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Secure pylons installed in downtown Sequim

Sequim now has traffic control cones in the center of Washington Street.

In 2007, the Sequim City Council voted to remove the center two-way turn lane on Washington Street from Second Avenue to Sunnyside Avenue, other than the short left-turn lane at the intersections.

But interim Public Works director Bill Bullock suggested first trying secured cones, which the city council approved.

The cones are attached to the pavement but can be relocated, replaced or removed. The city hopes they will deter drivers from using the middle lane to access a left-turn lane at the Sequim Avenue intersection, improving safety at mid-block pedestrian crosswalks.

“These new delineators are a test to see if we can encourage voluntary traffic compliance without changing the makeup of the road,” Bullock said. “Until now, people have been driving down that center lane for more than a half block, which is really unsafe for downtown walkers and it’s illegal.”

The cones will not interfere with Sequim Police or Clallam County Fire District 3 response vehicles’ ability to pass through the downtown corridor; they often use the center lane if traffic is backed up.

The cones will flex and pop back into place when hit by vehicles, for the most part. For those times when the cones break, Bullock said they are relatively inexpensive to replace, especially just for a trial period.

City employees and Sequim Police officers will monitor their effectiveness and possibly relocate them or take them out in the future.

“We’re not sure how long they will stay there,” Bullock said. “It could be only a few months until voluntary compliance is reached and then we will not need anything there and people will stay in their safe lanes of travel.”

The city still has the option of removing the center lane but to remove the lane, city workers would have to grind away the striping and lay down new stripes and, if it proves unsuccessful, put it all back.

“By starting with this less expensive alternative, we may avoid a lot of scarring on the road,” Bullock said.

As for striping, the city has put its new paint striping truck to use this summer. It has restriped many of the city’s roads and will continue to stripe on hot days this summer.

The Public Works Department identified at least 10 sites where the new striping would correct misalignments.

“Two of the more notable ones were the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Old Olympic Highway and at the Sequim Avenue overpass near the ramps to (U.S. Highway) 101,” Bullock said.

For more information on the city of Sequim, council meeting dates and agendas, visit www.ci.sequim.wa.us.

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