Proposed Washington Avenue changes raise commuters’ hackles

The in basket: Doug Whittle and Jeff David both have expressed misgivings to me about the city of Bremerton’s plan to make Washington Avenue in Bremerton a single lane in each direction between Fifth Street and the new Manette Bridge, replacing a lane with wider sidewalks.

“It seems very unwise to clog traffic flow for the vast majority who travel by vehicle in favor of providing the ideal situation for the minority of bikers and pedestrians,” Doug said.

“In years past, I occasionally commuted to my former employment in the shipyard by bicycle,” he said, “At that time, it was truly an obstacle making the crossing over the old Manette bridge where traffic was mere inches away if you rode on the roadway in lieu of walking your bike on the pedestrian sidewalk. With the new bridge, bicyclists ‘have it made,’ in my opinion.

“The short block between Sixth Street and the bridge seems a very minor inconvenience in its shortcomings for pedestrian and bicycle commuters.  It seems ridiculous to squeeze the traffic lanes for vehicles in order to give the small minority the very best conditions.”

“And it will be interesting to hear what those responsible for these dimwit changes have to say when a police car or emergency vehicle gets caught in the one-lane traffic with no means of getting around it, and there is a significant consequence to their response delay,” he said.

Jeff said, “”What happens at Sixth Street when a car wants to turn left onto Sixth and blocks traffic going to the bridge and what happens at the bridge when a vehicle going over to 11th does not have a green (again stopping vehicles turning right onto the bridge)?

“Is it more important to move pedestrian traffic or vehicle traffic? I do think a nice bike/pedestrian sidewalk is great but does that bring more business to the downtown?” Jeff asked.

In passing their comments along to the city engineers, I tossed in my opinion that eliminating ways around cars waiting for traffic to clear before turning is the opposite of what street improvements should be accomplishing.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson, the city’s extremely cooperative spokesman for such matters, asked for some patience on this subject.

“I have been getting comments from quite a few commuters that are very concerned about this, but I do not want to speak further until after we have a traffic study completed,” he said. “We are looking at (the state) awarding us design monies sometime in late July/early August.  Then a couple of weeks for consultant selection, eight weeks for council approval, and giving the consultant four to six weeks or so to complete the study – the earliest I can discuss this intelligently is probably sometime just before Christmas this year.”


3 thoughts on “Proposed Washington Avenue changes raise commuters’ hackles

  1. People need to understand the mayor really doesn’t want traffic in Bremerton. Why else would she keep making streets smaller and more difficult to maneuver? Then she wants a grocery store in town. I wonder how she thinks the stores get re-stocked? Wheelbarrows? Fairies? Magic? Obviously she has never watched the traffic jams during commuter hours on Washington, Warren, 6th, and 11th streets. The bobble-head council will not oppose her on anything, and I don’t believe she wil be satisfied until the town is completely avaoided by tourists and businesses. There is no tourist attractions now, except empty buildings. She is continuing in the same vein Bremer started. There is nothing to attract new business. Oh, maybe the tacky lights across 4th street hanging from crooked poles.

  2. During work on the approaches to the Manette Bridge, there was only one lane heading to bridge from downtown, and holdups were actually very rare. As it is, traffic turning left from 6th always heads into the present right lane, though legally it should go into the left lane, signal again and change lanes. Traffic turning left from the bridge, again, entirely ignores the inner lane and heads straight into the curb lane, whether or not the driver plans to turn right on 6th. In other words, the new arrangement will simply ratify what already happens.

    There is very little demand I’ve ever seen for taking Washington northbound to go past the bridge; plenty of better routes are available.

    Seems to me that some folks are having trouble recognizing that Bremerton has become a city, with the accompanying need for more complex traffic patterns than everyone just driving every which way he pleases. Life changes; cities grow. Live with it.

  3. Ah, those pesky grants. Just gotta jump on them and then have the state dictate their idea of how the project will happen.

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