Tag Archives: traffic circle

A pair of Fifth Street curiosities and roundabout reminder

The in basket: I was putting along eastbound on Fifth Street in Bremerton recently when my wife in the passenger seat noticed that I had given no indication that I had seen a stop sign at Veneta Avenue.

“Stop sign,” she said, and it was a good thing. I had not seen it and was surprised it was there. It was new. How new I didn’t know. Had I been running it and its mate on the other side of the intersection, or had I just not been on Fifth Street for a long time? There were no orange flags or signs indicating a change in traffic control.

Thusly moved to curiosity, I wondered a couple blocks later at Chester Avenue about the traffic calming island put in the middle of the intersection a couple years ago. Traffic was light and turning left in front of the island would have been easier than going around it to turn left. I wondered if that would be legal.

So I asked.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city engineers said he’d been curious about the four-way stop created at Fifth and Veneta  himself, and learned that it was all done months ago in response to a neighborhood petition. It seems like a good move, given all the foot traffic around the Catholic school and church there.

“It was reviewed by engineering in April of last

year,” Gunnar said, “and a work order to maintenance sent out on May 5.  The new

signs and traffic revision signs were installed shortly thereafter,along with swapping the lenses in the flashing light from yellow to red.

“After the 30-day installation period passed, all traffic revision signs were removed.”

He and Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said it is not legal to turn in front of a traffic island, any more than it would be to turn left and not go around a roundabout . You have to go around.

Gunnar asked that we use this as an opportunity to revisit another element of driving roundabouts.

“We are receiving complaints that some

motorists coming across the (new) bridge are ignoring the Yield sign when entering the new Manette roundabout,” he said.

“We would like to try and educate before going to enforcement,” he said.

As I noted in a December Road Warrior, the construction of the roundabout in Manette has changed the rules for right of way at that end of the bridge. Drivers exiting the bridge in Manette no longer have the right of way over other traffic flows and must yield to anyone already in the roundabout. That’s the rule for all roundabouts.

At the Fifth Street traffic circle, stop signs control the side street and drivers at the stop signs must yield to traffic on the through street.

Drivers ignoring stop signs at Fifth Street island


The in basket: An anonymous caller says the new obstacle in the center of the intersection of Fifth Street and Chester Avenue in Bremerton apparently is being regarded by some drivers as a roundabout or traffic circle and they are blowing through the stop signs on Chester.

“Is it a roundabout or just a traffic calming device,” he asked, and wondered whether the city plans to remove the stop signs. If not, more signs are needed, he said. 

The out basket: It’s neither a roundabout nor a traffic circle, but a traffic calming island, says Larry Matel of the city’s street engineers and vehicles on Chester must stop at the stop signs. 

“The intent of the traffic calming island is to ‘break’ the visual

impression of a street as a long, unimpeded route devoid of any inhibitions to traffic speed,” Larry said. “The residents of this neighborhood are frustrated with people using Fifth as a cut-through route by

through traffic seeking to avoid either Sixth or Burwell.  “These residents

are embarking on a program to make a more pedestrian-friendly and safe

neighborhood community and to restore the amenities of urban living.

“The stop signs at this intersection will remain,”  he said, “and a simple diagram will be placed on all four sides of the island within about a week,”

It was “a neighborhood-initiated project constructed with ‘sweat equity’ by the residents of the area and with

approximately $5,000 in funding for materials and special contractor

assistance from the Mayor’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program,” he added. 

He also passed along a distinction of which I was unaware, taken from the state Department of Transportation’s Web site on roundabouts.

“A roundabout is not the same as the older-style rotary traffic circle

like those found in some East Coast and European cities,” it says.

 “The main difference between older style traffic circles and roundabouts is in how

traffic enters the circle and which vehicle has the right-of-way. With

roundabouts, drivers wishing to enter must yield to vehicles already in

the circle. With many of the older traffic circles, drivers inside the

circle must yield to the vehicles entering the circle. Traffic circles

quickly clogged up and came to a standstill when … many vehicles

entered at the same time.”