Tag Archives: speed

No boat speed limits at Hood Canal Bridge, but….

The in basket: Trish Olson says, “When we moved to property out by the Hood Canal Bridge, we were told that Navy/government marine traffic, when going under the bridge (transfer spans) versus through the bridge, had to maintain a speed which would not cause excessive waves.

“Is that accurate?” she asks. “I have noticed in the past few years that government vessels (mostly Coast Guard) go quite fast and the subsequent waves are substantial.

“I’m not sure if that’s damaging our oyster beds, but will check that out as well,” she said.

The out basket: The state and Coast Guard both say they impose no boat speed limits there or elsewhere.

Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said, “There are some areas in the county where boating speed is regulated by county code.  Most are on lakes and involve the type of motor that can be used.

“From time to time the county commissioners may pass a temporary ordinance restricting wake speed or boating activity during specific events or incidents, for example:  hydroplane races on Dyes Inlet or when the Orca whales have appeared in Dyes Inlet.

“There are no speed restrictions or limits for waterborne travel under the spans of the Hood Canal Bridge.

But “Vessels traveling within 150 feet of a shoreline are not supposed to leave a wake,” he said.

I asked if KCSO enforce that and he said yes, that the operator of a motorized boat doing so would be in violation of Kitsap County Code 10.36.130.

“More often, deputies with the sheriff’s marine services unit would rather educate (warn / advise) boaters against creating a wake within 150 feet of shore than issue a notice of infraction, seeking voluntary compliance.”

He provided the phone numbers at which to complain directly to the Navy or Coast Guard about their vessel speeds, which he advised for anyone upset about their vessels.

– Naval Base Kitsap Public Affairs Office:  (360) 627-4030

– U. S. Coast Guard, 13th District Operations Center, Seattle:  (206) 220-7001.

“If one is familiar with the waters around the Hood Canal Bridge,” he added, “the wakes that motorized boats are creating are nothing compared to the normal wear and tear that the winds and the natural movement of the waters create.”

Do highly reflective plates aid speed enforcement?

The in basket: An online commenter who goes by Mike made the following surprising comment on the Road Warrior column at kitsapsun.com, about the requirement for front license plates in this state .

“Of course there is no plan to eliminate the front plate,” he said. “The State Patrol (revenue collectors?) need the nice reflective surface for their laser guns to check your compliance while they sit in the unmarked car without lights on the right-of-way in the dark. This is the real reason that you are forced to replace perfectly good plates every few years!”

I’ve never really understood resentment about the way one gets caught doing wrong, which seems to underlie Mike’s complaint. But I suppose it’s no different that the well established practice of throwing out court cases if the search that led to the arrest is found wanting.

I asked whether Mike is right about laser’s reliance on the plates, and whether there is anything to prohibit roadside speed enforcement at night from a darkened patrol car.

The out basket: Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the State Patrol detachments here says, “In no way does a reflective license plate contribute to the effectiveness of a radar/laser.  The purpose of a front license plate on a vehicle is strictly for identification purposes.

“There is nothing (in the) law or WSP policy that prohibits police vehicles (marked or unmarked) from performing radar speed enforcement at night. That includes parking stationary with lights out.” she said.

What is speed limit approaching Warren Avenue Bridge?

The in basket: Julia LaFontaine of Tracyton says there was a 35 mph speed limit sign on southbound Wheaton Way as one approaches the Warren Avenue Bridge, a bit past the intersection with Sheridan, before the city of Bremerton built its off-ramp there a couple of years ago. 

“I’m guessing it was in the way of construction of the new off-ramp to the Sheridan Park area,” she said, ” but . . . where is it now?  There’s no sign now from the intersection to the other 35 mph sign just where the bridge deck begins (after the on-ramp there). 

“I use that route (along Tracyton Beach Road and up Sheridan) three to five times a week,” she said. “I’m a rules follower, and whatever the speed limit is, that’s what I go on surface streets. I do sometimes get up to 65 on the freeway, but on surface streets and rural roads there are always joggers, people crossing to a mailbox, animals, hidden driveways, all kinds of unexpected things possibly just around a curve.  

“When turning onto the bridge I’ve been using the 30 mph of Wheaton as my guide, until I get to the further sign, but people are always on my tail or rushing past in the left lane. 

“Will they ever replace that sign?” she asked. ” Or is 30 intended to be the correct speed until you reach that second sign? There was a long stretch at 35 before reaching the second sign.” 

The out basket: Brenden Clarke, head of the state’s local project office, says Julie is mistaken, that there was no 35 mph sign where the city built its off-ramp to Callahan Drive and Lebo Boulevard. He included a photo of the spot taken prior to the construction, he said, viewed from the north, and no sign is visible.

I don’t have any contrary recollection of the speed limit history there. 

“The correct speed limit at this location is indeed 30 mph,” Brenden said. “It’s 30 mph until you reach the 35 mph speed limit sign at the bridge.”

I’m not surprised that Julia feels pressure to speed up from drivers behind her.  Most drivers don’t adhere to the speed limit like she does, especially on straight stretches like that approaching the bridge. But they can always pass her if they want to go faster.

“Your Speed Is” sign on a trial run

The in basket: There’s a shiny new “Your speed is” sign on Silverdale Way heading south. I asked the county whether it’s something we’ll be seeing more of.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says “The sign is a demo loaner from a vendor so we can evaluate its effectiveness. 

“Other communities, including Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue, have had success in calming traffic with this type of sign. We used the same sign a few weeks ago on Lemolo Shore Road. We saw a fairly significant slowing of traffic due to the sign.”

The sign told me I was doing 23 mph when I passed it in Silverdale Wednesday evening, so something was slowing traffic.

“If the sign proves effective, we may request funding in the next budget cycle to acquire some,” Jeff said. “The signs cost between $5,000 and $10,000 each.”