane, if the road engineers feel it is warranted. I do not know what kind of accident profile the county has in that section since the construction, so I give observation only.”



Flashing crosswalk light in Silverdale just to attract attention

The in basket: Jo Clark writes, “Traveling east on Bucklin Hill Road at night I was in a line of cars and saw a flashing light on each side of the road – a new pedestrian crossing at Olson Road.

“The first car (I was probably #3 or #4) stopped and a man quickly crossed the road.  As soon as he crossed, traffic began to move again, including me, but the light continued to flash even after I passed it.

“This seems to be a new traffic signal. I haven’t seen this type anywhere before.  If there is no one trying to cross but the light is still flashing, should the motorist wait till the light goes off, or only wait till the pedestrian has crossed?”

The out basket: These are a fairly new traffic device here, akin to the in-pavement flashers in a crosswalk in downtown Port Orchard, but mounted on a pole. They are designed to call attention to a crosswalk and someone crossing in it.

A driver need stop only if there is a pedestrian in or poised to enter the crosswalk, regardless of the flashing lights. The rule is the same as at any crosswalk.

The county has put them at the two entrances to South Kitsap Regional Park in South Kitsap, on Central Valley Road at Foster Road, in front of Klahowya Secondary School, where the Clear Creek Trail crosses Bucklin Hill Road and just up the hill at Olson. They don’t flash unless a pedestrian pushes a button to activate them, so it’s not surprising Jo hasn’t noticed any of them. The only time I’ve seen one flash is when I pushed the button myself to test one of those at the SK park.

“The lights, officially called Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons, are a newer device that has interim approval from the Federal Highway Administration,” says Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer. “The lights are devised to give the crossing more attention from motorists. They have no legal standing. The legal requirement is predicated on the pedestrian being in the crosswalk.”

They are set to allow a walker time to travel 3.5 feet per second for the length of the crossing and about three or four seconds are added to either side of the crossing time to ensure pedestrians traffic has stopped for them, Jeff said.

So they will keep flashing well after a pedestrian crosses while running or otherwise making fast tracks.