Tag Archives: Tracyton

Reader has blitz of CK road work questions

The in basket: Wally Carlson has some questions about recent county road work in Central Kitsap.

He wonders why the county didn’t shave the crest of the hill at McWilliams and Old Military roads when it added a left turn lane there. He compared the intersection to “an infinity pool” where he can’t see oncoming traffic.

He asks why the two eastbound lanes of Bucklin Hill Road weren’t continued all the way up to Tractyton Road while the bridge over Clear Creek was being replaced and the road was widened only to Mickelberry Road.

And “while complaining,” he added. “…why use poles and not bury overhead power lines on Bucklin … think that was answered before but i forgot.. money??? not very aesthetic.. only lines in sight,” he said.

The out basket: Tina Nelson, the county’s senior program manager handled all three matters.

“Projects are established based on some kind of need that justifies spending public roadway dollars,” she said. “A big deal for the county is safety, and therefore a safety need is a key reason/need for projects/improvements to take place.

“Locations with high accidents are carefully reviewed and evaluated.  A location may have more than one need; safety (accidents), poor pavement, lack of pedestrian facilities, ADA compliance, capacity, drainage, to mention some.

“We like to, and try to take care of all needs when we do a project, but the dollars only go so far. Significant grade revisions (shaving of the crest) may have large impacts to utilities buried in the roadway and adjacent properties, which are considered in the project scope/solution, bringing up our cost and the costs for others.  Therefore, we may decide to only take care of the most urgent need.

Her answer to question two echoes the one she provided in a July Road Warrior  column when Jonathan McLean asked about the gap left in the sidewalk along the same stretch of Bucklin Hill Road that Wally asks about.

“The limits for the recent Bucklin Hill project were established from Blaine Avenue to the Mickelberry intersection, the highest need,” she said. “Extending the project to Tracyton/Myhre was in the initial plan in 1998, and does make sense, but again dollars only go so far, and we had to end somewhere.

“Plus a minor capacity improvement were made a few years ago at the Bucklin/Myhre/Tracyton intersection, which is what we consider a good example of doing something to help a need, but not get it all done.

“In the current Bucklin Hill project, a transition had to be made from the five-lane section, which is the widening portion extending east of Mickelberry.

Silverdale Water District choose to replace their water main past the county’s project limits. Thereby some work was added, but to stay within budget, and grant approvals, we had to limit the work done.  We ended up with some new pavement and adding extruded curb to manage some drainage issues, but we had to leave the rest alone.

“The biggest need for traffic flow was to get the section completed to Mickelberry.  The added lanes and sidewalk connection on the south side will happen someday, but are not currently in our 6-year plan.

“The new tall poles on the south side of Bucklin Hill are to support transmission lines. Undergrounding of transmission lines is not an option.

“There are no other overhead utilities within the new roadway segment.  Undergrounding of utilities is an expense for the utility owner (Wave, KPUD, Comcast, etc.)  and not necessarily one that the county can demand,” she said.

Bucklin Hill ‘potholes’ are prep work for project

The in basket: Chuck Gurrad says “Recently a road crew installed 24 manufactured pot holes on Bucklin Hill Road between the Tracyton Boulevard-Myhre Road intersection eastward up the hill. They were scattered on all of the three lanes.

“What they were looking for under the asphalt?” he asked. “Do they intend to fill them in properly, and when?

“This was a road in fair condition except for the manhole at the edge of the west bound lane which  needs to be brought up to grade,” Charles said.

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says, “The potholes your reader referred to were small holes used to help locate utilities for an upcoming stormwater and pedestrian improvement project.

“The holes were patched using cold patch. We’ll send a crew out to take a look and see if some of the patches have come up. The road will be repaved once the project is completed later this summer” Doug said. He sent along a fact sheet, describing the work:7109-CFP Bucklin Hill Fact Sheet (3).pdf

Bad behavior causes parking lot closure near Fairgrounds


The in basket: Lance Hagele asks, “Why is the parking lot on the corner of Fairgrounds Road and Tracyton Boulevard closed? 

“It has been closed for a very long time and I thought it might be closed  for renovations,” he said. “I noticed it was open for vendors to park their RV’s during the Kitsap County Fair. 

“This parking lot supports the Anna Smith Park. Now people must park along Tracyton Boulevard, which poses  an unsafe condition to enjoy the park,” he said.

 The out basket: Dori Leckner of Kitsap County Parks replies, 

“The parking area you mention is blocked off because many used it for  illegal dumping. People left campers, cars, trailers, dead animals, headstones and yard waste there. 

“When the parking lot was open, there were break-ins and vandalism to vehicles parked there because of its remote location. 

“We’ve kept the Master Gardeners at Anna Smith Park informed about these challenges and they understand why this parking lot is closed,” she said. “We are working to see how we can alleviate these concerns and open the lot in light of these challenges.”

Incomplete Silverdale street signs to be replaced

The in basket: Margaret Gibbard e-mailed to say “The signs at the Bucklin Hill Road/Tracyton Boulevard are misleading.  At that intersection, Tracyton Boulevard is south of Bucklin and Myhre is north of Bucklin.  The signs only name Tracyton Boulevard, both north and south on Bucklin.”

The out basket: When Margaret first wrote, I figured it was a small matter of changing one of the small signs on a sign pole. But when I visited the site, I saw that she was talking about the large overhead signs installed on the signal cross-arms. And that’s just the start.

“This intersection should have signs that indicate both roads,” says Jeff Shea, the county traffic engineer, ” and we are working to correct that.”

The county sign shop isn’t equipped to make those signs, so the county contracts with Zumar of Tacoma for them. “The cost of each sign at that size is $2,741,” he said. “They use light-emitting capacitor lighting and their average life span is 10-15 years.”

This new generation of street signs actually lights up. You can see the wire leading into them on the four or five Silverdale intersections that have them, including this one. 

“The light is actually in the sign film itself,” Jeff said.  “LEC illumination increases visibility for motorists as they do not rely on a vehicle’s headlights or street lighting for visibility. LEC technology increases the distance from which they can be seen.”

That can increase safety, I would imagine, as the drivers aren’t looking away from traffic as long to identify where they want to turn.

“An additional benefit of LEC technology,” Jeff said, “is smaller signs. Because the signs are illuminated internally the  (guidelines)  allows smaller letter sizes. This reduces the size and reduces the associated stress on poles.

“We do not plan to retrofit all street name signs, but will consider LEC illumination for any major intersection modification.” As for the omission at the new Bucklin Hill/Tracyton Boulevard intersection, “when the signs are replaced, the manufacturer will remove the film from the old signs, allowing us to use the sign on a future project,” Jeff said.

Though expensive, LEC signs are just half the cost of the alternative to have lighted street signs, those that are backlit, he said.

Nice job at Bucklin & Tracyton, county, but…

The in basket: Paul Ofsthun and Murray Webb like the widening of the intersection at Bucklin Hill and Tracyton Boulevard in Silverdale, but both think it could work better. 

Paul writes, “Although I love the new intersection with it’s new right turn lane and the new flashing yellow turn lights, I wonder why they put in a green right arrow (eastbound Bucklin to southbound Tracyton) but never activated it. 

“It sure would ease congestion if they had the green arrow on when the northbound Tracyton traffic is going. To me It looks like they planned on it but never activated it.”

Murray says, “….Kudoes to those involved….traffic moves much better!  

“However, could you please use your column to educate folks what a flashing yellow arrow allows them to do?  

“I remember reading that many lights in Silverdale will eventually be using them, but indications are that many (drivers) aren’t aware they are allowed to turn after yielding.”

Andy Boeckl makes the same observation about reluctant drivers at all of the yellow flashing lefts Kitsap County is putting in.

The out basket: About the right turn arrow, Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says, “Activating (it) requires special programming, additional in-shop work, and consultation with the equipment supplier. 

 We … plan to activate the light when the process is completed.”

Those flashing yellow left turn lights are working their way north. The county debuted them in South Kitsap a year or so ago and has been retrofitting signals in Silverdale. 

So far, I think the county is the only jurisdiction in this county to use them, but a reader back in the Midwest somewhere who goes by the online name MidiMagic and follows the Road Warrior blog says the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices underwent a major revision late last year and now dictates that flashing yellow left turn signals are  the standard at intersections where left turners are allowed to turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. I’m trying to learn more about that.

The flashing yellows consternate many drivers when they first come upon one. The lights replace the situation where left turners faced a green ball light and a sign requiring them to yield before turning. 

They mean that although oncoming through traffic has a green light, you are free to make your turn if it won’t endanger any oncoming vehicles. They usually follow a green turn arrow that comes up first, and means oncoming through traffic has a red light.

They are growing in popularity because it reduces the amount of time left turners must sit and wait, their cars idling, before turning.





Does one have to comply with yellow speed signs?

The in basket: Barbara Westfall writes, “My husband and I are new residents in the Tracyton area.  When turning right onto Tracyton Boulevard from Bucklin Hill, there is a sign, two signs actually, on the same pole.  One says Speed Bumps, the other says 20 mph.  

“Now, does this mean you need to go 20 mph when going over the speed bumps, or is the whole road 20 mph until you are finished with all speed bumps?”

The out basket: The signs approaching the speed humps are yellow advisory signs that suggest a comfortable speed for crossing the rises, and can be ignored if you think otherwise. Speed limit signs are white with black markings and the one that says 30 mph just as you turn from Bucklin Hill Road onto Tracyton Boulevard establishes the speed limit throughout the stretch with the speed bumps. 

I was surprised to see the signs call them speed BUMPS. Those traffic calming devices are generally separated into speed bumps, the abrupt rises you see in mobile home parks, speed humps, the wider ones on most county roads and in shopping center parking lots, and speed tables, like those on Tracyton Boulevard, where the raised surface is large enough to contain most cars. The county must have decided drivers will understand the term speed bumps best.

Tracyton culvert job completion awaits spring

The in basket: Carol Angel writes, “I’m wondering if the county has abandoned its work on Tracyton Boulevard, which began last fall and has never been completed. 

“The roadway has not been repaved over the new culvert on Barker Creek, and is nothing but rough gravel that fills up with potholes whenever it rains. I see no sign that the job is going to be finished anytime soon. What’s the story on this?” 

The out basket: Paving during the winter doesn’t last very long and the project wasn’t ready for paving before the weather turned bad in the fall. 

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says they expect the weather to be good enough to complete the Tracyton Boulevard job in April.

How to get a street sign for your private road


The in basket: A Tracyton woman would like to have a green identifying sign for her private road, which meanders eastward from where Holland Road also meets Tracyton Boulevard, which curves west at that point. Her road, Eells Road, is dirt for most of its length and serves seven homes.

“There is a post with a ‘curve’ sign right at the entrance to my road that would be perfect to attach the sign,” she said. 

I asked Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works how the county handles identifying private roads, whether the fact it is a dirt road matters, whether there is a threshold for number of homes served, and whether dual use of the existing sign would be likely.. 

The out basket: The road surface and number of homes served don’t make any difference, Doug said. Adding a street sign to an advisory sign about the curve would be unusual, he said.

If the private road intersects a county-maintained road, as Eells does, he said, the requester pays $120 to county public works and gets documentation from Addressing in the Department of Community Development confirming the name of the road, he said.  

“We manufacture, install, and maintain the sign as long as the road that the private road intersects remains county-maintained,” he said.

Eells is already shown on the county road log, a book of maps of county roads, so confirming the name shouldn’t be a problem.

The county plays no role in putting up road name signs on roads that abut an unmaintained county right of way, or abut other private roads. The residents would be free to post whatever shape, color and design of street sign they wish in those cases, he said. They can make their own or have a private sign shop do it. 

Anyone wanting to arrange for a sign for their private road abutting a county-maintained road can call the county’s Open Line at (360) 337-5777.

Little reaction time at Vena and Central Valley


The in basket: Colleen Wells is alarmed by the close proximity of Vena Avenue to the curve in Central Valley Road where Vena intersects it. “You can’t see cars coming around that corner,” she said, “and they can’t see cars on Vena … especially if it’s a small car in the afternoon.” The speed limit there is 35 mph.

The out basket: I was surprised at how quickly I arrived at Vena after negotiating that curve when I tested it, but I also noticed a 25-mph advisory sign for those approaching the curve. 

And I did manage to see an approaching car northbound on Central Valley over the top of the hedge as I waited in my Mazda 3 to pull out from Vena. But it wasn’t a small car. 

I asked the county about the intersection. 

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works said,  “This type of question is routed to our traffic inspectors (which is what I did with this request.) If the sight distance-inhibiting vegetation is within county-owned rights-of-way, we can trim it. Otherwise we do communicate with the property owner to clear the obstruction.

“As to improving that particular intersection, it would require rebuilding (it). That means acquiring more right-of-way and a capital engineering project which would be considered along with, and compete against, the other capital projects on the Transportation Improvement Plan.”

The plan is updated late each year and looks out six years. Vena at Central Valley isn’t mentioned in the current plan.