Category Archives: Downtown

Free Wi-Fi up and running in Winslow

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KPUD’s free Wi-Fi coverage. Map from the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce

The Kitsap Public Utility District’s community Wi-Fi project is off the ground in downtown Bainbridge Island.

The island’s chamber of commerce approached KPUD several years ago about providing free wifi in the downtown area, and now that free Wi-Fi  is available to residents and visitors along Winslow Way and Madison Avenue, the chamber said in a news release.

While the Wi-Fi is free, it is not secure, meaning users shouldn’t transmit any personal information or make financial transactions using it.

KPUD has been testing Wi-Fi in downtown Poulsbo as well, contracting with Intellicheck Mobilisa, Inc., last spring to analyze the best ways to provide public wireless Internet to a variety of mobile devices and laptops. The Port Townsend technology company specializes in wireless technology and identity systems, according to its website.

KPUD had encountered problems with smartphones being compatible with the Wi-Fi antennas before bringing in Mobilisa to test and possibly install new antennas for the wireless project.

The Wi-Fi is free to the public, for now at least.

KPUD was not testing the wireless project with hopes of making a profit, said Steve Perry, superintendent of telecommunications, last year.

“All options are on the table right now. Right now we are testing to see if it’s sustainable or reliable enough to charge for,” he said last March.

State law that requires public utility districts to sell the Internet at wholesale price to providers that offer it to consumers at retail prices.

Eventually, KPUD wants to have wireless testing done in six of the county’s community hubs — Poulsbo, Winslow, Port Orchard, Kingston, Bremerton and Silverdale.

I am waiting to hear back from Perry on current details about the Winslow project, including speeds.

KPUD requested the Internet speed be between 4 to 30 megabytes per second, ideally at or close to 30.

The Federal Communications Commission defines fast Internet as 4 or more megabytes per second.

Help us rank the top 10 Islander stories of 2014

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The tugboat Pacific Knight helps maneuver the state ferry Tacoma to the Bainbridge Island dock after it lost power while making the 12:20 p.m. sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge on July 29, 2014. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

We are asking readers to rank the top Bainbridge Islander stories from this past year in a survey. The top 10 will be posted on this blog.

You can take the survey here.

If you need to refresh your memory on a story,  they are listed below in no particular order with links:

 

Town & Country sign coming down (for a little bit)

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The iconic Town & Country sign, left, will be demolished Dec. 30 and rebuilt because of safety concerns with the 57-year-old, wood structure. Photo by Tad Sooter/Kitsap Sun

The iconic 57-year-old Town & Country Market sign along Winslow Way is showing its age — at least structurally — and will be demolished Tuesday.

The 23-foot, 6-inch wood sign has become unsafe, said market officials, and needs to be replaced with a steel and wood sign that will be nearly identical in look.

“The new reader board will look like the old one, but will be structurally sound,” Rick Pedersen, market director, said in a press release. “We’re just so glad we’re able to keep it in its original form and make sure it lasts another 50 years.”

Although the sign was first used to advertise market sale prices, it eventually became a large announcement board for community and public events.

The sign’s famous neon T and C that directly faces Winslow Way — along with the rest of the neon parts — will be salvaged before the demolition and used on the new sign or placed inside the store.

The new sign is expected to be finished this coming spring.

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The Town & Country sign was originally for sale prices and is now used to list community events. Photo by Tad Sooter/Kitsap Sun

“It will look strange when it’s gone, but it is coming back,” Pedersen said in a press release.

The store also is seeing a little change with a remodeled that started in February and is scheduled to be finished during the summer next year.

While Town & Country Market has undergone several small remodels since it opened in August 1957, the current remodel is it’s largest, according to market officials. The store has remained open throughout the project, and will continue to do so.

The remodel will put all of the departments on one level, create a new car entrance from Winslow Way, replace nearly all of the store’s equipment and feature new restrooms.

The remodel also will include a staffed sushi counter and an expanded Culinary Resource Center, among other items.

City Council noticing proliferation of sandwich boards

Photo by Ethan Fowler / Special to the Kitsap Sun A pedestrian crosses Ericksen Avenue as he walks along Winslow Way next to a number of business sandwich boards.
Photo by Ethan Fowler / Special to the Kitsap Sun
A pedestrian crosses Ericksen Avenue as he walks along Winslow Way next to a number of business sandwich boards.

Even though last month the Bainbridge City Council pleased Winslow Way merchants with the process it and the city took in updating an ordinance for the retail use of sidewalks for cafes and displays, the City Council is still keeping a close eye on the seemingly growing use of sandwich boards by island businesses.

At the July 21 meeting, council member Steve Bonkowski wanted to add an item under council discussion about sandwich boards since a number of people had made comments about the influx of sandwich boards and trees advertising a hospital on public land. Bonkowski said he would refrain from talking about the use of the trees for another time and would focus the discussion on sandwich boards.

“At least to me, there are a lot more (sandwich boards) than I ever envisioned possible,” Bonkowski said. “It’s almost as if we’re deforesting the island to make sandwich boards.”

Bonkowski said it appeared there were two different varieties of sandwich boards: ones that advertise to consumers to “come on in” and others that direct the locations of businesses.

City Manager Doug Schulze said that on July 21 that the city’s Code Compliance officer found 39 signs from Madison Avenue, along Winslow Way, to State Route 305 with two violations. On July 18, the Code Compliance officer found 43 signs and only two violations for multiple signs that were off-site.

Schulze said he’s aware businesses use sandwich boards also on High School Road.

During the recent economic downturn, Schulze said cities often gave businesses more latitude on sandwich boards for advertising. Schulze also used a PowerPoint presentation to show the City Council some examples of how cities, including Seattle, use uniform directional signs to direct people to businesses.

“It doesn’t look like it’s a matter of people not complying with the current ordinance, it looks like it’s just what the current ordinance allows,” Schulze said. “What I would suggest is we look at the (sign) ordinance, but at the same time that we’re working with the businesses so that we can find some solutions that can work with the businesses as well. Rather than just looking at eliminating the signage.”

Bonkowski then asked Schulze whether something could be done this summer to impact the issue.

“I think it would be pretty difficult to get something constructed and installed that quickly,” Schulze said. “But, I think, certainly for next summer, it’s a reasonable timeframe.”

Council member Wayne Roth noted there are city directories in the Bainbridge ferry terminal and Columbia Bank that are updated, already in place and providing solutions to the situation. Roth said he’s used them many times with tourists who needed help finding food and clothing locations.

“There’s always been – old Winslow Way/new Winslow Way – some sandwich boards somewhere,” Roth said. “But it is now that everyone has one out and ‘Now I need one, too, (philosophy)’ and it has gotten to be … hard to find a business without one.”

Schulze said he planned to have a discussion with the business community about sandwich boards in the near future and revisit the issue with the City Council possibly as early as September.

Any change in the city’s sign ordinance would require public hearings.

A new vision for island’s Grow Community

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Construction on the first phase of Bainbridge Island’s Grow Community is well underway on the corner of Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue.

Now developers are retooling designs for the second phase, planned for five acres between Wyatt Way and Shepard Drive, just west of the Pavilion complex (currently the site of John Adams Lane).

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The new preliminary site plan (a rough rendering is shown above) shifts the focus from single-family homes to a mix of apartments, condominiums and townhouses. Island architect Jim Cutler has sketched plans for 87 homes clustered into two distinct neighborhoods, each centered around a common area.

Most of the resident parking will be located underground to allow for about three acres of open space above. A community center building is planned for the center of the courtyard to the south.

According to developers, the new buildings will still be built to meet the One Planet Living standards achieved in the first phase of Grow. This includes space for solar panels on the rooftops.

Developers plan to submit a revised site plan to the city for review in September.

Bainbridge harbor group seeks support for expanded city dock

Public Dock Final Rendering

Bainbridge Island’s advisory Harbor Commission was busy crafting designs for a new city dock well before the planning workshops for Waterfront Park began last month.

The city held two planning meetings in June to discuss potential upgrades for the park and dock, and is now circulating a survey to gather more input. A 30-minute update on the planning process is scheduled for tonight’s City Council meeting.

Members of the Harbor Commission feel the discussion so far has centered heavily on the park’s uplands. They hope to rekindle interest in rebuilding the aging city dock.

The commission is circulating refined conceptual drawings for an expanded dock. The new dock would feature four fingers with space for more visiting yachts as well as club sailboats, rowing shells and kayak rentals. The plan calls for moving the head of the dock to the west of the existing boat ramp.

Public Dock Plan Drawing 06.01.13 by tsooter

The city designated $1.85 million of a recent Washington State Ferries settlement to upgrading Waterfront Park, and plans to seek additional grants. Many visions for the park were floated during the June workshops, and not every idea will fit in the final project.

In an open letter to the boating community this week, Harbor Commission Chair Mark Leese said he felt boaters were underrepresented in the discussion. He urged more boaters to get involved:  Continue reading

Bainbridge gears up for Third, Fourth festivities

A packed schedule of Third and Fourth of July events begins tonight on Bainbridge. Volunteers were busy this afternoon blocking off Winslow Way  for the Street Dance and BBQ, which starts at 6 p.m. Fourth of July festivities will begin early Thursday morning and continue into the night.

Bainbridge police issued this traffic advisory for the holiday:

Due to holiday events expect heavy traffic, some delays and increased pedestrian activity.

Be aware of runners: 5K Fun Run 7:30am to 10:30am various routes from High School Road and south throughout downtown area

The following streets will be closed:

July 3rd from 3pm to 11:30 pm: Winslow Way between Madison Ave and Ericksen Ave. Street Dance

July 4th from 6am to 5pm: Winslow Way between Madison Ave and Ericksen Ave. Parade and street activities

July 4th from 11am to about 2:30pm: Madison Ave between Winslow Way and High School Rd. Parade

July 4th from 3pm to 5pm: Brien Drive/Bjune Drive. Pedestrian activities

Fireworks over Eagle Harbor July 4th begins at dusk. Limited parking nearby, heavy pedestrian traffic.

Waterfront Park planning continues Sunday

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Planning for a revamped Waterfront Park will continue Sunday with a second community workshop. The event runs 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Waterfront Park Community Center. Islanders can join a walking tour of the park and dock at 1 p.m.

The city and Sustainable Bainbridge launched the planning effort with a well attended community meeting June 1. Prolific walkable communities consultant Dan Burden helped guide the conversation. Participants brainstormed ideas for the park and voted on their favorite design elements (you can see the voting results here).

Sunday’s workshop will include presentations from specific user groups. Bainbridge Island Rowing has a proposal for a new boathouse. The city’s advisory Harbor Commission is promoting designs for an expanded city dock.

The city dedicated $1.8 million of a Washington State Ferries settlement to reinvigorating the downtown park and will seek additional grants. A request for qualifications from design firms was recently issued for the project.

 

Bainbridge Islander preview

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Here’s the Bainbridge Islander preview for June 7. Feel free to give your events a plug in the comment section below.

0607_BI_01-1ROWERS TO NATIONALS | Fast-improving club sends two boats to Tennessee.

WHITHER WATERFRONT PARK? | Islanders share ideas for improvement.

SCHOOL CONFIGURATION | District taps brakes on school closure discussion.

PUGET SOUND HEALTH | Warning signs in seafloor sediment.

KILMER TOWN HALLS | Climate change central in congressman’s island visit.

COMING UP: BHS bids goodbye to Brent Peterson.

 

Continue reading

Bainbridge joins Marina Day celebration Saturday

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Bainbridge Island is one of three Kitsap cities hosting National Marina Day festivities Saturday. Similar Marina Day  recognitions will take place across the country this weekend.

Events are scheduled at Waterfront Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One unique activity planned for Eagle Harbor is an “anchoring with a local” workshop. Boaters will partner with an island mariner to learn how to anchor in 30 feet of water.

blog.marinaBack of Beyond Outfitters will offer a free “small boat mess-about” all day. There will be a rodeo for small non-motorized boats, demonstrations, and canoe tours of the harbor. Participants can bring their own craft or rent one on-site.

Other Marina Day activities will include free vessel examinations, a flare demonstration, sailboat rides, ROV hull inspections and rigging lessons.

Eagle Harbor also welcomed a special guest this week. MV Lotus (pictured above) is anchored off the Harbour Marina. Lotus will be on hand this weekend and on June 15-16 for the Bainbridge Wooden Boat Festival, according to the Lotus page on Facebook. Lotus was launched in 1909 and has plied Puget Sound and the Inside Passage for more than a century.

(Tad Sooter photos)