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Tracyton traffic calming plan draws cheers and jeers
"The Kitsap County Department of Public Works found out all over again the truth of Abraham Lincoln's statement: You can't please all the people all the time. Some residents praised the proposed devices to slow traffic on the narrow road down between Bucklin Hill and Fairgrounds Road at the Aug. 2 open house at the Silverdale's Community Center.Others couldn't find anything good to say about it.We live on a designated highway, the Blue Star Memorial Highway (a section of Tracyton Boulevard) that's meant to carry vehicles and people so as not to landlock property, said Bill Seelow, who lives near the Fairgrounds Road intersection. I have no problem with the speed of vehicles.Seelow came to the meeting with two pages of critiques of the proposed traffic calming remedies.With these speed bumps (speed tables) what's the impact on service vehicles like school buses, snow plows, garbage trucks, and emergency vehicles, fire engines and ambulances? Seelow asked. What if an ambulance going over this obstacle course gets there five minutes too late?Response time by emergency vehicles is well under that time, even with speed tables, said Ed Schofield, a firefighter with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Tracyton resident.CKFR Battalion Chief Randy Billick represented the fire district at the meeting, to review the plan and see if the trucks would be able to get through, he said.They would, he said.A speed table differs from a speed bump in size. A speed table has a slight incline up to the table, which is about 24 feet long, then a descent.The plan Susan Graham of The Shea Group, a division of Parametrix traffic consultants, displayed four traffic tables on the approximately 1.5 mile span of road between Bucklin Hill and Fairgrounds roads.The plan also includes about 12 medians with landscaping.Will the medians create a visual barrier? one of the 50 or so Tracyton neighbors attending the open house asked.We have to place them so we can maintain a sight distance, said Graham.Visibility was a concern for Dianne Clark, who lives two house south of Bucklin Hill Road with her husband Brian. The first round median is just south of their driveway.My concern is turning left out of my driveway, said Dianne Clark. I'm very short and my visibility is low.Her husband has a wait-and-see attitude about the project.I watched how they did a traffic-calming project in University Place, near his job in Tacoma, Clark said. My impression is to try it.Why can't some of these (side) roads have three-way stop signs? asked Vincent Spinelli, a 33-year resident of the area.When Spinelli moved, he said, trafic was so sparce his bassett hound would lay in the middle of Tracyton Boulevard.When we'd hear a horn blow, I'd say to the kids, go down and get the dog out of the road, Spinelli said.He thinks Palmer Lane is a good candidate for a three-way stop because it goes east over a hill through a subdivision.There's a very small visual area, that's why I'd like to see a stop sign, he said.Jon Brand of the Public Works Department said planners struggled with the Tracyton Boulevard project because the area has a lot of driveways. We want to make sure the needs didn't conflict with people's abilities to get out of their driveways.Local ophthalmologist Paul Kremer, who has three small children, said there were almost 60 driveways on a three-quarter mile stretch of road.I'm not worried at all about the (planters and speed tables), he said. He noted county data about high traffic volumes on the road.The calming features are not designed to reduce volume, but encourage people to slow down, he said.Although there's no chance he could let his children out anywhere near Tracyton, Kremer said Slowing traffic is doing a service.Although the design is completed and the department is in the process of purchasing rights of way, it might be a while before the project begins.It's being funded by a $295,000 federal grant. In order to collect the money, we have to comply with federal requirements, Brand said. We have to go through a 14-day State Environment Protection Act review.It was a glitch the weren't expecting, Brand noted.We did a biological evaluation trying to determine potential impacts of the project, and there's not going to be any, he said. "