Category Archives: transportation

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

Meet the city manager, talk ferries in Winslow tonight

Civic-minded islanders have a busy dance card tonight. They can choose between a potluck and discussion with new City Manager Doug Schulze or a Washington State Ferries community meeting.

Discussion group VillageSpeak will hold a dinner forum with Schulze beginning at 6:30

p.m. at OfficeXpats in the Bainbridge Pavilion. The conversation will include opening remarks by the city manager, a moderated discussion and a Q&A session with the audience.

The event is free but attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share and a $5 donation. A standing reception will follow the discussion at 8:30 p.m. Schulze (pictured) joined the city on Nov. 5. He previously served as manager of Normandy Park.

Another meeting will take place across town at the same time. WSF brings its traveling community outreach tour to Bainbridge at 6 p.m. in the Art Museum.

Ferries chief David Moseley will discuss the upcoming legislative session, staffing issues and other topics. This is a good time for ferry riders to bring forward questions and complaints. WSF already held a meeting in Bremerton, where proposed service cuts are a hot topic.

Tad Sooter photos

No comments, no vote on Bainbridge car tab fee

If islanders are perturbed by a proposed new vehicle registration fee, they didn’t show it Wednesday.

A hearing on a resolution creating a charge of up to $20 per vehicle to support road work drew no attendees to City Hall on Wednesday evening. The Transportation Benefit District board — made up of City Council members — did not vote on the proposed fee. Instead, a vote may come at the district’s Dec. 5 meeting.

A few islanders have spoken out for and against car tab fees at past meetings. Some believe the charge is a fair way to raise money for badly needed road repairs. Others, including car collectors, say it would unduly burden households with multiple vehicles.

The city estimates a $20 fee would generate $330,000 each year for road projects.

The full draft resolution can be read here.

Poll: What do you think of the verdict in the Ostling trial?

After listening to 11 days of testimony and deliberating the the better part of three days, a federal jury took a middle path with their verdict on Friday.

Of the four main claims made in the lawsuit by the parents of Douglas Ostling, the mentally ill man who was fatally shot by Bainbridge police in 2010, the jury agreed with just one – that the Bainbridge Island Police Department failed to properly train officers in how to deal with the mentally ill. The jury awarded the Ostlings $1 million.

The jury disagreed with claims that officers illegally entered the Ostling family’s home, used unnecessary force and failed to render aid to the wounded Douglas Ostling.

How do you feel about the verdict? Cast your vote over to the right.

Head down below to see the results from the Bainbridge Conversation’s poll on how the city should pay for road fixes.

Continue reading