Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Public servant’s efforts lauded

This letter is to publicly thank Ed McNeill, who is at the City of Oak Harbor Streets & Signs Department, for listening and taking action to help reduce the traffic hazard at the intersection of Scenic Heights and SR 20.

On Dec. 8, a car turning left from SR 20 onto Scenic Heights nearly crashed head-on into my car as I approached to make a right turn onto SR 20 from Scenic Heights. The turn is “blind” because a driver cannot clearly see where to steer until the car actually is making the turn. Drivers have cut short or steered into the oncoming lane more frequently as the area has developed, but three near-collisions in two dark and rainy weeks convinced me it was again time to try to do something about it. (Last year when the city was approving the new 32-unit development, we tried to advocate a traffic signal at the intersection.)

Noting that the white “stop bar” and yellow lane markers on Scenic Heights weren’t visible from SR 20, I called the city to find out if they could be repainted. Mr. McNeill wasn’t sure under whose jurisdiction it would fall, but said he would take a look and suggested I also call the State Department of Transportation Coupeville shop (which eventually led to the state highways operations manager, who promised to look into it as well). Later that day, Mr. McNeill called back to say that he had investigated, agreed it was a hazard, and would do something about it as soon as we had a dry day. Early the week of Dec. 13, there was a bright new stop bar at the intersection as well as extended yellow lines and reflective markers visible from SR 20!

My neighbors and I remain hopeful that eventually our local and state governments will recognize the need for a signal so that this area has predictable breaks in SR 20 northbound traffic and Scenic Heights traffic can turn southbound onto SR 20 safely without having to weave through neighborhoods or make “U-turns” in the Whidbey Island Bank or Blockbuster parking lots. Meanwhile, we greatly appreciate what Mr. McNeill did now to make the intersection safer.

Merrilee Donnell Wong

Salishan Terrace Condo Association

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