Speed table meeting makes for a bumpy ride

HANSVILLE — Contention, frustration and anger overflowed during a Road Safety Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday night as Hansville residents expressed their views on the recently installed speed tables. Many were there to voice concerns over the process the committee and Kitsap County used to attain the safety additions, as well as frustration with the traffic calming devices themselves. Others attended to thank the group for its hard work and willingness to take steps to help lessen what they see as a major speeding problem in the North End community.

Installed in early October, and later altered because of design flaws, the speed tables allow motorists to traverse them at about 30 mph and are meant to keep drivers from reaching excessive speeds. Each table — basically an elongated speed bump — features an 8-foot ramp to a 10-foot plateau.

A split has now formed between residents who feel the additions are a worthwhile venture and those who feel they are the worst idea imaginable.

“We certainly didn’t get off on a good foot during our November agenda,” RSAC Co-chairwoman Patricia Pinkham said at the beginning of the meeting. “We weren’t well organized to take care of your comments.”

During the Dec. 4 meeting, RSAC members allowed 30 minutes for public input, and requested residents write down their issues so the committee can present a report to the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council.

“You are way overstepping what you think your authority is,” said Hansville resident Brad Luton, a professional civil engineer who has been designing roads and traffic safety devices for 40 years. “There are seven to 10 people up there dictating what you’re going to do to our roads. We don’t need telling, we know what’s going on with our roads.”

He requested later the county and committee remove even one set of the tables installed so residents have a route out of Hansville without driving over them. The 10 tables are placed on Hansville Road (2), Twin Spits Road (2), Hood Canal Drive (4) and Bridge View Drive (2).

The RSAC formed several years ago after a public meeting during which residents expressed frustration over speeding in the community.

RSAC member Dody Solaas said while Tuesday’s meeting was unpleasant, now other residents are doing what the current members of the committee did several years ago — and perhaps heralding a new incarnation of the committee itself. Though the meeting dipped into arguing matches briefly, the committee was able to maintain order for the most part so each resident who signed up to speak was given three minutes to talk.

“I just want to thank the committee, I live along a road with speed tables, and we’ve lived here 34 years,” said Hansville resident Pat Richards. “The traffic has gotten horrendous, and the pillows have brought back safety onto the roads. If a few people honk their horns, well, I’m OK with that.”

Beeping arose as another issue when Hansville resident John Hostvedt, who had heard other motorists honking their horns while traversing the speed tables, set up encouraging residents to speak out, and beep out, against the traffic calming devices and the RSAC.

“I didn’t vote for you, I didn’t ask the county to spend $49,000, and I resent that,” said Hansville resident Therese Reilly. “I want to tell you and the public my complete opposition to the traffic calming devices. They are not calming anyone.”

No decision has been made on what to do regarding the speed tables, and the RSAC announced its next meeting will be held in March as the members take a two-month hiatus from traffic issues. A report will be forwarded to the GHAAC to review and sent to Kitsap County officials.

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