Category Archives: Traffic

The odd asphalt sidewalks on Washington Avenue


I was startled on my commute this morning to find asphalt — yes asphalt — where concrete sidewalks should be on the $3.5 million Washington Avenue project. 

As you can see from the photo above, it basically looks like there’s another street where sidewalks should be. So what gives?

City officials said in an email earlier this week that yes, asphalt will have to do on the eastern Washington Avenue sidewalk, between Sixth and Fifth streets. The reason is that there’s a proposed development, once called the “Towers Project,” that the city believes will simply rip the street open again when construction on it begins.

The reason for their confidence: the development, begun by Absher Construction, paid upwards of $200,000 for the city to bury power lines on Washington between Sixth and Fifth streets. That suggests the project is not just one for the community development department shelves but that they’re serious about getting going.

Still, it looks odd, don’t you think?

Other project updates: On Monday, work will shift to the western side of Washington Avenue. That means that northbound traffic on Washington will take up the new lane on the east side, with the western side closed down. There won’t be any southbound traffic allowed on Washington, and the intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will be closed. Contractor RV Associates estimates it will take seven to eight weeks to complete the western work.

The Towers project rendering.
The Towers project rendering.

When completed in mid-October — that’s the hope anyway — the project will have taken the road from four lanes to two, added wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and decorative lighting.

The project also includes the linking of the 9/11 Memorial park with the wider Evergreen-Rotary Park. In mid-September, crews will demolish the old end of Highland Avenue and a sewer pump house there. They’ll plant grass, put in new pathways and create a new viewing platform of the Port Washington Narrows. Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing the new park, the design of which you can see below.

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Washington Avenue Project: Sixth Street to close

Work begins down at Fifth Street and Washington Ave. in Bremerton during the first phase of improvements. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Work begins down at Fifth Street and Washington Ave. in Bremerton during the first phase of improvements. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

As you may have noticed, work on Washington Avenue has started to ramp up. Crews from RV Associates have closed down Fifth Street at Washington Avenue, mostly to install new stormwater drains as well as some water and sewer pipes.

Next week, it’s going to get crazier, with the closure of Sixth Street at Washington Avenue to do much of the same work they’ve been doing on Fifth. The closure starts Tuesday. Mayor Patty Lent assured me that the city will keep open one of the two roads — Fifth or Sixth — at any given time, so Fifth should be reopened before Sixth closes.

The closure will remain until about May 19, though there will be “intermittent” openings, including for the Armed Forces Day parade on May 16.

This, as frequent readers of this blog know, is only the beginning.

A few weeks from now, northbound Washington roadway, between Sixth and the Manette Bridge, will close. Traffic will be diverted into the southbound lanes while crews put in utilities and install wider sidewalks and bike lanes on the northbound side.

There’s certainly no shortage of roadwork going on right now. A section of Marine Drive was paved with some fanfare recently, a chunk of Trenton Avenue in Manette was, albeit without fanfare. Along with Washington Avenue, Austin Drive near NAD Park will also be repaved this summer.

I’ll keep you posted on these city projects. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions along the way.

A few resources:

Phase I & II Traffic Control Plan (PDF) or the temporary Phase III Traffic Control Plan (PDF)

VIDEO: Curbs coming in on Lower Wheaton Way

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Crews poured the first curbs as part of Bremerton’s $3.4 million reconstruction of Lower Wheaton Way Tuesday. 

It’s a milestone for the project, which will add wide sidewalks, bike lanes and better lighting to an approximately one mile stretch of road spanning Bremerton’s bridges.

The project is slated to be completed in the fall.

More On Bremerton’s Red-Light Cameras

It happens in the news biz. You’re working on a story and tell your editor it might be a little long, only to receive the wince/sigh combo that only means one thing. “Space is tight in tomorrow’s paper.”

I had a conversation with Bremerton attorney Stan Glisson, who made a few points that I I thought people might be interested in. The Interwebs have unlimited space, so I’ll write them here.

I called Glisson because he’d written a letter a while back defending Municpal Court Judge Jame Docter, and the way the tickets are adjudicated in court. That said, he’s not a fan of the camera systems.

Glisson isn’t involved in the lawsuit over the traffic cameras, but he isn’t surprised to see some legal action.

“The frustration level people have is very high,” he said.

He researched the law himself a couple months ago after getting a ticket in the mail. He received the ticket a couple of weeks after it caught his car driving through the intersection. We’ve reported before that some people get out of the tickets by testifying in court – under threat of perjury – that they weren’t driving the car, it was someone else.

Obviously this can happen with a family member, friend, etc. borrowing the car. But the delay between the alleged violation and the ticket in the mail can lead to doubt about whether you were in the car or not, Glisson said.

Can you remember what you were doing two weeks ago?

So while you have the option to contest the ticket that way, “an honest person won’t do that if they aren’t sure,” he said.

While he isn’t a fan of the cameras, his opinion is that the city is interpreting the RCW legally when it set the costs of the red-light cameras within the rates for parking tickets. Red-light tickets are $124, the priciest parking ticket is $250.

“That’s why I believe Bremerton is safe in this class action,” he said.

In addition, I got a PowerPoint file from Bremerton finance director Andy Parks that he’d shown the council. I’ve attached it here (now as a PDF so it’s easier for more people to read.)

Download it by clicking here.

Red Light Camera Fine A Hardship For Some

Here is a study that found red light cameras can make driving more dangerous

Comes now, Bernice Lee of Bremerton, who through a series of events found herself on both sides of one of Bremerton’s most heated issues.

Here is her testimonial.

Dear Andrew,
I was composing in my mind an email to send to you about the importance of the red light enforcement program, and how it really could lead to saving lives.

Then I opened Tuesday’s mail and found my own letter from Bremerton Police Department. The picture shows my car on the crosswalk, and then the second picture shows my back wheels on the crosswalk.

There is a tiny white print band of black above each picture, so I got out my magnifying glass to read it. It gives a time lapse, and also my speed at the time my car “ran the red light.” Once I discovered where the intersection was, I remembered going through what I saw from my angle as a YELLOW light. I was going 22 mph, at 11th and Warren. The time lapse shows “00.24” seconds of red light time in the first picture and 00.86 in the next photo. Those 00. numbers are counting tenths of a second.

NOW I know why all those people are whining “foul.” I have not had any kind of a ticket for 14 years, and I am not a reckless speeder or careless about lights. As I look down Warren Street, now, I think the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on those cameras could have been more wisely spent on cleaning up the ugly weeds in the sidewalks and along the streets.

The place looks like an abandoned planet, and visitors ask me “what is wrong with Bremerton’s governement.” Now I know. Live and Learn. Since my income is Social Security and a little part-time job, I may plead “mitigating circumstances” to try to reduce the $124 fine, but I am not holding my breath.

Bernice Lee

(Alleged) Red Light Runners Get Day In Court


The final numbers haven’t been tabulated, but court staff are bracing for a flood of residents contesting tickets for running red lights.

The city has placed six cameras around town to catch red-light scofflaws in the act, and the time to pay up or stand in front of a judge is coming. Read the last story on the lights here.

Theresa Ewing, Bremerton Municipal Court Administrator, said Thursday the court has yet to add up how many people are contesting their tickets, which arrive in the mail, but the first court calendar for the hearings has been set for June 10.

“We have a lot of people who are unhappy,” she said.

Contested hearings will take place at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and mitigation hearings will began at 4 p.m., Ewing said.

Each calendar will have time for 10 defendants and each person will have the chance to view the video of themselves running, or not running, a red light, as the case may be.

“That’s what the judge will see,” she said.

If an hour and a half doesn’t seem like a lot of time, it isn’t. Will there be more calendars?
“Oh yes!” Ewing said. Although the final tally isn’t known yet, officials say there will be lots of contested citations.

Municipal Court Judge James Docter will conduct the hearings, unless they become so numerous a court commissioner has to be sworn in.

“It just depends on the volume,” she said.

Commissioners are sort of stand-in judges, unelected, but vested with the authority to conduct a court’s business. Currently the court does not have any commissioners, Ewing said.

The primary complaint court staff has been hearing is people who didn’t know they had to come to a complete stop at a red light.

Also, staff has heard people say it wasn’t them behind the wheel.

“We have had quite a few of those,” she said.

Because the Legislature prohibits the Redflex cameras from photographing actual people, it might seem like a good defense.

However, the Revised Code of Washington (in other words, the law) says that owners are responsible for their cars, Ewing said. There are a few defenses, but they include providing proof that the car was reported stolen or that a new owner of a car hadn’t registered it yet.

Stay tuned as details become available. And if you’re preparing for your day in court, and want to share your story, drop us a line.

By coincide, my hometown of Renton just announced the start of it’s red light camera program.