Long wait for a green light on Burwell at Warren

The in basket: Robert Campbell says, “I travel by bus and sometimes by car to and from PSNS.  I have noticed that the new lights after the tunnel project was completed at Burwell and Warren are slowing commuter traffic eastbound. 

“For some reason,” he said, “the engineers felt that westbound traffic on Burwell needed a left-turn signal to enter a Diamond parking lot at the south end of Warren. Not only does this seem odd, the left hand light is very long. Eastbound drivers going to the ferry terminal stack up at the light in the mornings and during peak ferry loading times, while no one ever turns left. 

“I have not timed this light, but few people turn left into the parking lot.  And the time it delays eastbound traffic towards the terminal seems unwarranted.

 “I would submit that this light is totally unnecessary,” Robert said. “And certainly it should stay green for a very short time.  It is a back route into an alley that could access the back of the new police station, but the police station has a much shorter access just west of it.”

Also Bill Throm of South Kitsap told me many months ago he got the impression the light stayed green way too long for cars EXITING that parking lot.

The out basket: Brenden Clarke, project engineer on the tunnel, who also holds sway over the changes made to accommodate the tunnel, says the problem is kind of collateral damage from serving the main traffic flows.

“Due to the through and left movement on Burwell heading eastbound, the east and westbound directions of Burwell must have separate phases,” he said.  “As a result, when westbound comes up green the eastbound direction must receive a red so that the eastbound lefts are not in conflict.  

As long as they have to be stopping eastbound Burwell traffic while the westbound is flowing, they might as well leave the turn arrow into the parking lot on green even if traffic rarely demands it, he said. No other movement would be permissible during that time.

They tried splitting the left turns onto northbound Warren from the through eastbound traffic, giving the latter a green light while the inside lane from which turns must now be made stayed red. 

“Despite pavement markings and the signal displays, motorists who have been used to turning left only for two years did not take well to the new configuration,” he said. “People were turning left on red, or turning left from the right lane when left lane motorists were going through.” 

“The signal is currently set up as efficiently and safely as possible considering the constraints,” he said. “(The state)  and the city of Bremerton worked together to come up with the signal timing that is currently being used.  Without major (and costly) modifications to the signal, we feel that it is operating as well as it can be.” 

As for traffic leaving the parking lot, I can’t say what the case may have been back when Bill mentioned it, but it’s green only long enough to serve waiting cars now.





5 thoughts on “Long wait for a green light on Burwell at Warren

  1. It seems to me that this intersection could use one of those flashing yellow arrows like we see throughout Port Orchard. The left turning westbound traffic going into the parking lot could have a flashing yellow arrow while the east bound traffic on Burwell could still have a green light.

  2. Perhaps, but this is a state-owned signal within the city, and neither has joined Kitsap County in the use of the flashing yellow turn signals

  3. After reading your summary of Brendan Clarke’s take on the intersection, I have to object to what he says. In the pre-tunnel days, there used to be a left turn arrow for the inside lane of eastbound Burwell to turn onto Warren. I believe the right lane eastbound was for through traffic, and the eastbound inside lane was left-turn only at Burwell. I remember it worked FINE, and there was two-way flow on Burwell once the left turn arrows went out. So what Mr. Clarke is saying is simply not true. And I think one through-lane eastbound with longer green would get more cars through than the current combination of two through lanes and longer waits.

    Tying the new light pattern at Burwell and Warren to the tunnel is really a stretch. The physical configuration of the intersection was not changed at all from what it was pre-tunnel. It was always two lanes going east, and one lane going west. I am not buying Mr. Clarke’s perception of the situation. Please keep questioning this, and ask them why they can’t just make it like it was before the tunnel. It worked a lot better that way.

  4. The arrow on the street and the arrow by the traffic light indicate you can only go straight west on Burwell. Why not eliminate the left turn traffic light into the parking area at the end of Warren Avenue? It would still be accessible for drivers on east bound Burwell and southbound Warren?

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