The in basket: A Bainbridge Island resident e-mails to say, “Bainbridge Island is doing shoulder work along all of Eagle Harbor Drive on south Bainbridge. This is a road that gets a lot of use by commuter cyclists but there’s no shoulder and the road is winding with a long uphill section. That means cyclists have to be in the lane and are pedaling slowly uphill.
“Because it’s a winding road, motorists can’t see what’s coming and can’t pass the cyclists. This leads to irate and impatient drivers and cyclists that feel under pressure with cars backing up behind their back wheel. I’ve seen near-collisions when cars try to pass and nearly collide with traffic in the oncoming lane.
“Anyway, the city’s doing this ambitious shoulder improvement project. It looks great – wide and flush with the road, but they’re going just short of paving it for a bike lane. Road bikes are not going to ride on the gravel shoulder, no matter the improvements.
“So my question is: why is the city doing all this work but falling just short of solving a major problem? They’re going to need that bike lane eventually. Why not do it now rather than wait a few years and then have to fix the shoulder again before paving? Bainbridge touts its self as being bike-friendly but this seems bike-oblivious. What gives?”
The out basket: The city has a plan that ultimately will address bicycle safety on Eagle Harbor Drive, but it will be done in 2017 or later, according to Kellie Stickney, the city’s community engagement specialist.
She says, ““The shoulders are being pulled and graveled (now) as part of the city’s Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division’s routine maintenance program. The purpose of the work is to maintain drainage and support for the road edge to preserve the roadway.”
The non-motorized transportation segment of the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) deals with paving of shoulders to benefit bicyclists and pedestrians and shows that to be done on Eagle Harbor Drive, but in two phases. The first phase, scheduled for 2017, works on the stretch between just past Bucklin Hill Road to McDonald Avenue. The stretch between Wyatt Way and just past Bucklin Hill Road is clustered with a bunch of others vaguely set for 2019 to 2033. My reader says the curvy stretch he asked about is between Bucklin Hill Road and McDonald Avenue, so relief could be on the way in just two years.
Alyse Nelson, chair of the city’s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, which recommended the work set forth in the existing plan, says transportation documents will be among city comprehensive plans now being reviewed, so changes may be in the wind.