Tag Archives: Warren

11th and Warren signals and missing turn lane draw comments

The in basket: Two commenters on a past Road Warrior column, first names Kari and Robin, have made observations about changes at the 11th Street and Warren Avenue intersection, which has just undergone  a substantial renovation.

Keri wonders about what he thinks are longer waits for the signals to change to green and Robin noticed something I hadn’t, that the dedicated right-turn-only lane from westbound 11th to northbound Warren no longer exists

“I commute through this intersection daily during the week, eastbound,” Kari said. “It seems that the lights for north-south traffic stay green, even when there’s no traffic. Just last Monday, at about 6 a.m., I timed the lights as staying green for 30 seconds without a single car going through the intersection, either north- or southbound. It used to be that the lights would change much quicker when no traffic was detected.
“I’ve learned that if I don’t catch the left turn onto northbound Warren,” he said, ” but the light is still green to go straight, it is much faster for me to go through the light and turn on Park Avenue (even if I have to wait for the turn signal there, as the lights cycle faster) and then back to Warren at 17th, than it is to wait for the lights to cycle back to a green left turn.”

“Aren’t there traffic detectors on the light poles now? ” he asked.

Robin said he asked Chal Martin, city public works director, about removal of that turn lane, and “he told me it was to better line up the lanes.

“I went on the record as being unhappy about losing the right turn lane and mentioned that the lanes lined up fine for my last 50 years in Bremerton,” Robin said.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city of Bremerton street engineers had told me a couple of months ago that most of the movements at that intersection would operate on timer during its paving, which required destroying most of the in-pavement wire detectors, called “loops.” Keri’s complaint sounded to me like a residue of that.

But no, Gunnar says,  “The signal there was never put on a time setting, we went directly from using the in-ground loops to the radar detection.

“There have been two changes here with the signal coordination package that we are currently working to adjust,” Gunnar said, “timing and coordination with the new signal on Warren at 13th Street and tying in coordination with the signals at Burwell and Sixth Street to the rest of the corridor.

“Our eventual goal will be to have the signals from Burwell all the way up to Riddell Road (synchronized),” he said. “We do have adjustments to make and that will be continuing for the next several weeks, as the (electronics) shop schedules this work in with regular maintenance, emergency call-outs, etc.”

And yes, the new radar traffic detectors are mounted on the poles at the 11th and Warren intersection.

As for the missing right turn lane, he said, it was deleted “to provide a five-foot shoulder area. This will make it easier for buses and trucks to turn northbound onto Warren, along with helping line the lanes up a little better through the intersection.

“If you get a chance to go out and take a look, you will see quite a few tire marks going across the new ADA ramps (for the disabled) and sidewalk at this corner.  It is a fairly tight corner and a tough one to make for larger vehicles with the lane adjacent to the sidewalk.”

Gunnar also noted that the most recent traffic counts done for 11th Street’s three westbound lanes, while dated, showed that of the 5,700 vehicles counted, only 1,800 turned right.

The red light enforcement camera watching westbound traffic is still there and functioning as before, he said.

New questions about revised 11th & Warren

The in basket: As I drove down 11th Street eastbound toward Warren Avenue the other day, I noticed a boxed area created by yellow stripes across Warren, westbound, where a left turn pocket would be. Left turns have been prohibited there for as long as I can remember.

I wondered if they will be allowed when the new widened intersection is fully opened.

As my wife and I sat at the eastbound red light, we discussed the four signal heads controlling the three lanes, two lanes for for left turns and the other two for straight ahead movements in the one lane dedicated to that, historically.

I recently wrote in this column that the extra signal head complies with federal regulations that the main movement at a signalized intersection have two signals for redundancy if one burns out or is blocked by a large vehicle.

But when the lights turned green that day, one of the two in the center showed an arrow to the left and the other an arrow pointing straight ahead. It seemed like a likely source of confusion for a newcomer to the intersection as to what is permitted from the inner left turn lane.

The out basket: First, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city traffic engineers, no left turn is being created on westbound 11th to go south on Warren.

The striped box “was just an attempt to outline the hatched area that was here

previously.”

The only change in permitted movement at the completed intersection will be that only the outside southbound lane on Warren will allow right turns. Previously, both outside southbound lanes allowed right turns, though I hardly ever saw anyone use the innermost of those lanes for a right turn.

Gunnar said I am not the first to ask about possible confusion about the four signal heads, and even sent along an inquiry about it from Bruce Hall, originally sent to his city councilman, Greg Wheeler.

Gunnar’s answer is as I had described, “The federal guidance we are required to follow for designing a signal

system has the through lane (single eastbound traffic on 11th Street)

with two sets of lights, and a single set of lights for the two turn

lanes.  So there are four sets of lights for the three lanes.”

It’s a puzzling issue to arise now, Gunnar said, since the same four-signal display for three lanes was there before the intersection was redone, but hanging from wires instead of the new metal poles and cross arms.

Radar vehicle detection coming to 11th and Warren

The in basket: Tom Baker of the city of Bremerton electronics shop has encouraged me for a couple of years to attend a yearly conference of traffic electronics experts and merchants in Seattle. This year I went (it was Feb. 11) and it was a wealth of information.

The first person I talked with in a large room of industry representatives was Mike Singson, who turned out to have been on the phone with Jeff Collins of the Bremerton electronics shop just 20 minutes earlier to answer a question about Wavetronix. That’s the brand name his company, Advanced Traffic Products, uses for an alternative means to detect traffic at stop lights.

It uses radar, and is an alternative to the decades-old technology of in-pavement wires, called “loops,” and the newer cameras you will see on tall posts atop the signal cross-arms at many Kitsap County intersections.

The city of Bremerton will try Wavetronix on three of the four legs of the Warren Avenue-11th Street intersection currently undergoing a major reconstruction.

It and cameras, being installed overhead, have the advantage of being repairable without having to dig up the intersection. Mike Singson says radar is better because snow, fog, heavy rain, glare and other problems don’t interfere with it, as he says they can with the cameras.

This may be the first installation of it in this county.

Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers says, “Yes, we are installing the Wavetronix at 11th and Warren.

“The eastbound 11th Street loops are in the concrete section of the roadway and are working

fine, so we are not going to replace them. The other three legs of the

intersection are where we are going to use them.

“The southbound Warren (loops) were

destroyed over a month ago with work extending the turn lane, so this

direction is already using Wavetronix temporarily. The other two

legs (westbound 11th and northbound Warren) will have their loops destroyed when we

grind the intersection out to repave.

“With the grind, repaving, etc…, we were looking at seven days at a minimum (and

that would, of course, be subject to weather, as well) of having the

intersection run on a timer, which will be tough on traffic.

“The technology has evolved so much with radar detection and the installation of these units have so much less impact on traffic versus

cutting loops in,” Gunnar said, “we wanted to try it at this intersection and

the temporary detection seems to be working perfectly so far.”

Two Warren Avenue changes mystify readers

The in basket: Yvonne Dean and Bruce Waterbury have asked what the city of Bremerton has in mind when the projects along Warren Avenue at 11th, 13th and 16th streets are finished,

“Help,” Yvonne wrote. “Can you tell people just what is happening on 16th with the new curbing and on 13th with the new traffic light installed by Olympic College. Will we still be able to go up and around Warren off of 16th?  Are people going to be able to make left turns off of 13th onto Warren Avenue to go south?”

Bruce wrote, “I am wondering why there is now a stop sign in the middle of the road at the working stop lights at Wheaton Way and 16th Street. Where it is positioned, one has to stop at the first line for the lights, then move one car length ahead to stop at the stop sign line.  Is this just a cheap trick to ticket people again? Who is running the street department? Stevie Wonder?”

The out basket: The stop sign next to the new pedestrian islands at 16th Street will be gone soon, replaced by a Yield sign, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers.

“We have been delayed a bit with weather to be able to complete pavement markings and the final concrete work.  The island is for pedestrian refuge. The stop sign is a temporary measure to make folks aware that the northbound left turn from Warren has the right of way here.”

When the traffic signal at 13th is activated, left turns will be allowed from 13th Street onto Warren in either direction, but signs will prohibit left turns from Warren to 13th, also in either direction. “We will be removing the curb currently in place at the centerline of Warren,” Gunnar said.

In 2011, Olympic College acquired from the city that portion of Broadway Avenue that runs through the college, presumably to make leaving Warren at 16th and cutting through the college less attractive, and perhaps impossible. “The college is looking to make some revisions regarding circulation there, but are waiting for us to get the signal fully operational before proceeding,” he said.

 

11th Street lane at Warren barricaded by cones

The in basket: The recent story in this newspaper about the inconveniences being visited on a lot of Bremerton traffic by the street projects at three intersections on Warren Avenue didn’t mention my most recent curiosity.

Why, I asked city street engineer Gunnar Fridriksson, has the innermost turn lane on 11th Street for turning to go north on Warren been blocked off by cones? I couldn’t see any work at the intersection that benefited from the closure. It left only one turn lane to serve a lot of traffic.

And, I asked, will it be that way until the expanded intersection, which will be a major improvement, is completed in March?

The out basket: No, Gunnar replied. it will end when work on Warren no longer requires intermittent closure of one of its two lanes at 13th Street, which is being readied for a traffic signal. “This way everyone is already into one lane coming onto Warren Avenue,” he said, and don’t have to merge on Warren.

I watched the single lane back up briefly into the 11th and Warren intersection when it hit the lane closure on Warren Thursday afternoon, so it probably would happen at every light change if both lanes of 11th were feeding onto Warren.

The cones are removed when no work is going on, Gunnar said.

Yellow flashing lefts not guaranteed at 11th and Warren

The in basket: As I pass by the work at 11th and Warren in Bremerton, where the intersection is undergoing major changes to provide more holding room for cars waiting at the lights at Warren, among other things, I had some questions.

Will replacement of the existing traffic signals allow the city to put yellow flashing left turn signals there, as it did when the current sewer replacement project provided money to do that on Sixth Street?

And will the center lane of eastbound 11th be changed to a left-turn and straight ahead lane, as was done at Sixth and Warren for the Manette Bridge replacement project, or will it remain with two left-onlys and the outside lane the only through lane?

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city’s street engineers says yellow flashing left turn signals are a possibility at the revised intersection, but by no means a certainty.

“With the Crosstown Pipeline project, we were able to update all of the signal controllers on Sixth Street from Kitsap Way to Warren Avenue to be able to implement the flashing yellow as we needed to make the entire corridor more efficient for traffic,” he said.

“The signals along the Warren/Wheaton corridor are inter-tied from 11th Street to Riddell Road and are of an older controller that will not accommodate the yellow flashers. Putting yellow flashers at 11th and Warren would require removing the inter-tie with the other signals.” The inter-tie allows the signals to work together to move the most traffic

“There are a couple of options we are looking at, but no final decision has been made,” he said.

He also said no changes are planned as to where cars in the three eastbound lanes of 11th can go.

Warren Avenue work for pedestrians will end cross-traffic at 4th, 5th

The in basket: I was surprised Monday when I turned left from Burwell Street to Warren Avenue in Bremerton to find a crew making saw cuts in the pavement of the inside northbound lane. Traffic was reduced to a single lane northbound on Warren almost to Fifth Street. I asked what it was for.

The out basket: Drivers will have to get used to northbound Warren being a single lane from Burwell to Sixth Street. Gunnar Fridriksson of the city’s street engineers said the work is the opening volley of a series of projects to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists wanting to cross busy streets.

As a by-product, it soon will no longer be possible to cross Warren at either Fourth or Fifth streets. Only right turns will be possible at both. A raised island where the walkers and bikes can pause half-way across will block auto cross-traffic at both intersections. It should be the end of T-bone crashes involving cars on Warren and those crossing it at those two streets while giving pedestrians an alternative to dashing across the entire street in one movement.

The raised island will stretch from near Burwell to just past Fifth Street. “(They) are built

with standard 6-inch curb and will have patterned red-concrete infill,” Gunnar said.

Stan  Palmer Construction was the only bidder on the work at $769,600 and was given the contract by city council action on July 18.

Gunnar said 20 city locations have been shown to be dangerous places for pedestrians and bicyclists and the city got funding to address about half of them. Most are less extensive, involving revision to crosswalks, bicycle lanes on Kitsap Way and meeting new Americans with Disability Act requirements. Warren and 16th at the main entrance to Olympic College is the only other one with a new refuge island.

Why is outside lane on Warren at 11th blocked?

The in basket: Ken Attebery asks “Why does the southbound right turn lane from Warren to 11th (in Bremerton) remain blocked off?  There does not seem to be a current condition that warrants this.

“If the once planned expansion of the intersection (now called off or postponed, I assume) were under construction,” Ken said, “I could see this lane being coned off but……”

Chris Murphy also asked me what happened to the Warren Avenue upgrade from 11th to 13th. ” We really do need that turn fixed,” Chris said..

The out basket: It’s simply to reinforce the fact that 11th Street is closed several blocks ahead for sewer work, to minimize the number of drivers who unexpectedly run into the barricade, says Gunnar Fridriksson of the city of Bremerton street engineers.

It’s still possible to turn right from the second lane from the curb, as well as usng it to go straight.

“Our current contractor schedule has the (11th Street) closure

ending August 20th, so just a few more weeks now,” he added.

He also said the city still intends to lengthen the southbound right turn lane, the southbound left turn lane, add a traffic signal on Warren at 13th Street at Olympic College’s expense and replace the signals at 11th and Warren this year, but not until 11th Street reopens.

It originally was scheduled for last year, but they decided to wait because the Manette Bridge was to be under construction and then closed for a time and Warren was the only detour. Big opening on the work on Warren will be Aug. 7.

Forced Sixth Street right turn being ignored

The in basket: Three readers say the recent change to require vehicles in the right lane of southbound Warren Avenue in Bremerton to turn right onto Sixth Street is being widely ignored by drivers used to that being a through lane.

Suzi Hubert wrote, “I have moved to the left-hand lane as instructed and find that those folks in the right lane go straight ahead to Burwell and I have a heck of a time getting over to make my right-hand turn on Burwell.

“It is most annoying and I am afraid that one of these days I’ll end up going to the ferry instead. Help!!”

Phil Kight asked “Is the city planning on leaving it as a right-turn-only lane, or will it revert back to its formal state when 11th Street is completed? It seems that just about everyone that I’ve seen using that lane ignores the right-turn-only (restriction).”

And an e-mailer going by BJ, wrote, “Why did they make the outside lane on Warren Avenue a right-turn-only at Sixth Street as part of the 11th Street detour? Knowing that we are going to turn right on Burwell, we (used to) travel in the outside lane once we get on Wheaton Way. Now we have to move into the center lane just before Sixth Street and cross our fingers we can get back into the outside lane in the short distance between Sixth and Burwell.

“VERY few people are paying attention to the Right-Turn- Only signs and markings on the road!  Why not leave it like it was with just a detour sign for those that don’t know the area?”

The out basket: When I drove there Thursday morning, a succession of seven cars made the right turn while the light was red. When it turned green, the driver of a large black pickup did indeed proceed straight and caused me some difficulty in getting over into the right lane at Burwell.

I’m not sure how that’s any worse than it was before the city began requiring right turns from that lane. There always were two lanes of traffic mostly wanting to go west on Burwell and competing for the right lane after Sixth. What’s changed, I suspect, is drivers who used to avoid that in the past by using the right lane exclusively no longer can, legally.

Gunnar Fredriksson of the city of Bremerton traffic engineer says, “Yes, the right-lane-must-turn-right restriction is with the project (a three-month closure of 11th Street for sewer work) and not permanent.  This was done to maximize the number of vehicles turning from Warren onto Sixth Street for the detour route.

“We are watching the situation, and for a majority of time, it seems to work quite well. I understand the frustration with those ignoring the signage and going through the intersection.  We are hoping this is part of the learning curve for motorists and will diminish with time.”

The same restriction has been imposed on Sixth Street’s westbound right lane at Warren, also is temporary for the duration of the sewer work on 11th and also is routinely violated. There’s less reason to change lanes beyond Warren on Sixth, and it hasn’t generated any complaints to me.

 

13th and Warren to get a new traffic signal

The in basket: Tom Baker (no relation) of the city of Bremerton electronics department was kind enough to let me know in an Oct. 19 e-mail that I was behind the curve in understanding changes the city will be making to Warren Avenue next year.

He was a few days ahead of Broadway Avenue resident Rena Caton in telling me there soon will be a new traffic signal on Warren at 13th Street, the southern end of Olympic College’s new parking lots.

I had been reporting that the city would extend the right turn lane on southbound Warren for turns onto 11th Street, but was unaware the college wanted to add a new signal.

I was glad for the opportunity to revisit the issue, as it had occurred to me that vehicles waiting in the southbound LEFT turn lane to go east on 11th were spilling into the inside through lanes, making their own contribution to the worsening backups on Warren.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers tells me, yes, he hopes to fold the college’s plans for a traffic signal at 13th and Warren into the city’s plans, so that both can be done at the same time.

The southbound left turn lane on Warren will be lengthened, he said, though not as much as the right turn lane.

“All we need (now) are two buses in the left hand turn lane and it blocks the inside southbound lane,” he said.

So the 11th and Warren intersection will get longer lanes for turns in both directions, and all new traffic signal equipment to replace the lights now hanging from wires there.

Left turns from Warren at 13th’s new signal will be prohibited, he said, allowing shorter stops and avoiding further delay of Warren Avenue through traffic.

Left turns will be allowed from 13th onto Warren, he said, good news for Rena and her neighbors, who otherwise would continue having trouble getting headed toward the Warren Avenue Bridge.

The yellow center line curbing that prohibits all left turns at 13th and Warren today will be removed when the signal goes in, he said.

Gunnar said the college will ask the city to turn the section of Broadway between 13th and 16th streets over to the college in what’s called a “vacation.”

If approved that stretch would remain a street, but under college control, he said. The college probably would make it off-limits to most vehicle traffic, to minimize danger to students crossing back and forth from the its new parking lots.

The one or two properties on that portion of Broadway not owed by the college would get easements to allow them a way in and out, Gunnar said.

Pedestrians will be allowed to cross Warren at 13th only on the southern part of the intersection. Configuration of a crosswalk on the northern side would endanger those on foot, he said.

The college will pay 100 percent of the 13th street signals, he said. The state will pay 86.5 percent of the 11th and Warren upgrades, with the city paying the rest.