Coles Road stop sign necessary, Langley residents say; city to research issue

Langley, a city without a single signal light, is thinking about putting in a couple more stop signs at one of its gateways.

Langley city leaders are considering adding stop signs into and out of town on Third Street/Brooks Hill Road near Coles Road.

Langley, a city without a single signal light, is thinking about putting in a couple more stop signs at one of its gateways.

Prompted by residents’ requests, the city council discussed installing two stop signs on Brooks Hill Road/Third Street, at the intersection with Coles Road. Doing so would help control traffic entering and exiting town, Mayor Tim Callison said.

Currently, the county right of way of Brooks Hill Road is a 40 mph zone. Its speed limit is consistent from near Bayview Corner all the way to the city limits at Coles Road, which is also a 40 mph street. In Langley proper, the speed limit is 25 mph, but the mayor and others at Monday’s city council meeting said people often drive much faster near the gateways, especially at Coles Road.

“That Coles/Brooks Hill Road intersection, when you’re turning … onto Brooks Hill Road, is pretty dangerous because the road curves away from you,” Callison said in an interview prior to the council meeting.

“They see, often times, people going much faster, speeding up once they get past St. Hubert,” he added, referring to the southwest-bound traffic leaving Langley.

Families with young children are moving into that area of town, he said. They want to make sure their children can safely walk the streets. Victoria Locke Carty, a resident of the city, said she saw an elderly woman crossing the street just prior to the council meeting and two cars had to stop for her because there wasn’t a stop sign or crosswalk.

“Something is going to happen if measures aren’t taken,” Locke Carty said.

More than a decade ago, but still fresh in the minds of the council, two teenagers died in a one-car crash in that very area. Jayson Jelinek, 18, and Kelly Frantz, 17, died after Jelinek’s 1985 Honda Accord struck two trees on Third Street. A Washington State Patrol trooper at the time reported the car traveling at an estimated 70 mph, and impairment was believed to also be a factor. Councilman Bruce Allen said that fatal crash was unrelated to any traffic control mitigation, but as soon as conversation began about the addition of stop signs in that area, several council members discussed it. Ben Watanabe / The Record | Langley, ever the place for oddball humor, has speed limit signs posted at the main arterial entrances on Langley Road/Camano Avenue and Third Street/Brooks Hill Road. But some residents are asking for more stop signs near Coles Road to help control traffic.

Until a recent wind storm destroyed it, a bench stood in Jelinek’s and Frantz’s memory at the very spot where the car crashed, near the intersection some Langley residents claim is a hotspot for speed limit violations.

Police Chief Dave Marks said there were 13 crashes with injuries since 2002, plus another 19 non-injury accidents between 1999 and 2013. He said he can wait in that area for hours and not cite anyone because traffic can see him coming from just about any direction if he parks along the roadside. But issuing tickets and fines wasn’t the point. Police presence and a not-so-subtle reminder of the speed limit, however, were his reasons.

The stop signs would slow traffic through two functions. The first, and most obvious reason, is that it forces traffic to stop, thus limiting the distance a vehicle can travel at a high rate of speed. Callison said the other important function is the caution sign for both northbound and southbound traffic, prior to the stop, that informs drivers to begin slowing down.

Talk of new traffic control measures can often draw people’s ire because they are used to the existing traffic flow, for better or worse. Callison said he expected this idea, still being considered and not yet approved, to face similar criticism, though more from outsiders than the residents to whom he is beholden.

“The people that fly through there on their way to someplace else probably won’t be too happy,” he said.

Before the city can install them, traffic studies about volume, collision incidents and speed tracking are necessary, city public works director Stan Berryman said. Some people asked him about speed humps, traffic control measures that more gradual and less intrusive than traditional speed bumps. In his previous position in Colorado, Berryman said they were not effective and people would use bolt cutters to remove the rubber mounds.

“They don’t physically work,” Berryman said.

Not all were on board with the stop sign idea. Frank Ploof, a city resident, said there are plenty of signs in town.

“And they don’t work,” Ploof said.

In that area alone there are 25 mph speed limit signs on the way into and out of town, an electronic radar sign on the way into Langley, city-posted children playing signs, and even one sandwich board-style sign popped up near Minnie Lane that reads “Drive like your children play here.”

The council directed Callison and the city staff to research the different options and costs and report to them at a future council meeting.


More in News

Historical society to lead presentation about Gabelein family history

Pick up a local phone book. Thumb to the page with the… Continue reading

Langley man airlifted after rollover crash

A Langley resident was airlifted for treatment after rolling his 1995 Ford… Continue reading

Knox Shannon, 8, looks out the window of his new bedroom in the house built by Habitat for Humanity. Island County is set to implement fee changes that would result in savings for the organization, and other developers, in the plan review stage of receiving building permits. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/ Whidbey News-Times
New building permit fees should reduce costs in county

The Board of Island County Commissioners is set to vote on building… Continue reading

Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
                                The Kettles trails were acquired by Island County in 1996 using funds from the conservation futures program. The county is now accepting applications for the 2018 award cycle, but a low fund balance may limit the acceptance of new projects.
No guarantees for awarding of conservation futures funds

The Island County Conservation Futures Program is now accepting applications from eligible… Continue reading

No injuries in pair of crashes

Two car crashes on Wednesday in Clinton did not result in any… Continue reading

Firefighter stops chicken coop fire, helps save Langley home

A quick response by a local firefighter may have helped save a… Continue reading

Photo provided
                                A evidence photo taken by police shows a deputy’s AR-15 rifle that was involved in a police-related shooting on North Whidbey in September.
Review: Deputy justified in fatal shooting

A deputy was justified in fatally shooting Navy sailor Nicholas K. Perkins… Continue reading

Planning Commission member Tracy Gilroy speaks during a meeting on Monday. The commission voted to approve amendments made in response to a settlement agreement between Island County and the Whidbey Island Environmental Action Network. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
Forest practices changes heading to board

Island County Planning Commission voted Monday to amend code related to forest… Continue reading

Dancing Fish Farm to buzz with The Bee Eaters fiddlers

Acoustic concert features fiddling siblings

Most Read