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Poulsbo council member wants SR 305 traffic lights in sync

POULSBO — Badly timed traffic lights are no cheap nuisance. Roadway congestion inflicts the average peak-hour driver with an extra 38 hours of travel time and 26 additional needed gallons of fuel each year, amounting to a hefty $710 annual sum, according to a 2007 National Transportation Operations Coalition report. The report cites that upward of 10 percent of all traffic delay can be accounted for by poor light sequencing throughout the country — that’s 295 million wait hours each year.

A Web link to this study, along with a joint resolution for change, was sent to local officials last week in an effort by Poulsbo Council Member Becky Erickson to repair the troublesome traffic wait times along State Route 305.

Erickson cites several problems caused by the increasingly stop-and-go nature of the highway, including:

• traffic leaving the highway for alternative pathways through neighborhoods;

• motorists driving in aggressive patterns leading to unsafe behavior;

• negative environmental impacts; and

• negative economic impacts to residents due to loss in personal time, increased delivery times and increased fuel costs.

“I think that we all have suffered on the 305 corridor as we encounter one stop after another across the Island, at the Casino and into Poulsbo,” Erickson wrote in an e-mail to city and tribe leaders last week. “This is a burden to our citizens and costly to our environment.”

The resolution requests the Washington State Department of Transportation sequence the lights along the corridor during commute hours to expedite traffic from SR 3 to Winslow Way. It requests the lights be sequenced to “maximize traffic flow from the north-south and south-north directions by eliminating the demand functionality on these lights during commute hours” and that they be sequenced in a way “as to reduce the excessive queuing times and move the traffic flow through the corridor in a timed pattern to avoid traffic flow interruption.”

The resolution was sent to leaders of Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and Suquamish.

First up to flush out the proposal is Poulsbo’s Public Works committee tonight at 5 p.m.

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