Tag Archives: U-turn

U-turns are 1 reaction to new Myhre Road barrier

The in basket:  Charelaine Hampton and Mike McDermott both say they’ve seen drivers who are used to turning left from Myhre Road in Silverdale to go downhill to Costco, Petsmart and the other stores in that area pulling a U-turn just past the barrier the county put there to prevent those left turns.

Those drivers then come back and turn right legally into the access. But in the meantime, their U-turns create an accident hazard, both said.

Charelaine says the U-turners use the exit from Harrison Hospital’s Silverdale location and endanger drivers coming out that exit. She sees it almost weekly, when she goes to the hospital for a regular meeting, she said.

Mike described what he saw  one day in October.

“As I turned from Ridgetop onto Myhre there were two cars in front of me. The first one pulled into the center lane before the barrier so they could still make the left turn. The other car went just past the barrier and went into the bus stop on the right side of the road and made a U-turn right in the middle of Myhre to get back to the lane down to Costco.

“Obviously, this deterrent to turning left near Petsmart is going to cause more problems if this is what people are going to do,” he said.

“All people have to do is continue down Ridgetop another block to Mickleberry and turn right,” he said.

The out basket: I would hope that the problem would abate in time as more drivers learn those left turns are now forbidden and plan an alternate route.

I was surprised to discover that just a couple hundred yards further ahead on Myhre is another left turn that still is open that leads down to Costco with hardly any greater travel time, though getting back to Petsmart would require a little more extra time. Until then, I thought it would be necessary to drive all the way down to the next traffic signal on Myhre.

And by continuing straight on Ridgetop, as Mike suggested, a driver not only can turn right at Mickelberry, but has two even earlier right turn opportunities to get to where the now-forbidden left turn used to take them.

Asked about the U-turns and other driver reactions to the barrier, Kitsap County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea chose to reiterate the reasons the barrier went up in the first place.

“The Sheriff’s Department presented me with nine collision reports for about a one-year period (2010) at this location,” he said. ‘They asked if anything could be done to reduce the collision frequency.

“…Most of the collisions were the result of a motorist either turning left out of the approach or turning left into the approach.  The logical counter-measure was to restrict the vehicle movements to right-in right-out only.

“Knowing that a sign alone would not preclude motorists from turning left, we decided to put the curbing in.

In addition to the sign and curbing, flexible delineators (posts) were installed and the yellow striping was reconfigured to an 18-inch solid line, which state law prohibits motorists from crossing.

“There are  two (other) convenient accesses to this commercial property, one further north on Myhre or eastbound motorists on Ridgetop Blvd can stay on Ridgetop and make the first right turn.

“U-turns are not illegal if done in a safe manner, but if problems arise we will address them.”

State law forbids U-turns in certain locations, like on hills, but none of the prohibitions clearly apply on Myhre. Part of the law says they are illegal, “where such vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of any other vehicle approaching from either direction within five hundred feet.”



Fine can be steep for using cross-median emergency U-turns

The in basket: The Judybaker, my wife, saw an old vehicle, almost certainly not an official emergency vehicle, using that through-median paved patch on Highway 3 north of Chico Way to turn around recently. It and similar cut-throughs are intended for police, fire or other emergency vehicles going to an emergency and have No U-Turn signs. She wondered what the penalty is for a private citizen doing that.

The out basket: State Trooper Todd Bartolac, filling in for Kristra Hedstrom while she’s on leave, says the penalty can go up to $411.

That’s if the citing officer chooses to use that strange law (RCW 46.61.150) that reads, “Whenever any highway has been divided into two or more roadways by leaving an intervening space or by a physical barrier or clearly indicated dividing section or by a median island not less than eighteen inches wide formed either by solid yellow pavement markings or by a yellow crosshatching between two solid yellow lines so installed as to control vehicular traffic, every vehicle shall be driven only upon the right-hand roadway unless directed or permitted to use another roadway by official traffic-control devices or police officers. No vehicle shall be driven over, across or within any such dividing space, barrier or section, or median island, except through an opening in such physical barrier or dividing section or space or median island, or at a crossover or intersection established by public authority.”

If you can’t spot the wording in that law that forbids turning across those through-median areas, you’re not alone. I can’t either. But that’s the same law that is interpreted to allow left turns across garden-variety double yellow lines, and to impose a $411 fine for crossing the gore points on freeways, those merging white lines at on- and off-ramps.

It seems that it can be interpreted to permit or forbid almost anything.

Todd also cited another law that seems more on point. It reads, “No person shall drive a vehicle onto or from any limited access roadway except at such entrances and exits as are established by public authority.” That one carries a $216 fine and seems better to describe what was done illegally.

Todd says an officer can choose either law. My guess is a officer also could choose to write a ticket for making an illegal turn or disregarding a regulatory sign (each with a $124 fine) or even negligent driving. Getting up to speed once the U-turn is complete, entering 60-mile-per-hour traffic while bouncing  over the inner rumble strip certainly could be called negligent, especially if it leads to an accident. The fine for negligent driving is $550.