County expedites a safer speed

HANSVILLE — It looks like the speed limit on Hood Canal Drive, between Cliffside and the hairpin turn, will neither remain at 25 mph nor increase to 35 mph. Instead, it be halfway at 30 mph.

After about two months of reviewing old ordinances and considering petitions from neighbors for either travel speed, Kitsap County Public Works has proposed an ordinance that would establish a limit of 30 mph on Hood Canal Drive between the Cliffside neighborhood and sharp curve in the roadway.

Residents will have a chance to tell the county commissioners how they feel about this idea Monday, when the board holds a hearing during its 10 a.m. June 13 meeting in Port Orchard.

Since April, residents on Hood Canal Drive have been questioning the legality of the posted speed limit, which has been 25 mph for at least 10 years. After enduring weeks of scathing e-mails, North Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen this week sent a letter to more than 200 people who concerned about the issue — including those who signed the petitions in favor of the 35 mph or a 25 mph proposal — and explained Public Works’ recommendation.

The department considered several factors in decision, including the petitions that were signed by residents supporting either speed limit, as well as feedback from community meetings in 2003 on road improvements of Hood Canal Drive; the fact that Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputies can’t regulate the speed there on a constant basis; and the results of a speed study that was conducted in May 2004.

Public Works staff also recommended that another set of series of speed studies be undertaken next year to determine whether the proposed speed limit change and new improvements to the road will have had any effect on travel speeds.

“I think it’s a fair recommendation but the real key is that they need to be considerate of their neighbors,” Endresen said, noting that roads are for traffic but they are also where people live and walk.

Hood Canal Drive resident Al Carey, who has been spearheading the 35 mph speed limit effort the past few months after finding out that the posted 25 mph was illegal, said he’s OK with the proposed recommendation.

“I can live with that,” he said.

Carey’s biggest concern was that after he discovered that the road should have been 35 mph the entire time, the county didn’t change or take down the signs.

“I’m just disappointed with the time it took them and the responses it had,” he said. “I think they should have just taken the signs down and replaced them with 35 mph.”

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