Tag Archives: Uhinck

303 off-ramp to Sid Uhinck a hairy maneuver in Silverdale

The in basket: Eric Blair and Rob Davy have a quarrel with the way many drivers use the Ridgetop Boulevard intersection in Silverdale where traffic comes off of southbound Highway 303 on an off-ramp and sometimes stops either out of an excess of caution or in order to move quickly to the left to turn onto Sid Uhinck Drive.

That’s the place Kitsap County plans to put a new traffic signal if it ever gets all the needed approvals.

Eric says he uses that off-ramp often and “I almost always get stuck behind someone who is stopped, blocking the lane while waiting for traffic to clear so that they can jump lanes on Ridgetop to turn left onto Sid Uhinck.

“It appears that even with the installation of signals,” he said, “the right  turn lane from the exit ramp will continue to enter its own lane on Ridgetop, and isn’t going to be signaled. How is this going to help exiting traffic onto westbound Ridgetop?”

“Even with the light, I’ll still be waiting for cars who are trying to jump over to Sid Uhnick rather than travel westbound. Is this correct?”

Rob feels likewise and raises three objections.

He says it’s illegal to stop in a through lane to wait for traffic to clear for a lane change. The fact that the ramp is a through lane is obscured by the 90-degree curve it makes, but it has its own lane waiting on Ridgetop and neither a stop nor a yield sign controlling the turn.

Second, he argued, the solid white stripe separating that lane from the next cannot legally be crossed.

And, most tellingly, he says there isn’t enough room between the 90-degree curve and Sid Uhinck Drive for a driver to signal his lane change for the 100 feet the law requires. Two hundred feet are needed because one must change lanes twice to get from the ramp lane to the left turn lane onto Sid Uhinck, he says.

Both men want a row of pylons separating the ramp lane from the straight through lane to prevent those lane changes.

Rob even proposes a realignment that would allow those on the ramp to get to the Sid Uhinck left turn even if pylons are installed.

Let ramp drivers use the lane that allows left turns onto Ridgetop to turn right there too, both on a green light and on a red when traffic allows, he proposes. That way they could get into the Sid Uhinck left turn lane with only one lane change, for which there may be enough room to signal for the 100 feet.

The out basket: When the signal is installed, green lights for ramp traffic will stop all conflicting traffic with red lights and reduce the number of motorists who make the unnecessary stop at the 90-degree curve. Regardless of its legality, the move to Uhinck would be easier.

And single white lines don’t prohibit a lane change to another legal driving lane. Double white lines, such as those at HOV lanes, do that.

The law DOES prohibit stopping in a through lane to make a lane change. I’m sure tickets are rarely written for it, but a driver who gets hit from behind after stopping for that purpose can get a ticket as well as the driver who hit him. Many of those drivers who have been stopping where that off-ramp turns, for whatever reason, would be astounded,  I’m sure,  to learn they’re breaking the law.

As for the changes Eric and Rob propose there, County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Before we make any modifications to this intersection, we will see how it works after the signal has been operating for a while.

“The reader makes an interesting recommendation, though.  For local traffic it might work once traffic gets used to it.  It would take time away from the left turners in that lane which could upset some motorists.

“It would be difficult to provide guide signs for the visiting motorist. We try to sign and mark roads in a manner that a motorist would expect.  Turning right from an inside lane is not a normal traffic movement.  This would lead to some real frustrated motorists that are confronted with a traffic barrier if they are in the right lane and want to get onto Sid Uhinck.

“Also, the ramp falls under the jurisdiction of (the state).  They would have to be convinced to change the configuration of the signal, markings and signage,” Jeff said.

I would guess the 100 feet of signaling requirement is enforced maybe one time in 10,000 it’s violated. State Trooper Russ Winger calls it “‘technically’ illegal to jump to the left turn lane (from the ramp lane), even though HUNDREDS of vehicles accomplish this on a daily basis. I suggest the (county) install a sign – and possibly barriers – prohibiting the left turn to Sid Uhinck from the right-turn lane, if the road engineers feel it is warranted. I do not know what kind of accident profile the county has in that section since the construction, so I give observation only.”



Ridgetop/Uhinck crosswalk being relocated in Silverdale

The in basket: Patrick Burch of Silverdale e-mailed to say, “The crosswalk on Ridgetop Boulevard at Sid Uhinck has been removed, leaving a VERY dangerous situation to cross Ridgetop.  I challenge anyone traveling southwest on Ridgetop to safely AND legally cross Ridgetop without walking all the way down to Myhre Road.

“The crosswalk made easy access to the bus stop and entrance to Clear Creek Trails. If you were to cross Ridgetop at the Waaga Way light, you are not allowed to continue southwest on Ridgetop because there is a no crossing sign.  If you were to illegally cross there, you would have to take your life in your hands and dodge cars exiting Waaga Way onto Ridgetop.

“Walking all the way down to Myhre is totally unacceptable and will not be made by many individuals. Pedestrians will be forced to play dodge ball with the cars.

“Until a new permanent crosswalk is installed after the stoplight is finally in place, the crosswalk should be restored.  Help us with this unsafe condition.”

Back last winter, while the crosswalk was still there, Ronine Riggins proposed making lane changes approaching that crosswalk illegal, lest a driver looking back to see if it were clear for a lane change might not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

The out basket: Jacques Dean, the county’s construction manager, says, “The crosswalk will be replaced at a location near the west side SR 303 off/on ramp.  The old crossing was removed, as were the sidewalk ramps that existed on both sides of the crossing.

“The contractor has tentatively scheduled placement of new crosswalk markings for next week, but the work is weather dependent.  The plastic markings have to be placed when the pavement is relatively dry.”

The new location should eliminate the danger Ronine saw.