State hits brakes on Bond speed limits

KINGSTON —  One of the biggest complaints residents have had of Bond Road is that the 55 mph speed limit is too fast for the way it is used, especially at the intersection of Gunderson and Stottlemyer roads.

After learning about these concerns from the community, Washington State Department of Transportation engineers conducted a speed study along the state route with some interesting results.

On this main thoroughfare between Kingston and Poulsbo, with both residential and commercial turnoffs, the WSDOT discovered that motorists drive, on average, slower than the posted 55 mph.

Thus, there were grounds for change.

Starting in May, the speed limit will be reduced along Bond Road between Big Valley Road and State Route 104 on two different stretches:

• From near Big Valley Road to immediately south of Foss Road, the existing 55 mph zone will be decreased to 35 mph

• From Foss Road to Minder Road, the existing 55 mph zone will be decreased to 50 mph

Often people believe that decreasing the speed limit will make the road safer, WSDOT communications manager for the Olympic region Lloyd Brown said.

But when they are decreased on a road where people go faster than the posted speed anyway, the alteration usually doesn’t make a difference, Brown said, noting that law enforcement and changes in driving behavior helps put the brakes on speeding.

However, according to WSDOT, drivers on Bond Road are traveling at an average of 46-56 mph in the 55 mph zone.

“If we lower the limit, they will keep speeding,” Brown said of situations where speeding is a problem. “But people (on Bond) aren’t driving that much faster than the posted sign.”

The new speed limits won’t impact the number of cars that travel on the road but will likely up commute times. The average daily trips (ADT) ranges from 13,000 ADT at the Bond Road/SR 104 intersection to 15,000 ADT near the Gunderson/Stottlemyer roads intersection. To put that into perspective for local motorists, State Route 305 at Hostmark has 19,000 ADT; SR 305 just east of Bond Road has 24,000 ADT and 28,000 ADT just west of Bond Road.

In addition to the reduced speed limits, WSDOT will begin work this year to install a signal at the Bond Road and the infamous Stottlemyer/Gunderson roads intersection. There is no set timeline for when work will start, Brown said.

The installation is the top signal safety priority in the WSDOT’s seven county Olympic Region.

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