Tag Archives: striping

Driver wonders about Belfair center striping

The in basket: Martha Washington says, “The southern segment of the current Belfair widening project seems to be mostly done, but I hope not. Do they really plan to keep the new lane markings as they currently are?

“Instead of a center turn lane in front of Belfair Elementary, there are three travel lanes. one southbound lane and two northbound.  Anyone needing to make a left into the school is still going to be making their turn from the travel lane.

“If it’s because buses can’t make the turn out of the school and stay in their lane, why didn’t they just give that side a wider shoulder or expand the driveway?” she asked.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways replies, “We have not completed the final striping yet on this project.  The final configuration will stripe a two-way left-turn lane between the school and Roessel.  That final striping will occur next year when we get into drier weather.”

County standard for striping rural roads explained

The in basket: Judy Runquist writes, “Last year the county put oil and gravel the length of JH Road in south Kitsap. They have never returned to paint lane markings. Since this is an unlighted road it was really nice to have lane markings and fog line markings to help you see where the road was. Why hasn’t the county painted the lines?”

The out basket: There are no plans to restore the striping, if it was striped before the gravel and oil treatment, called a chip seal.

Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, cites the requirements set forth in the federal document governing such issues.

“The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires that we stripe rural arterials and collectors that have at least 3,000 vehicles per day using the road.  JH Road does not meet this requirement.  That said, Kitsap County goes beyond the minimum requirements identified in the MUTCD, and we stripe all roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or greater.”

JH Road doesn’t meet that standard either, with its 30 mph speed limit.

Extra wide stripes no help with speeds; crash impacts uncertain

The in basket: On a recent car trip to Shelton, I noticed that the state had applied the experimental wide striping to the edge and lane lines on Highway 3 through the Pickering Road intersection north of the city. The painted lines are twice as wide as the ordinary striping.

The wider lines were installed two years ago on South Shore Road (Highway 106) along Hood Canal and on Highway 303 between Purdy and Allyn. The idea was to give drivers the impression the highway is narrower than it is, causing them to drive more slowly. At the time, the state said it would evaluate the striping over the ensuing year to see if it accomplished that goal.

I asked what that evaluation showed.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham Baker of the state highway department’s Olympic Region, says,

“Applying the 8-inch wide striping was a pilot project to evaluate its effectiveness as a speed-management and crash-reduction tool. Wider striping makes the lane appear more narrow, and we wanted to see if that perception deterred speeding and helped people stay in the lane.

“Our before/after speed study showed no significant difference in operating speeds. We are still collecting crash data to see if the wider striping is helping people stay in the lane. It takes 3-4 years to collect enough data to have meaningful conclusions. At present we do not plan to apply wider striping in new locations.”

Striping puzzle on SR305 explained

The in basket: Aaron Clark e-mailed on Sept 8 to say, “Noticed a few weeks ago that they paved just the centerline (about 2 feet wide) of 305 from past Poulsbo to about the Masi Shop.  My guess is it was done to remove the centerline rumble strip.  I’m wondering whether installing the rumble strip was a test, or if it’s been removed as a test.  It has been at least a month and the road hasn’t been restriped yet.”

The out basket: It probably is by now. Claudia Bingham Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highways, said on Monday, “Our goal with the work in that area was to extend the two-way turn lane to include access to a couple more businesses. The rumble strips were paved over permanently because you don’t have rumble strips in turn lanes.”

If weather allowed, the new stripes were to be applied Tuesday night., she said.

Passing at intersections is illegal, regardless of the striping

The in basket: Bob Miller writes, “I moved into rural South Kitsap in the last year, and am slowly becoming familiar with the roads that crisscross the area.
On our way home the other evening, my girlfriend remarked that she was scared making the turn off Olalla Valley Road SE onto southbound Banner Road to get to our house, because there is a northbound passing zone that would seem to make collisions with a car making that right turn inevitable.
“I haven’t looked at it great detail, but when I pull up the intersection on Google Maps, sure enough, the passing zone seems a lot closer than one would think it should be to avoid the possibility of a collision.”

The out basket: Aside from the occasional “No Passing,” sign, the only indicators of where it’s OK or forbidden to pass are the stripes in the road. It was news to me that proximity to an intersection affected that striping. I’d always regarded driver visibility due to hills or curves to be the the only criteria that guides the striping.

I looked in the state laws and found that passing near an intersection to be illegal.

I drove Banner Road – and Sedgwick, while is was in the area – and noticed don’t-pass striping only at intersections near a hill or curve. I asked Kitsap County Public Works if I’d been missing something all these years.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer, replied, “The county marks no-passing zones where hills and curves restrict the visibility of oncoming vehicles.  We do this in accordance with federal guidance spelled out in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

“The requirement is solely based on the speed limit posted on the road.  If the road has a centerline, we are required to establish no-passing zones.

“Similar to other traffic regulations we do not sign or mark, we assume motorists are aware of the rules of the road and know that passing is restricted within 100 feet of an intersection.  RCW 46.61.125 (1) (b) is very clear that you cannot pass another vehicle near or in an intersection.

“If the county were to try and mark all no passing zones at intersections, it would be very problematic and not necessarily safer.  State law only recognizes intersections as where two or more public roads meet.  So private roads and commercial accesses would not be recognized as intersections and not striped for no passing.  In many cases these private and commercial accesses to public roads see much more traffic than a low volume public side road.

“Our county roads have thousands of accesses to them; both public and private.  A car can come out from them at any time.  When passing anytime on county roads, I would recommend using extreme caution,” Jeff said.


Striping in a tight S-curve is no picnic

The in basket: Bob Cairns of Olalla says, “Recently lower Banner Road in Olalla was restriped with the exception of the very dangerous s-curves whose lines are obscured, doubtless, in large measure, from being ridden or crossed over by traffic.

“Was this an oversight? Does the county plan to return and restripe this area?”

The out basket: It’s a logistical thing, says Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer.

“Sharp corners like this are very challenging for a striping crew,” he said. “As good as they are, this situation is nearly impossible to restripe after the original stripe is painted.”

He attached a photo of what can result from trying.  “Each subsequent line is slightly off the original which makes the line look like a solid very wide line,” he said.

“Safety is also a factor on sharp limited visibility corners such as this. The striper maintains a constant speed when striping to get the required thickness of paint. At the same time it is essential that the driver be watching the centerline for a straight true line. Add the difficulty of a large truck with a long wheel base which makes cornering even more difficult.

“So it is pretty easy to see how difficult it would be for the driver to maintain speed while trying to maneuver a sharp limited visibility corner, not to mention narrow road with oncoming traffic.

“We are looking at alternative methods for the centerline, either thermoplastic line or raised pavement markings.  Either solution should make the corner very visible and easier to maneuver while staying in the correct lane of traffic,” he said.

When county striping sprays your car….

The in basket: Kim Rye wrote to say, “On August 7, I was on McWilliams Road making a left turn onto Highway 303. The county truck came up the road past me spraying lines the entire time.

“No problem, that’s their purpose. (But) I realized when I returned home that the paint had over-sprayed onto my car from front to back.

“When the county was notified, they sent me information on how to remove the paint myself. Evidently, this happens quite frequently. Following the instructions, I was not able to remove the paint from my car or the molding without potentially damaging the finish.

“So the county’s protocol for the auto owner to receive professional help with the paint removal is to have the owner get two estimates from a repair shop, fill out a damage claim that can be downloaded from their website and have it notarized. You are to send said documents to the Risk Management Department for review. They will then get back to you.

“I don’t understand why it was MY responsibility to drive all over the county to get estimates and to find a notary,” Kim said. “Gas is not cheap. If I worked a full-time job, I would have lost time and possibly money from work.  If this happens as often as it appears, why don’t they contract out with a company that can take care of this in a timely manner?

“One of the places I went to for an estimate is contracted by the city of Bremerton to handle these situations. There were AT LEAST four to five other cars in the turn lane, as well. “The lowest estimate I got was over $200.  This is a very expensive problem. Maybe they should ‘re-think’ a better way to handle the line-painting as well as keeping from having to deal with the aggravation AFTER the fact,” she concluded.

The out basket: Tim Perez, Kitsap County risk manager, says, “While we understand that it can be cumbersome for some individuals to go through the claims process, Kitsap County is required to abide by all laws related to filing a tort claim against a government entity.

“Until a claim is investigated and filed through the appropriate channels, we cannot say if it will be a claim which the county would be accepting liability for or not. As it is our responsibility to protect the county’s assets and to ensure appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, every claim we receive must be investigated and determined based upon the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident.

“Kitsap County makes every effort to investigate claims quickly and if it is determined that the county is at fault, we attempt to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

“In the case of paint claims, since we do not know at the time of the call if the claim will be covered, we offer the paint removal instructions so that the caller is able to take immediate action to mitigate their damages in case they are responsible for the removal cost.

“The paint removal instructions are easy to understand and follow, and more often than not remove the paint completely without any further effort on the part of the caller or the county. If the driver follows the paint removal instructions, additional detail services are generally not necessary.”

The law doesn’t prohibit the county from establishing a contract with a single provider, such as Kim suggests, Tim said. “This is a good suggestion and Risk Management will assess whether an agreement of this nature would be feasible and appropriate,” but he said he doesn’t intend to introduce it for now.

“At the time of an incident, Risk Management does not know whether it will be a covered claim,” he said. “If indeed it is a covered claim, the remedy may not always be routine and therefore specific arrangements may need to be made to assist the individual.”


Northlake Way center line striping raises questions

The in basket: Bernie Fleming of Northlake Way just north of Bremerton wasn’t sure what to make of changed center line striping on his road.

“Until recently, passing was allowed on Northlake Way,” he wrote in August. “Due to our neighborhood problems, the

county has placed two stripes down the center of the road with intermittent stripes between the two

continuous yellow ones. Great!

“Now the problem. There are three residences on our paved road off of Northlake. Two other families

use this road as a secondary access.

Until the recent re-striping, there was a break in the single

stripe allowing us to legally turn left from Northlake into our road. Now there are two stripes at

that point.

“Can we still legally turn left from Northlake onto our road? Was this new striping perhaps inadvertent?

“We need the no-passing zone on Northlake, but we also need to get to our homes legally without a long trip down the road to turn around.”

At first this seemed to be another instance of the common misconception that it’s illegal to turn left across double yellow lines. It is not, in this state. The lines just prohibit passing.

Left turns are forbidden only by a single line 18-inches wide or more, like in front of Silverdale Baptist Church on Highway 303, or by cross-hatching between the solid lines.

But that intermittent dashed line between the two solid stripes on Northlake was a new one on me. I had to ask its meaning.

The out basket:  It turns out the striping WAS inadvertent, but it still forbids passing and still allows left turns.

Kitsap County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “This is the result of a malfunction with our paint striper.  A solenoid stuck and we couldn’t turn the spray gun off. By the time we cycled it enough times to shut it off we had a continuous solid line.

“Although you will not see this configuration in any manuals or guidance documents, the law is clear that if you face a solid yellow line, you cannot pass another vehicle.”

So Bernie and other Northlake Way residents who wanted a no-passing zone got one without the county actually intending to do it.

Though not a standard striping pattern, they will leave it as it is, Jeff says.

Short South Kitsap road needs striping, reader argues

The in basket: Chris Olmstead of South Kitsap asks, “Is there any law that says a road needs painted lines?  Harris Road has zero pained lines since it was paved nearly two years ago.

Harris Road is a straight shot between Lund Avenue and Salmonberry Road.
“The lack of a middle line creates a hazard when drivers drive in the middle of the road,” Chris said. “At night, the lack of lines makes seeing the corner at Harris and Lund (difficult). Some of the side of the road have been driven on.”

The out basket: Chris is mostly right, although there is about 20 yards of well-worn centerline stripe on Harris near Salmonberry Road.

Jeff Shea, Kitsap County’s traffic engineer, says, “The only mandates we have for striping are on paved urban arterials and collectors with traffic volumes of 6,000 cars per day.  The (federal) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices states that urban arterials and collectors with 4,000 vehicles per day and rural arterials and collectors with 3,000 vehicles or more per day should be striped.  The ‘should’ statement doesn’t make it mandatory to stripe these roads, but we do stripe them.  We can also stripe roads for other reasons such as road alignment, collision history or parking conflicts.  For the most part, we don’t stripe 30 mph or less posted speed limit, local access roads.

“Harris Road is classified a local access road with a posted speed limit of 25 mph,” Jeff said. “Traffic volumes on the road are only about 1,000 vehicles per day.



Saturday striping in Poulsbo raises question

The in basket: Cathy Friesen wonders why the Kitsap County road workers were painting center lines, which “I perceive as regular maintenance,” she said, on Saturday, May 8. 

“We ran across this on the Olhava Way in Poulsbo.  Are these workers receiving double time or overtime for doing this regular maintenance work on Saturday?  These roads were totally drivable and in no way in any kind of urgent or emergency attention,” she said.

The out basket: Jeff Shea, the county’s transportation engineer has the explanation.

 “Your reader did see county crews working in Poulsbo that Saturday,” he said. “Kitsap County contracts with the City of Poulsbo for striping services. Due to the ongoing demands of our own striping program for county-maintained roads we can’t provide striping services to others during the regular workday. “When we contracted with the city,” Jeff said, ” they understood that to provide the services we would need to do the work on weekends. The City of Poulsbo pays all costs, including overtime, materials, labor and equipment for the work done for them by county traffic maintenance crews. 

 “That being said,” he went on, ” there is another reason for weekend paving. Arterial roads generally have less traffic on weekends than they do during the week. Less traffic allows the striping operation to be completed more quickly, and in some instances can offset the additional labor costs associated with overtime. 

“Lower traffic volumes also reduce the chance of motorists driving through wet paint, which can create a host of problems on its own,” Jeff said. “Some county-maintained roads are striped on weekends, mostly in Silverdale.

 “It is a balancing act between costs, efficiency, and inconvenience for motorists. We work hard each year to ensure we utilize the resources we have effectively.”