Tag Archives: one-way

Homer Jones Drive complaint is revived

The in basket: Longtime friend Vickie Barrie wrote the other day, “Well, Travis, you answered this concern a few years ago, but it continues and I don’t think it was addressed quite right.

“Homer Jones Drive is a one-way street running past the Bremerton YMCA,” she said. “When I leave the YMCA, I go to the north end of the street, driving and staying in the left lane because I plan to make a left turn. Many times, another driver pulls up in the right hand lane and plans to turn left also (they may have forgotten that this is a one-way street).

“I have had fingers wagged at me and near-miss collisions. Could there be arrows painted on the road or a sign put up indicating that the right lane is for right turns and the left lane is for left turns?”

The out basket: Vickie is right that I didn’t give much credence to this when a reader first brought it to my attention a few years ago. It just didn’t seem likely that it was a common occurrence.

I quickly got a snarl from another reader saying it does happen regularly and now Vickie checks in with her update. She says it occurs in her presence a couple of times a month.

I’ve sat and watched the intersection off and on over the ensuing years, but it seems I always choose the wrong hour, early afternoon, as there is hardly any traffic at all while I’m there, let alone conflicts.

Jerry Hauth, in his first year as street engineer for Bremerton, says, “This is the first that I have heard of this one though I can see how it could happen. I am passing this on to the Road Department, with this email, to see what they think of the arrows idea.”

I’m still stumped by how a succession of drivers could make this mistake. Are they assuming cars in the curb lane on the left are parked, or parking? Perhaps some red paint on the curb to create a short no-parking zone would help a little.

Olympic Avenue in Bremerton proposed for one-way traffic

The in basket: A Gomez writes, “Olympic Avenue between Sixth Street and Burwell Avenue (in Bremerton) is so narrow and with parking allowed on both sides, only one car can fit going in any direction.

“Why doesn’t the city of Bremerton make Olympic Avenue a one-way street just like Fourth and Fifth streets between Olympic and Naval that are as narrow and long as Olympic Avenue?”

The out basket: I had not heard this suggestion before, and neither had Jerry Hauth, who took over the job of city traffic engineer just last year.

“Without further consideration, and probably public input, I don’t have an opinion on this,” he said. “This is the first I have heard of this. As we saw with the suggested closure of Veneta, the community sometimes has very strong feelings about some of this stuff.”

Changing two-way streets to one-way is often a hot-button issue, especially if there are businesses on the street, which isn’t the case on Olympic.

It would be a logical place for such a change through. As the reader notes, the block of Fourth and Fifth between Naval Avenue and Olympic already is what’s called a one-way couplet, with traffic moving in opposite directions. More significantly, the next parallel street to Olympic on the west is one-way southbound.

A. Gomez should take it up with his city councilperson, Dino Davis, who can be reached through the council office at 473-5280 or online at city.council@ci.bremerton.wa.us

When is a one-way street a one-way street?

The in basket: Elaine Henderson sent a typed letter (it’s been a long time since the Road Warrior has gotten one of those) to ask “Is it ever permissible to make a LEFT TURN on a RED LIGHT after making sure the cross street is clear of traffic?

“Yesterday I was driving east on Burwell Street approaching Washington Avenue (in Bremerton) ” she wrote on May 16. “‘The traffic light was red and there was one vehicle waiting at the light. As I stopped behind the vehicle, it made a left turn onto Washington Avenue while the light was still red.

“I drive this route at least once a week, the light at that intersection is usually red. I’ve always waited until the light changes to green before making my left turn.

“Is there perhaps an exception at this intersection regarding no left turn on red because two-way traffic ends at Burwell Street?”

The out basket: It sounds like Elaine may be aware of the little known law permitting lefts against a red light, but only  onto a one-way street going in the direction of the turn.

This could be a thorny legal issue were someone to be stopped and cited for what Elaine saw that driver do, but I’d have to guess that law doesn’t extend to a street that’s one-way SOMEWHERE along its length.

The wording of the state law (RCW 46.61.055) says “vehicle operators facing a steady circular red signal may, after stopping, proceed to make a right turn from a one-way or two-way street into a two-way street or into a one-way street carrying traffic in the direction of the right turn; or a left turn from a one-way or two-way street into a one-way street carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn; unless a sign posted by competent authority prohibits such movement.”

The same thing is permitted at a red arrow light.

Just a block west of Washington, going the other way on Burwell, such a turn is legal onto one-way Pacific Avenue, providing one comes to a complete stop and yields to any traffic with a green light or pedestrian in the way.

I suppose a driver could argue that he WAS turning onto a one-way street, even though the one-way portion of Washington ends before the portion of the street he’s entering. But I wouldn’t expect the arguement  to prevail in court, unless he gets a judge who delights in splitting hairs. And I’d advise Elaine to continue waiting for the green light there.

Why was Broadway in Bremerton made one-way southbound?

The in basket: When Olympic College made Broadway Avenue through its Bremerton campus one-way this year, I understood the reason – to keep students and other pedestrians safer from vehicle traffic as they cross Broadway.

But I wondered why they made it one way southbound. That’s still a viable detour option for drivers in a hurry when they come to a red light at 16th Street after crossing Warren Avenue Bridge.

Wouldn’t one way northbound keep more non-college traffic off campus, I asked.

The out basket: John Perlic of Parametrix, which did the traffic study for the new college parking lots, said they decided that requiring college-bound traffic coming from the north to go down to 13th Street to turn right to reach the parking lots would be less safe for those drivers than turning into the wider 16th Street entrance. More college-bound traffic comes from the north than the south, he said.

Further, he said, there was a surge of cut-through car traffic in the afternoon when Bremerton High School got out for the day, and southbound one-way on Broadway kept those cars off the college campus.

Eventually, the college, which obtained ownership of Broadway from the city of Bremerton a while back, may close the street altogether, he said.




Longer one-way stretch on Pacific Avenue proposed

The in basket: Ian Logan suggests lengthening the one-way portion of Pacific Avenue in Bremerton.

“Change the 300 block of Pacific Avenue, one block north of Burwell, from two-way to one-way-only southbound,” he wrote. “Pacific Avenue is already one-way southbound immediately south of its intersection with Burwell as it approaches the ferry terminal and the southern portion of downtown.

“The 300-block of Pacific has very poor center-striping right now (faded and far too hard to see), and I have on more than one occasion seen southbound traffic in what is supposed to be the northbound lane immediately north of Burwell.

“This change would have no negative effect on downtown traffic and would provide a safer and more easily navigated approach to the ferry terminal,” Ian said.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridriksson of the city of Bremerton street engineers says he appreciates the input, adding, “There are times that a citizen looking at a situation provides a solution that we had not previously thought of.

“In this case,” Gunnar said, ” the city has looked at several scenarios for downtown, including making Washington Avenue and Pacific Avenue (one-way in opposite directions).  This dates back to the ’60’s or so when the city starting really running into parking and circulation problems.

“Businesses have typically not embraced one-way streets due to perceived problems with customers getting to the business.  Studies on one-way versus two-way streets have found both have their merits and problems, but it really boils down to a personal preference/bias.

“We do have a downtown circulation plan that has been indefinitely shelved for now, but I will include (Ian’s suggestion)  into the file for when we pick it back up,” he concluded..