Change coming for left turners near Fred Meyer in Bremerton

The in basket: Vern Beeson and Steve Newton called me last fall to protest what they feel is the misuse of an access on Highway 303 in Bremerton across from the Camelot Court mobile home park, where Vern lives. It’s configured only for right turns into and out of the parking area at the Azteca restaurant just north of Fred Meyer.

But, both men said, it’s often used by left turners coming south on the highway. They aren’t dissuaded by the awkward configuration of that access for left turns.

Steve said he was almost hit by an Access bus that roared into the exit half of the access on Sept. 2, ignoring the Do Not Enter sign on that half.

“Nearly every time I’ve driven into East Bremerton the last year and a half,” he said, “there is a car trying to make an illegal left to go in the wrong way at this intersection” so they do not have to wait at the left-turn signal just ahead at Fred Meyer.

“(Are there) any plans to force traffic to go through the light, or does a fatal accident have to occur before action is taken?”

Vern added an aspect of the problem that hadn’t occurred to me. Drivers waiting to turn left toward Azteca are in the way of people like him who want to pull into the center area and make their own lefts to go home, he said. It’s especially irritating when he’s pulling his trailer and must then find a place to turn around up ahead so he can return and make a right turn into Camelot Court.

Unlike Steve and others who have objected to this, who want to see left turners toward Azteca cited for an illegal turn, Vern suggests closing the right-in half of that right-in-right out access altogether. He never sees anyone actually turn right into the parking area, he said.

The out basket: I’ve written about this twice before and the last time, in July 2005, I wrote that those left turns appear to be legal. There is no cross-hatching, sign or broad yellow center stripe to prohibit a left-turn, and the pavement arrows in the middle there show it as a two-way turn lane.

I so concluded despite a state patrol position that the turns SHOULD be illegal but that it would be hard to enforce with the current striping.

Trooper Krista Hedstrom, who has taken over as spokeswoman for the local WSP detachment, agrees with her predecessor from 2005, and says this time the state Department of Transportation has agreed to install No-Left-Turn signs, when it gets around to it, to allow citations for the action.

As for Vern’s idea, WSP would oppose closing that half of the access, she said. “Closing the right-in half of that access may eliminate one issue, but could potentially create others,” she said.”By eliminating that access, you are creating unnecessary traffic in the Fred Meyer parking lot which creates risks to pedestrians/shoppers.

“Right now that access may not be used much but that could be partly due to the fact that many of the businesses have closed,” she added.  “Once those buildings are occupied again, traffic will begin to pick up for those using that right-turn-in.”

That’s beside the point for Steve’s situation, as the turn he describes by the Access bus would clearly have been a violation, since it went in the exit and the driver ignored the Do Not Enter sign there.

4 thoughts on “Change coming for left turners near Fred Meyer in Bremerton

  1. I think this SHOULD be a legal turn for two reasons:
    1) The light at the Fred Meyer stop takes forever to change
    2) The light doesn’t stay green long enough for enough drivers to get through. Especially when there’s a backup once the turn is completed, forcing others to remain at the light for another grueling 5-7 minutes.

    I’ve used that “illegal” entrance twice. Both times I went to the Auto store and felt that a person shouldn’t have to drive through the Fred Meyer parking lot when access is easier from the highway when no other traffic is coming. The same with those going to Azteca.

    I can understand the frustration for those turning into Camelot trailer park to get home. Not sure what a reasonable solution is but possibly:

    1) Create another entrance for Camelot at the Fred Meyer light.
    2) Decrease the wait time at the left turn Fred Meyer light.

  2. I think perhaps that one of the reasons people heading south on Highway 303 turn into the Azteca entrance despite its awkward configuration is because the left turn light at the Fred Meyer intersection is so short – often permitting only 3 or 4 cars at a time to make the turn. I have often waited at least 2 changes of the light before being able to turn into Fred Meyer parking lot, and during high volume shopping times such as pre-holiday or after work the wait can be even longer than that. At Christmastime, on two occasions I had to wait for 3-4 changes of the light before I could turn, with the left turn lane filled back past the Azteca entrance. Perhaps a yellow blinking arrow, traffic sensor, or increased timing for that light would help alleviate the problem.
    Susan Dougherty

  3. It’s a waste of time to sign, and a hazard to block the “illegial” left turn off H303 into Fred Meyers parking lot. This has been signed twice before. Drivers simply plow the signs down. The issue there is the timing of the light for the left turn pocket.

    If that entrance is blocked the pocket will fill, and traffic will back up in the southbound lane creating a traffic hazard from cars approaching from the north. I have often seen traffic backed up a 1/4 mile or farther waiting to turn left. Traffic approaching from the north is often exceeding the speed limit, and not expecting to stop. Blamo! Not only that, but traffic will simply proceed a little further south and make an “illegal” left at the end of the parking lot before the tire store.

    In contrast, the northbound left turn into Walmart works perfectly. You never have to wait more than a few seconds to turn left. The issue with the dangerous turns on Furney and H303 is the timing of the lights. That’s what needs to be fixed. Nothing else will ever work.

    Sharell Lee

  4. Just a little to the North on HWY 303 the situation is repeated at the entrance and exit of Lowes that is directly across from Vena Ave. N.E. Trying to turn left onto Vena from the North Bound direction is many times hampered by South Bound traffic turning left into Lowes. Also people leaving Lowes at thei intersection sometimes trun left in order to gain access to the South Bound 303 lanes. Seems Lowes should install a NO lEFT TURN sign on the exit that by curbing encourages traffic to merge into North Bound lanes.

    As for the Camelot Mobile Home Park if the driver travels South one more block to Franklyn that street connects to the park. No need to search for a turnaround location. One could also turn left onto either Franklyn or Vena and take Hylan either North or South and turn back onto HWY 303 and easly head South back toward Bremerton.

    Light at the intersection of HWY 303 does need some timing adjustments for those turning left from South Bound lanes. A NO TURN ON RED at this intersection for those coming from the North would help keep the shorth entrance into Fred Meyers open fr traffic turning left from the North Bound lanes.

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