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 …
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!