Tag Archives: two-way

Wheaton Way called worse than California freeway

The in basket: Katie Holden, a Navy wife and recent arrival here from San Diego, writes, “Another accident on Wheaton Way. When I first moved here, it struck me while driving on Wheaton Way that it feels like a ‘free for all.’ There are so many points of exit and entry while the center lane is for both directions.

“Shortly after that, I read in the paper that a baby had lost his life when the parents were involved in a traffic accident on Wheaton Way. This morning I read about another accident.

“Isn’t there a better way to deal with the amount of traffic on this road? Maybe there should be turn lanes dedicated to a certain direction rather than both directions.

“I would rather drive on San Diego’s deadly I-5 in rush hour traffic than on Wheaton Way during rush hour. Does this road seem dangerous to you?”

The out basket: As far back as I can recall in my 40-plus years as a reporter in Bremerton, Wheaton Way has been held out as a bad example of handling heavy traffic.

“You don’t want to make this another Wheaton Way” would be a frequent cry at meetings to discuss some planned development somewhere else.

At one time, it was proposed to pair it with a parallel street, probably a widened Pine Road, with a new bridge across the Port Washington Narrows, providing one-way travel in each direction. It would tie into High Avenue on the west side, its proponents said.

The idea died without making much progress, opposed by Pine Road and High Avenue residents and hobbled by lack of money.

Still, I don’t avoid Wheaton unless I think I’ll move faster on a side road. About the only time I feel in danger  there is when I’m northbound in the outside lane. The lack of deceleration lanes for right turns creates a risk of rear-enders, especially between Sylvan and Riddell.

Given the amount of traffic the highway must handle, I think the state and city do a pretty good job keeping it moving, albeit at the expense of those waiting on the side streets.

I don’t know what would be gained by eliminating the two-way turn lanes in favor of one-way turns. Who knows what confusion and risk would accompany requiring one direction of travel to find some way to get turned around to make a right where lefts no longer would be allowed.

And I’d hate to turn left onto Wheaton anywhere there’s no traffic light without the two-way turn lane to use as a refuge lane to wait in half-way across.

I just drove LA’s I-405 and I-110, right through the heart of downtown, and would consider either worse than Wheaton Way, attributable mostly to LA’s greater congestion.

And I’d rather drive any of them than 45th Street in Seattle’s U District.