Tag Archives: Kingston

Nothing planned for Parcells Road area near Kingston

The in basket: Kimberley Kelly writes, “Are there any future plans for the Highway 104/Parcells Road/Barber-Cut Off Road intersection in Kingston?

“The county re-aligned the road many years ago, however, when the ferry is unloading and/or when the elementary school is starting or ending its day, it can be nearly impossible to cross this intersection.

“We have lived in our home off Parcells Road for 23 years and this intersection is becoming more and more dangerous each year. There have been wrecks (including fatalities) and constant near-misses at this intersection. I would love to see a traffic signal or a large round-about at this location.

The out basket: Kitsap County has a study going it calls a “Complete Streets Study” of Kingston, but it’s not so complete that it stretches out to Parcells Road.

Doug Bear of Kitsap County public works says, “Parcells Road is outside the boundary of the Complete Streets Study.” Nothing is included on the county’s six-year Transportation Improvement Program extending out to 2021 for that intersection and the state also says it has no plans for improvements there.

Cluster of Kingston message signs questioned

The in basket: Walt Elliott of Kingston wonders about an array of signs he sees on weekends a block from the KIngston ferry terminal.

“A well-intentioned individual regularly puts up a cluster of message signs,” Walt said. “Putting up a sign or two is the norm for yard sales, events, messages etc. and is A-OK with most, but 10 signs is over the top for me.

“As I recall this isn’t allowed by RCW.  Although the stretch is patrolled by WSP to manage traffic, this weekend flock of signs remains as predictable as mushrooms after a spring rain.  Is there an acceptable upper limit ?”

Among the messages he’s seen, which vary, he says, are Kingston Port of Peace, 22 Vets Die Every Day, Earth Care not Warfare, Move to amend, Corps are not people, Be a well informed voter, No Lies radio, Informed consent, World Peace Thru 911 Truth, End Wars and Occupations, Time for Women to Stand Equal and 5 Women on the Supreme Court.

“The location is on SR 104 where it divides into two one way streets,” he said. “This is 2 and one half blocks from the toll booths.  The display normally runs from the fork in the road where the current community center parking lot is (and where WSP traffic control routinely parks) up past the intersection with Illinois Avenue.

“The individual has also set up his display in Poulsbo at the junction of 305 and Bond Rd. (307),” Walt said.

The out basket: . Claudia Bingham Baker of the Olympic region of state highways says, “We will have our maintenance crews look into it.  Private signs are not allowed on state right of way, so if that is occurring, we will first try to contact the signs’ owner, and follow up as needed after that.”

 

Kingston’s odd stop signal creates breaks in ferry traffic

The in basket: Erik Bjarnson writes, “I take the Kingston-Edmonds ferry about half a dozen times per month. When returning from Edmonds I get stopped at a red light at Washington Boulevard NE (the first light coming off the ferry) about 80 percent of the time. I don’t mind stopping at red lights when there is a reason for the light to be red, but it I have never stopped at that light and seen any cross traffic, vehicular or pedestrian.

Are you aware of any reason this light goes red to stop ferry traffic? Is it timed to give breaks in ferry traffic? Is it timed to improve flow with other lights through Kingston?
The out basket: Eric’s first guess is correct. Ken Burt of the state’s Olympic Region signal shop says the idea is to give traffic elsewhere in Kingston the opportunity to move during ferry off-loads.

“The condition that is described by Mr. Blair was put in prior to October 1994,” Ken said. “The side street was recalled to allow gaps in traffic downstream from the Washington Boulevard intersection.” (Recalled is the term signal techs use to describe having the signal change.) The gaps in traffic would allow cross street movements in downtown Kingston.

“We have made minor adjustments to the signal operation at Washington Boulevard.” he said, “that could allow less frequent stops to the ferry offloading vehicles.  We will need to monitor the effects in Kingston from this revision. If the revision does not negatively impact Kingston then we will leave it in place.”

Farm equipment is OK and roadways….If…

The in basket: Jerry Darnall of Kingston e-mailed me to say that agriculture is a growing industry in Kitsap County and “we’re seeing more agricultural equipment using both county and state roads.

State regulations say “agricultural equipment on the highways IS allowed but our local law enforcement doesn’t seem to understand that,” Jerry said. “I have been stopped on Miller Bay Road by a deputy sheriff while traveling from Premier Rentals to my farm (about 3/4 of a mile) and informed I needed to ‘trailer’ the tractor\loader.

“I explained I was using the equipment for agricultural purposes to clean drainage ditches,” Jerry said, “and he was welcome to write the citation because I knew is it was allowed.

“I politely suggested he check with his supervisor before writing the ticket, as it would save both of us court time. After 20 minutes of roadside wait time, he declined to write the ticket, and told me to ‘Drive careful and have a nice day.’

“I know Kitsap is not a large farming\agricultural community and law enforcement is not used to seeing Ag equipment on the roadways,” he said, “but it is LEGAL in Washington state. How can the renewed Ag enterprises get the word out to them, both the Sheriff and WSP, they are going to see more Ag equipment on Kitsap roads?”

The out basket: I asked both agencies to comment and got this from State Trooper Russ Winger.

“Your reader’s claim that farm vehicles are allowed on roadways is true, however there are quite a few specific requirements. Your readers assertion may seem rather simplistic when the following is considered.

He cited lengthy portions of state RCWs 46.37.160, 46.16A.080 and 46.16A.420 that I will try to paraphrase to save space. You can look up the exact wording online at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/.

Those laws require farm vehicles designed to travel at less than 25 mph to have hazard warning lights, head lamps, a red lamp and at least two red reflectors, all visible quite a ways down the road, and in many cases a slow moving vehicle emblem mounted on the rear.

There also may be licensing requirements, Russ said, plus a farm exempt decal that shows that the farm vehicle is exempt from registration requirements and allows the farm vehicle to be operated within a radius of 15 miles of the farm where it is principally kept. 

“Now, this considered,” Russ said, “if your reader rented the tractor/loader at a rental facility it stands to reason that it might not have been legal to drive on public highways unless meeting  the above requirements. I am not 100 percent sure but I am doubting that rental facilities comply with these requirements on equipment that is rented out for a mix of uses and probably transported over 15 miles on a regular basis. You would have to ask them.

“To say only that farm equipment IS allowed and that ‘our local law enforcement doesn’t seem to understand that,’ seems a bit simplistic when you look into the matter,” Russ said.

Deputy Scott Wilson of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says he concurs with Russ and said, “I will bring this matter to the attention of our training unit, in order to disseminate pertinent facts about this issue to patrol deputies.”

 

 

 

Driver thinks signs forbidding passing on the right on Bond Road would help

The in basket: Jerry Darnall of Kingston writes, “I travel Bond Road on a regular basis. Very few left-turn lanes exist, and many times I see vehicles pass stopped left turners, often at high rates of speed, on the right, particularly at the Bond Road/Pugh-Foss Road intersection.

“Recently I witnessed a Kitsap County Sheriff do that very tactic. I have even been passed on the right going into Kingston with some driver using the ferry holding lane as a passing lane, which is very scary, considering the number of local residents using that as a sidewalk when there is no ferry traffic.

“It’s my understanding that to drive over the fog line is considered ‘driving off the roadway.’ Am I wrong?” he asks.

“We seem to have more and more advisory signage.. seat belts, burning material, pictured school buses, etc … How about strategically placed signs advising ‘Passing stopped vehicle on right illegal,’ especially at Pugh and Bond Road, as this seems to be a current high accident intersection.

“(Are there) any plans to add a left turn lanes at that intersection?” Jerry asked in conclusion.

The out basket: Jerry is correct, crossing the fog line to pass on the right is against the law, but as with speeding, it’s a common violation. I confess to doing it myself, albeit at a very low speed after coming nearly to a stop. Those who do it without slowing run a great risk of hitting a bicyclist or pedestrian on the shoulder, not to mention another driver who belatedly decides to commit the same infraction and pulls out of line to the right.

Despite the examples of signs that Jerry mentions stating other laws, the prohibition of passing on the right while crossing the edge line is not one of the “rules of the road” the state wants to spend money on signing.

“We typically don’t sign the ‘rules of the road,’ as the same rule or law applies everywhere and is widely known,” says Steve Bennett, state operations engineer for this area.  “If we began posting signs stating, “Passing Stopped Vehicles on Right –  Illegal” we could add hundreds of signs to the state inventory with probably little effect.  Signs like this do little to stop aggressive drivers from passing on the right, even though they know it is illegal.

“In terms of Pugh Road, we have no plans, meaning (no) legislative approval or funding, to widen the highway to add a left turn lane (there) at this time.”

 

 

 

 

Ferry traffic in Kingston needs to use holding lane

The out basket: Cliff Durant wrote on Aug. 12 to say, “I was at the parts house in Kingston this evening. When I attempted to leave, the ferry traffic was backed up through town and as far as I could see out of town.

“The big problem was that no one would use the ferry holding lane,” Cliff said, “therefore stopping all traffic into town. I waited at least 20 minutes when I finally persuaded a driver to back up enough so I could get into the two-way left-turn lane and get where I wanted to go. There were times when cars were trying to go both ways in the two-way left-turn lane.

“Since the use of tally slips, people quit using the holding lane in town,” he said, “and when it backs up out of town they don’t use it there either. I called (9-1-1) and reported it and was told that is just the way it is when the ferry traffic backs up. I said someone needs to direct the traffic into the holding lane and was told there wasn’t anyone available.

“This happens quite often,” he said, “and doesn’t need to if the ferry (traffic) would just use the holding lane. Maybe signs advising the use of the holding lane would help.”

The out basket: The State Patrol manages traffic around the ferry terminals, so I asked its local spokeswoman, Trooper Krista Hedstrom about this.

“This does occur from time to time when the boat off-loads and the traffic lights stop traffic in both directions,” she said. “That will cause some gridlock. During the evening rush hour (during the summer only) there can be a 5-10 minute back-up, which is self-correcting when the boat loads.

“The problem is there is a mixture of commuters and leisure travelers that have absolutely no clue what to do regardless of our direction,” she said. “WSP does routinely direct traffic when it causes a back-up, however this issue typically corrects itself once the boat loads.  It usually takes more time directing everyone onto the shoulder than just allowing the traffic jam to self-correct itself.”

Long waits in Kingston during ferry off-loads explained

The in basket Lynn Hammond, who runs a salon in Kingston, wrote in July to ask, “When traveling northbound off the ferry in Kingston and you are stopped at the signal on Lindvog Road turning left, and there are no cars coming toward you going south toward the ferry, why doesn’t the light change for cars to turn left? 

“I know it has to do with the timing of the lights for the off-loading traffic, but if you are in line to turn, it takes forever for the light to change to go left.  The light at the corner of the motel in town has the same problem. I usually experience this in the evening when I am leaving town and there isn’t  a lot of traffic at that time of night.”

She claims to have waited five minutes for the light to change at times and seen exasperated drivers run it. She also told me this week nothing has changed since July.

The out basket: Jim Johnstone of the Olympic Region signal shop says, “During ferry offloads, the signals are in coordination in order to flush the ferry traffic out of Kingston.”

Two possible solutions that might help Lynn are not workable either technologically or for safety reasons, he said. 

Making the outbound left turn light at Lindvog work independently from the rest of the signal to provide just that movement in reaction to a waiting car is beyond that signal’s capabilities, he said. Once it is green, it will stay green until the adjacent through lane has used up its guaranteed 42 seconds of green and turns red, or traffic on Lindvog or the opposite left turn lane is detected. Inbound Highway 104 traffic within the 42-second cycle won’t trip the light, making those drivers wonder the same thing Lynn does about why it takes so long to get a green.

With an average of 470 inbound cars on Highway 104 during the afternoon comparing to only 92 left turners onto Lindvog, more traffic would be disadvantaged by such a change than is now, Jim said. 

Besides, he added, when the system is in coordination, the left turn signal won’t respond to detected traffic.

“It’s a painful lesson we have learned a couple of times,” he said, “including the Highway 303/Bentley (the Wal-Mart) signal (in east Bremerton,) which is not in coordination to allow us to conditionally reserve the left turn into Wal-Mart.”

Allowing left turns whenever incoming or cross-traffic permits, a so-called permissive signal, isn’t a good idea, he said. Once the state decides to allow left turns only when a green arrow permits, it doesn’t want to make the control less restrictive. Their high accident locations tend to be where drivers have the opportunity to turn left when the opposing green light for through traffic also is green, he said.

Kingston’s traffic signals go into coordination whenever a burst of traffic crosses detectors at the ferry terminal during off-loads, he said. The signals then all work on 80-second cycles, of which at least 42 seconds serves the main line. 

So no one should ever have to wait more than 80 seconds for a green light at Lindvog, he said. And an 80-second wait would occur only if the driver arrived at the light just as it goes red for his or her movement.

Outside ferry off-load times, the signals work independently of one another, reacting to the traffic the in-pavement detectors say is waiting.