By Bill Sheets Herald Columnist
Janet Church of Snohomish writes: Now that Highway 9 is newly paved north and south of Cathcart Way, is there any thought about putting in new 55 mph speed limit signs at this point?
It is frustrating to come off of Cathcart Way at 45 mph to have cars continue to drive this speed on Highway 9 even though the speed limit at this point on the highway is 55.
No acceleration happens until past Broadway (going north) because that is where there is a 55 mph speed limit sign. Of course it is also frustrating at this point when the drivers seem to think that means they need to go 60-plus.
Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: We took a look at the speed limit signs along Highway 9 near Cathcart, and we agree with Janet that another sign would be helpful — especially since so many drivers access the highway near that location.
We plan to install another speed limit sign along northbound Highway 9, just north of Cathcart, this fall.
Hwy. 532 ‘mess’
Jim Vibbert of Stanwood writes: A maze exists at the junction of 36th Avenue NW and Highway 532.
Southbound drivers on 36th Avenue NW at Highway 532 cannot make legal left turns onto the eastbound highway, nor can they legally go straight across to continue southbound on 36th. They must turn right (west) and drive four miles back into Stanwood, before being able to proceed east on Highway 532 or south on 36th.
Many drivers, if not most, simply ignore traffic signs and do U-turns in the middle of Highway 532 to proceed east and/or ignore the traffic signs and proceed across Highway 532 to continue south on 36th.
Northbound drivers on 36th trying to cross Highway 532 to continue on 36th or who want to turn west on Highway 532 are left wondering what the traffic on the north side of Highway 532 is planning to do. This is a real mess that is confusing to all concerned.
Might this be re-engineered and fixed so that all drivers can proceed in all directions at this intersection?
Mishler of the transportation department responds: The improvements to the intersection of Highway 532 and 36th Avenue were made a couple of years ago as part of the Highway 532 corridor improvement project.
Before construction started, engineers took a look at how traffic flowed throughout the entire corridor — including the intersection at 36th Street. The ultimate goal of the project was to improve traffic flow on Highway 532 and reduce the chance for collisions.
As Jim probably knows, the intersection on the north side of Highway 532 sits in the middle of an uphill curve. Drivers waiting at this north side of intersection can’t easily see traffic coming westbound at 55 miles per hour. Drivers headed west on Highway 532 also can’t see traffic waiting at the north side of the intersection.
Drivers on the south side of the intersection, however, have a much better view of traffic and can better anticipate gaps in traffic to safely turn left into westbound traffic. Traffic counts also showed that traffic on 36th accounted for approximately 1 percent of all traffic passing through the intersection.
We restricted the north side of the 36th Street intersection to right-turn only to reduce the chance of collisions with drivers both on Highway 532 and on 36th. Drivers on 36th who wish to turn left on to Highway 532 (or cross the highway to continue on 36th) can do so by traveling east on 268th Street NW, which is about a quarter-mile to the north, and using nearby W. Sunday Lake Road to turn left onto the highway.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your city of residence.
Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.