Category Archives: transportation

Time for another bridge?

Bainbridge Island Mayor Ann Blair, left, and I during a live video chat with Ed Friedrich.
Bainbridge Island Mayor Ann Blair and I during a live video chat with Ed Friedrich.

Kitsap Sun transportation reporter Ed Friedrich and I had a live video discussion with Mayor Anne Blair on Thursday evening about the future of Agate Pass Bridge and Highway 305 congestion.

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it to the live chat, we recorded the conversation and you can watch it below from the Kitsap Sun’s YouTube channel.

Where do you gas up?

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Last week, Kitsap Sun business reporter Tad Sooter wrote about how there will be one less gas station on the island.

Brown Bear Car Wash will be shutting down its Chevron station off off Hildebrand Lane, leaving the island with only two gas stations.

Brown Bear also owns the station on Highway 305 and High School Road. That station will stay open.

The other gas station on the island is a 76 station that operates in Island Center.

 

Where do you buy gas on Bainbridge Island?

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City cutting the cord on Blink car charging station

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A Blink charging station in Port Orchard. Kitsap Sun file photo.

Electric car owners will have a working charging station in Winslow.

A Chargepoint Electric Vehicle station will be put in place of the Blink station that has been “out of service for quite some time,” said Barry Loveless, Bainbridge Island public works director.

The Blink station has been down for several months and has been working intermittently for about a year.

The situation will be different with Chargepoint, Loveless said.

“They have a good record of maintenance and response to service,” he said.

To repair the current station, Blink wanted keep 60 percent of the profits from the station and have the city to agree to an exclusive 4-year contract that would allow only Blink stations at city facilities.

Chargepoint will keep only 10 percent of the fees, and the city will have full control of setting the fees with a 3-year contract.

The city will even be able to monitor the usage online, including the time and hours of usage.

“We can be as sophisticated as we want to be as far as setting the rates,” Loveless said.

That was not the case with Blink.

Blink had not been as forthcoming with usage data, said Rex Oliver, Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce president.

While the new station will have two charging cables, there will only be one designated spot for electric car charging like there is now.

“Until there is a proven need, which we would learn by the use of [the new charging station], I am not in favor of taking a new spot,” Mayor Ann Blair said. “The advantage is we will learn what the demand is.”

The new station is estimated to cost about $8,200.

Agate Pass Bridge down to one lane for three weeks

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Agate Pass Bridge will be down to one lane for 21 days starting Feb. 9 for cleaning and inspection.

One lane will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to Washington State Department of Transportation.

The bridge, which was built in 1950 and is more than 1,000 feet long, has about 22,000 vehicles cross a day

Bainbridge Island Mayor Anne Blair assured residents the council voiced their concern with WSDOT, along with Poulsbo city officials and the Suquamish Tribe, about traffic issues.

“The cries of ‘Are you kidding?’ and ‘Can you do something else?’ were loud,” Blair said. “They are certainly aware of the difficulties.”

Work cannot be done at night, because of safety and efficiency concerns, WSDOT said.

Workers will remove “yards of hardened debris and animal droppings by hand, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.”

WSDOT has to remove the debris by hand, unless it can “fully encase” the bridge to meet water quality standards. The full-encasement requirement is too expensive for WSDOT, the agency said, and cleaning the bridge is the affordable alternative that meets the Clean Water Act requirements.

Crews also will repair and patch the bridge and roadway, sealing joints, replacing rivets and repairing damaged rails and walkway railing. If possible, they will remove rust from the bridge, too.

Bicyclists and pedestrians will be “escorted” across the bridge while work is being done, and “accommodations” will be made for emergency vehicles.

While the Chilly Hilly bike route does not go across the bridge, those going to the event Feb. 22 should expect delays.

The work is done in February to avoid the peregrine falcon nesting period. The falcon is a protected species and have historically nested on the bridge. February also has less traffic than summer months.

Freezing rain and snow could delay work on the bridge, which hasn’t been cleaned since 1991. It is inspected every two years, requiring lane closures then as well. It was last inspected in 2013.

Residents still torn over Suzuki property

While residents packed into a standing-room-only city council meeting Tuesday night to share suggestions on what to do with the city-owned Suzuki property, no action was taken and no new ideas were discussed by the council.

The property at the southeast corner of New Brooklyn and Sportsman Club Roads by Woodward Middle School is forested and has several trails. There are no wetlands, streams or steep slopes. There is a pond, but because it is man-made it does not meet the definition of a “critical area” under the city’s codes.

Residents continue to be torn between leaving the 13.83 acres of undeveloped land as is, using it for affordable housing, or allowing the school to use it for possible expansion in the future or outdoor education.

All of these ideas had previously been discussed at a public workshop last fall, where the Housing Resources Board, Housing Kitsap, Cutler Anderson Architects and Arcstudio each presented preliminary concepts to more than 100 residents.

According to multiple options presented to the city, the site could have anywhere from 45 to 75 housing units if developed.

Only 30 affordable units have been created on the island since 2002.

In 2000, the city purchased the land as a site for a police station and courthouse. Since then it was decided the property was too close to schools for a police station.

Some residents were concerned about increased traffic problems near the school with more housing.

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:

 

30 apply to be Bainbridge public works director

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The city has chosen eight semifinalists for its public works director position. The semifinalists were selected from a pool of 30 applicants from 17 states, according to the Friday city manager’s newsletter.

Six of the eight semifinalists are from Washington. One semifinalist is from Texas, and one is from Indiana. The semifinalists will complete a brief online interview. Finalists will be selected Oct. 1. The finalists will visit the island in mid-October for more extensive interviews.

The city is searching for a permanent replacement for Lance Newkirk, who resigned this spring. John Cunningham is serving as interim public works director.

No Fort Ward Hill project this year

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Scheduling conflicts have forced the city to postpone work on Fort Ward Hill Road until next year.

The City Council awarded a $700,000 contract for road reconstruction and shoulder widening in July and a public outreach meeting was held Aug. 19. The project was supposed to begin late this summer but the contractor ran into scheduling conflicts with private utility companies working in the area said Interim Public Works Director John Cunningham. With rainy weather descending, the work was postponed until the spring of 2014.

“The last thing we want to do is open it up and not get it paved before the wet winter weather hits here,” Cunningham said during a recent briefing to the City Council.

This is the second phase of work on Fort Ward Hill Road. Contractors will rebuild the street between Bolero Drive and Sunny Hill Circle, and widen shoulders to 5 feet on both sides. An additional 700 feet of guardrail, rockeries and drainage will be installed.

The first phase of the project rebuilt the roadway between Country Club Road and Bolero Drive in 2008.

Check the project page for updates.

 

 

 

Rockaway Beach Road repair requires three-month closure

blog.rockawayLong awaited repairs on crumbling Rockaway Beach Road will begin next week, accompanied by a road closure.

A traffic detour will be in effect for the duration of the stabilization project, according to a Wednesday bulletin from the city. The city expects the road to be closed near Creosote Lane from about Aug. 21 through the end of November.

A map of the detour route is below. More updates are available on the Rockaway Beach project page.

Rockaway Detour by tsooter

Bainbridge advertises for public works director

Bainbridge Island’s public works director vacancy is now being advertised nationally.

The listing is posted on the website of search firm Strategic Government Resources. SGR is giving the public works position the same treatment it gave the city’s manager and police chief openings. Consultants hosted a forum to gather community input and developed this glossy profile:

Bainbridge Island Public Works Director by tsooter

Requirements for the public works position include at least eight years of experience in public works, a bachelor’s degree in engineering (master’s preferred), and a professional engineer’s license. The salary will vary depending on the applicant’s qualifications. Former Public Works Director Lance Newkirk earned $131,000 a year.

Newkirk announced his resignation in April, but only recently left the city’s payroll. The city hired John Cunningham as an interim public works director at a rate of $100 an hour.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 3.

Sportsman Club Road work begins next week

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A portion of Sportsman Club Road will be northbound-only next week, as the city begins work on bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The city expects major construction to be wrapped up before the Rotary Auction opens for donations June 21.

Here are details and a detour map from the city:

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, June 13, 2013 – Work will begin on Sportsman Club Road next Monday, June 17. The City has contracted with Lakeside Industries Inc. to install non-motorized shoulder improvements on the west side of Sportsman Club Road from Wardwell Road to approximately 400 feet south.

During construction hours, between 6 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday, Sportsman Club Road will be restricted to one-way northbound traffic. A detour route will be established for southbound traffic and residents/local traffic accessing Wardwell Road. Shoulder work is expected to last for approximately one week, with paving to follow as weather permits.

Citizens are encouraged to access Sportsman Club Road from the south when delivering donations to Woodward Middle School for the Rotary Auction, beginning Friday, June 21.

This improvement project is part of the City’s Core 40 Program which targets 40 roads for upgrades around the island for non-motorized improvements.

Sportsman Club Detour by tsooter

Breaking down the Monday highway closure

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A head-on collision just south of the Agate Pass Bridge closed Highway 305 for nearly four hours Monday afternoon. Two drivers were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and remained in serious condition Tuesday afternoon.

Response to the collision closed the highway in both directions from about 2-5:30 p.m. Monday. Backups stretched for miles.

We’ve heard from a few frazzled commuters and followers on social media wondering why the highway remained closed for so long after the drivers were evacuated. It’s a fair question, and I thought it would be interesting to break down what goes into a response of this nature, according to first responders:

  • The collision was reported at 2:09 p.m. Monday by Bainbridge Fire Assistant Chief Luke Carpenter, who happened to driving from the island to a meeting in Bremerton at the time. Carpenter was only a few cars behind the sedan involved in the collision when the wreck occurred.
  • About 20 firefighters responded to the scene. The drivers were trapped in their vehicles and had to be cut free. Both drivers were transported away from the scene by 2:35 p.m. The last fire department vehicle cleared at 3:06 p.m. (This aerial image from KOMO nicely illustrates the scope of the scene). Continue reading