The public was unheard

Posted 9/11/19

How arrogant of the WSDOT official at the recent Open House (not a “hearing”) regarding a possible roundabout at the Hood Canal Bridge-West, to receive public comment unanimously opposing …

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The public was unheard

Posted

How arrogant of the WSDOT official at the recent Open House (not a “hearing”) regarding a possible roundabout at the Hood Canal Bridge-West, to receive public comment unanimously opposing the WSDOT-proposed traffic modification, and then dismissively comment, “This is our best option.” We’re going to do this anyway.

The public was unheard at the non-hearing. How the arrogance of power works: advance a draft plan as “the best option” and only then allow the user group to have input. And then dismiss the input.

During questioning that preceded public comment, his stock response was, “Any other design would be too expensive.” Why then invite public comment or objection? The user group at the well-attended meeting brought up many valid objections. Notably, the roundabout is under-designed (one traffic lane each way) for likely traffic volumes, based on traffic counts from an October weekday. Imagine when 150% or more of that ‘normal’ volume occurs on a summer weekend? Or after the Peninsula resident population grows by 50% in coming decades? But wait! Our State Representative Mike Chapman (not involved in the preliminary design) is on the House Transportation Committee. We can remind him that the State found $4 billion for the two-mile SR 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle. Really, ‘not enough’ funding to build a thoroughly adequate intersection at Hood Canal Bridge-West that provides for traffic needs for decades to come?

“Metered roundabout” designs have been built in just six locations in the entire country. At Hood Canal, it would be an experiment. Semis coming to full stops before entering the roundabout and then slowly accelerating steeply westbound, would be commonplace. Imagine the back-ups. A better solution lies in free-flowing traffic utilizing a basic overpass design, matching the SR 104/SR101 intersection. Next best: a camera-activated signal matching SR104/SR3 at the bridge’s east end. Find the funding!

Forest Shomer
Port Townsend

Comments

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Justin Hale

A programmed traffic light at the west end of the HCB would be the best and cheapest solution, but the state DOT doesn't want to hear it. A roundabout there will turn an occasional congestion problem when the bridge closes for marine traffic, to a full-time congestion problem.

Wednesday, September 11
Dawn mohrbacher

We took six months and ripped apart port townsend and we still can't manage stripes down the center lane. Now we are going to f our local businesses with a basic....don't come to port townsend construction project at the bridge. Wtf a we thinking? Kate, Dan, yes I'm talking to you! We put no money into our schools so we have to take our children across the water, but we are going to build a massive construction project at the bridge. Grow some balls. This is stupid, unwanted and bad for our community. This is your legacy I'm so glad I'm not you because I wouldn't want this legacy on my backside

Thursday, September 12
Justin Hale

Dawns right, where are those we pay to represent us, the opposition to these roundabouts seems to be pretty evident, time to shake the cages of the County Commissioners.

Thursday, September 12
David Thielk

This statement seems apparent to me: The solution to reducing congestion at the bridge is to a) find a way to reduce the number of bridge openings, and b) reduce the number of cars travelling through the area.

This statement also seems apparent to me: The solution to reducing traffic accidents is to a) reduce the number cars travelling through the area, and b) use traffic calming infrastructure at the critical danger areas to reduce the speed of vehicles.

Isn't it obvious that the least expensive, most efficient step we can take to deal with both issues is to drastically reduce the number of vehicles travelling over the bridge?

One might argue that the only way to deal with injury accidents and congestion is to continuously expand the widths, numbers of lanes, number of overpasses, and try to keep up with ever increasing traffic. But, the planners in urban areas realized 40 years ago that it is a impossible and expensive undertaking. Instead, most planners realize that the most cost effective way to deal with accidents and congestion is to get people out of their cars and to develop better public transit.

I propose that we act now through using voice and votes to move progressively ahead with active transportation alternatives, including public transit. In the meantime, we save some lives and healthcare costs by constructing a single lane a roundabout to calm traffic at the intersection.

A note on the side - heavily loaded trucks travel all over the mountainous states and over mountain passes every day. I have great faith that the professional drivers on our highways are competent and capable, and that we will never see dozens of destroyed transmissions by the side of the road on the uphill run. Annoying for some drivers going up hill there? Probably. But damaging the transmission? I don't think so.

Friday, September 13