Letters to the Editor

Burma Road detour created problems for drivers

My sympathies to the victims and all those affected by the tragic motorcycle accident last Saturday on the north end on the 124th block of Vashon Highway.

The decision however, to send all traffic through the Burma Road loop as two-way movement was, however, a poor one. I realize that until the accident investigation was complete, the choices were to either close the road entirely or use the Burma Road loop. Certainly using Burma Road was reasonable. As in most cases, simply because a road is on a map doesn’t mean it is suitable for all vehicles. The vehicle flow should have been restricted to specific automobile numbers in one-way alternating directions.

Vashon is a community of willing volunteers. A call to the local volunteer responder exchange would bring an amazing force of knowledgeable helpers willing to direct traffic flow. Unfortunately, on Saturday afternoon, the narrow passage (sometimes only allowing one-vehicle to pass) turned into a chaotic, white-knuckle, waiting-for-an-accident traffic jam. No full-time law enforcement personnel were seen directing traffic on the loop (in spite of five emergency vehicles being transported by the ferry). Yes, I was part of that traffic jam. I witnessed many near-misses, cars getting so close to the steep edges they risked being rollovers — drivers (and passengers) requiring rescuing , vehicles with inadequate tires struggling to move on the wet narrow, hilly roads. A breakdown or serious accident would have been almost Armageddon.

I realize that hindsight is a wonderfully perfect thing and prayerfully we’ll never need the Burma Road loop for a similar situation again, but if we do, those in charge of making traffic decisions will do well to remember the many island volunteers who are willing to assist in disastrous situations.

— Dave Burton

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