A portion of Fjord Drive was temporarily shut down last week to allow family and friends of Shane Larson to gather at a makeshift memorial.
Larson, 19, succumbed to his injuries after his vehicle crashed into Liberty Bay on the morning of Dec. 14. The investigation into the accident is still ongoing, but according to Poulsbo Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker, a high rate of speed appears to be a contributing factor.
Following the accident, a small memorial with a wood cross, a poem by A.A. Milne and flowers were placed at the site of the crash along Fjord Drive in Poulsbo.
That memorial grew as people gathered to remember the young man from Kingston. The memorial now includes a large white cross, listing all the things Larson meant to his community and his family: son, brother, friend and hero. Candles and other trinkets representing fond memories of Larson, along with more flowers were all laid at the site as well.
Larson’s immediate family, which includes his mother and father, stepmother, three brothers and his fiance gathered around the memorial and recited the Lord’s Prayer before leading the crowd of family and friends in prayer as well.
Larson’s father, Sean Larson, through tears in his eyes, thanked everyone for coming and reminded them to love each other while they’ve got each other.
Larson was well-loved by the Kingston community and those who knew him. He was perhaps best known for his love of cars, according to his mother, Cindy Larson, he would attend car rallies with his friends nearly every weekend.
A discussion on solutions for speeding on Fjord drive came up during the public comment period of the Dec. 18 meeting of the Poulsbo City Council.
Poulsbo resident Ian Beck presented a petition to the council signed by 48 people asking the council to be more proactive when it comes to increasing safety along Fjord drive.
“This is becoming a major arterial road and we anticipate that more traffic will probably eventuate when the traffic circle on Johnson goes through, we hope this is not the case, but we fear it may be. We would, therefore, think that this is a very good time for the city to make some positive changes to affect the speeding along the road,” Beck said.
Suggestions ranging from making Fjord a one-way street to flashing speed signs, to speed bumps and tables have all been made over the years, but each has received push-back from residents along Fjord for a variety of reasons.
“It’s a problem. We know it’s a problem. We have a small amount of money that we are working to put in a larger amount of money for a grant to do what we call ‘road dieting.’ Road dieting is when you take a road that is fat and make it thin … narrowing the road makes people slow down,” Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said.
Erickson also noted that they have tried flashing speed signs in the past, but received complaints from the neighbors who didn’t like the lights flashing outside their homes. Similar complaints came with the idea of making the street a one-way road and adding speed humps or speed tables.
“You’ll get huge push-back from the fire department, and I’m thinking about that poor young man that died down there and how many seconds, every second is precious when you are going to those kinds of events, can you imagine trying to go up to speed humps all along Fjord? It would slow down first response,” Erickson said.