Letters to the Editor

Base traffic needs signals

Who is responsible for road construction planning, and assigning priorities to the road work that has been going on on Highway 20? What criteria are used in assigning priorities to the various projects which are supposedly done to benefit traffic flow and safety? That does not appear to be the case, as I see it. It appears that the majority of highway improvement done so far benefit very few people, and does not really enhance traffic flow, or safety, at all.

First, the county widened the turn into Morn Road on Banta Road in front of the north gate to the Navy base, took down the mud hill that made the curve a blind curve, which slowed traffic down. Then they put in a left turn lane into the base where there has never been a traffic problem. There had not been an accident on this curve until the fast, banked curve was put in. Since then, at least four cars have gone off the road and through the fences to the west. What was then needed was left turn lanes at the junctions of Banta Road, Northgate Drive and Highway 20, one of the busiest and most dangerous corners on the island. Every day, hundreds of cars from base traffic and beach residents fight to get out or into or across, the nearly constant Highway 20 traffic from one direction or another.

Now they have begun major work on that junction to eliminate the offset of Banta Road and Northgate Drive, and put in left turn lanes. But I understand there is no plan to put in traffic signals. What a waste of money! That won’t help the problem of getting onto, or off, Highway 20 at all, particulary during rush hours. All they really needed was a three-way traffic signal light such as that at Highway 20 and Midway Blvd., and other busy corners, not the major, and very expensive, useless project in progress. They do not plan to put signal lights in here, but they have put them in at Highway 20 and NE 16th Avenue (old Cemetery Road) and Cornet Bay Road, where there is seldom more than one or two cars, if any at all, waiting to cross or get onto the highway.

Where is the planning sense here, when there are as many as 10 to 40 cars lined up on Banta Road to enter or cross Highway 20 during the rush hours when traffic is highest on the highway?

Come on, commissioners, do something about this. We are supposed to be supporting the Navy base, the biggest asset to the island and to our economy. Let’s make it right for them, and help their people get to and from the base safely. Get signal lights put in here.

William Simon

Oak Harbor

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