No signal coming to 104 and Highland


The in basket: Just about a year ago, a teacher at David Wolfle Elementary in Kingston on Highland Road wrote to say, “At the end of each school day, I make the dangerous left turn onto (Highway 104). I use the word dangerous because of the 50 mph speed limit that is allowed, the amount of traffic coming from both directions, and the fact that there isn’t a traffic signal, only a stop sign.

“It is nearly impossible to make a left turn when the Kingston ferry has just unloaded or when school is out at the end of the day. The cars of parents who pick up their children followed by the seven buses filled with our kids stack up on Highland Road in an endless stream. I’ve seen many close calls and wonder if there’s any way to have a light installed there.

“It is highly important to keep our kids and parents of our community safe as well as the Wolfle staff,” she wrote. “I’m mainly concerned about having a traffic light operate regularly between the hours of 8:45-9:15 a.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The out basket: Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the state’s Olympic Region says that site doesn’t compete well with “about 50 intersections in the … region that do meet at least one warrant for a signal, but because of funding restraints, are still waiting for a traffic signal.”

“Warrants” is traffic engineer-speak for the criteria they use in evaluating an intersection for a traffic signal. At Highway 104 and Highland, they used two of eight possible warrants and it didn’t meet either one, Steve said. 

They used the “eight-hour warrant” that measures traffic during the highest eight hours of the day, plus accident history. They used the eight-hour warrant rather than the peak one-hour warrant because “there are still dozens of intersections meeting the eight-hour warrant (that have much worse delay or collision histories than intersections meeting the one-hour warrant) that remain unfunded.  We want to use the limited funding we have to address the worst locations first, and there are dozens of locations worse than this one.”

As I often do when addressing a site where I rarely drive, I tested this one a couple of times one school day afternoon. By 4 p.m., the traffic from the existing signal at Miller Bay Road had backed up nearly to the Highland intersection, and it was a long wait to get out both times, with mine the only car waiting. I can imagine how long it takes with seven school buses and many private cars in line. 

Nonetheless, red sequences at the signals at Miller Bay and back where Bond Road turns into Highway 104 ultimately provided a break in traffic that allowed me (and would have allowed several others) to turn.




One thought on “No signal coming to 104 and Highland

  1. I am actually disappointed that there doesn’t appear to be a real concern indicated for a traffic signal at Highland/Highway 104. In all the times I have been there to pick up my daughter after school, it has taken me at least 15 minutes in order to pull out from Highland. May I suggest a traffic signal that is operational during the times that school is getting ready to begin and when it has let out in order to keep our children/parents/friends/whomever safe? The rest of the time is simply a flashing yellow light for Highway 104 traffic and flashing red for drivers on Highland. This allows safety for our children/bus drivers/parents and others. I shudder to think that it takes a serious bus accident involving other vehicles before this is taken seriously. I respectfully request further consideration in this matter.

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