Widening of Ridgetop uphill from freeway not likely

The in basket: Monica Berninghaus of Silverdale says in an e-mail,
“I read in the Sun a few years ago that there was consideration to
widen Ridgetop to four lanes throughout the residential section.
“That would mean we would lose all the trees and foliage in the buffer regions, reducing our ‘noise’
buffer, and would allow people to pass each other while driving – creating more
reason for people to race and speed up there. It would also detract
from the park-like setting up there and would make it more dangerous for
bikers, runners, dog walkers, etc.
“The only real problems I see,” she said, “are these:
a) The right hand turning lane going south towards the mall (to get on
Highway 303) is too short and traffic backs up there (near Ridgetop Junior
High), and
b) The buses have no place to load other than to block traffic on
the north- and southbound lanes.
She’d like to see that right turn lane lengthened and turnouts created for buses. either in the median or on the right shoulders. “I notice some of the school bus drivers pull into the housing development entryways to load, and this really alleviates the back-ups,” she said.
The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says, “There are no current plans to widen that portion of Ridgetop. If traffic volumes ever warranted widening, an evaluation would be done to consider the most cost-effective way to accomplish that. That could include using the median, buying additional rights-of-way, or something else.
“As to Monica’s suggestions,” Doug said, “they would require a capital project to build what she suggests. We will evaluate her ideas for consideration in the next Transportation Improvement Program process later this year.
“Most school buses stop in traffic lanes throughout the county for the safety of the students. This ensures that traffic stops and reduces the likelihood of vehicle/student accidents.”
County Commissioner Josh Brown, who represents Silverdale, says the county is having trouble raising money for more likely road improvements, like the widening of Bucklin Hill Road and Ridgetop Boulevard through the commercial area downhill from Highway 303. No one has ever even suggested to him that widening of Ridgetop uphill from 303 would be a good idea,” he said.

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