Kingston group asks county for traffic safety improvements

The Kingston Community Advisory Council has asked for support from Kitsap Public Works to submit three Transportation Improvement Projects regarding traffic safety.

Two of the projects involve Kingston’s elementary schools (Wolfle and Gordon) and the complexity of intersecting rural roads with Highway 104’s 45+ miles per hour traffic, KCAC documents read. The third asks to address concerns for safe pedestrian crossings at West Kingston Road near the Village Green Community Center.

For the intersection of Barber Cut-Off Road/Parcells Road along Highway 104 near Gordon Elementary, KCAC states the need for improvements such as:

• The county roads connect at an angle to Highway 104, which widens the distance to cross the highway from one county road to the other.

• Getting from Barber Cut Off to Parcells involves crossing Highway 104 with a 45 mph limit, which is exceeded by most drivers.

• Kingston’s ferry port is 1.5 miles away and handles over 2 million cars annually, the vast majority of which pass this intersection.

• The intersection will see an increase in turns from Barber Cut Off and Parcells onto westbound Highway 104 with the new Active Traffic Management System, or ATMS.

• Most Kingston residents bound for the ferry that live west of this intersection will use Barber Cut Off to route them to the ATMS at Lindvog Road.

• Locals are already vocal about the need for traffic improvements even before the opening of the ATMS.

• Residents driving to the ferry who live north of Highway 104 and east of this intersection will be tempted to save time by making illegal and dangerous U-Turns. A roundabout could solve that problem.

• There are no pedestrian crossing safety features.

The second intersection KCAC says is in need of improvements is Highland Road along Highway 104 near Wolfle.

Highland is the lone entrance and departure road for Wolfle, with the challenge being efficiently moving student drop-off and pick-up traffic along, documents state. With more than 400 students and 65 staff, cars and school buses often wait two minutes or longer to turn onto Highway 104.

A continual problem is the left-turn delay that forces school buses that intend to go west on Highway 104 to turn right and take a detour through the strip mall at George’s Corner and then turn back onto Highway 104. A two-plus mile detour adds several minutes, burns more fuel and adds carbon to the atmosphere, per KCAC.

“This creates lengthy delays and parent frustration,” KCAC says. “Traffic dangerously backs up on the state route waiting to turn left into the school. School district staff and parents have been sharing these concerns with WSDOT for years with little progress.”

The state Department of Transportation did a traffic study that shows the intersection was rated very low in safety and efficiency. WSDOT agreed to install this year a yellow light that will flash during the a.m. arrival and p.m. departure times that would attempt to slow traffic to 35 mph.

Lastly, KCAC says a safe walkway is needed from the south to the west side of West Kingston Road as it is one of the area’s busiest roads.

There are more than 50 homes in the area and none on the .6-mile route are serviced by a sidewalk.

“Local residents have expressed concern over the lack of anywhere to safely cross,” KCAC says. “There are numerous senior citizens living on the south side of this road, and as Kingston’s very popular Village Green Community Center is located on the north side of (West Kingston Road) many cross the road regularly.”

KCAC says some type of passive or active pedestrian crossing could be a solution.