Meeting circles safety

HANSVILLE — A little over a year ago, Hansville residents met for the first time in recent years to formally address traffic safety concerns in the area.

Tuesday evening, they gathered again at the Greater Hansville Community Center to examine what route the Greater Hansville Area Road Safety Advisory Committee plans to take in hopes of solving the ongoing problems.

With about 80 residents in attendance, including representatives from Kitsap County, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, committee members proposed speed tables and a traffic circle near the downtown core as options to quell speeding.

“The biggest problem seems to be the traffic circle,” said RSAC co-chairwoman Patricia Pinkham Wednesday morning, reflecting on some of the residents’ comments. “The issue is coming down the hill on snow days and potentially hitting it. It’s a matter of control coming down the hill.”

The proposed circle would be located at the bottom of the hill on Hansville Road near the downtown area between Buck Lake Road and Point No Point Road. There was also some concern expressed about drivers confusing the circle with a roundabout, a measure which has its own set of rules, she said. The current stop signs on Buck Lake and Point No Point Roads would remain in place, and vehicles on Hansville Road would have the right of way.

Other traffic calming devices introduced were several speed tables which would be placed on Twin Spits Road. They wouldn’t slow traffic to a crawl like speed bumps, but would force drivers to ease off the gas and obey the posted speed limit, said RSAC co-chairwoman Kathy Bourassa.

“Because our roads are unique we have unique problems,” she said. “They are multi-use roads, and they present unique challenges to us. We are focusing primarily on the safety of everyone using the road.”

Speeding is the chief complaint the county receives and law enforcement services get the largest amount of funding in the county budget, said North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen. In this case, something in addition to deputies is needed to ensure drivers adhere to the rules of the road.

“The issue of road safety was dominant in the Futures Project,” said Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council chairwoman Judy Foritano. “The community decided the issue of community safety couldn’t and shouldn’t wait for the Future’s Project to be completed.”

The RSAC, which formed after the March 2006 meeting, has spent hundreds of hours determining feasible ways to slow drivers down and make the roads safer for pedestrians.

The group also worked with NKF&R and KCSO to ensure emergency vehicles would still be able to reach fires, medical calls and accidents quickly. In this vein, the speed tables and circle were solutions everyone agreed on.

RSAC members will now take residents’ comments and questions and incorporate them into a proposal to be presented at the May 22 GHAAC meeting, Pinkham said. The GHAAC will then review it and either ask for revisions or approve the plan and send it to the county for perusal.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter how many cars are going 70 or 80 (miles per hour) over the limit,” Bourassa said. “It only takes one to cause an accident.”

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