The in basket: Leona Wankowski of Sunnyslope, who lives near
Sunnyslope Elementary School, wrote in early March to decry the
lack of sidewalks in that area.
“There are children in the area of all ages,” she writes, “lots
of teens and pre-teens who like to enjoy the outdoors as much as
weather permits. Bicycling, skateboarding, skating, walking with
“Since there is no place safe to do this – aka a sidewalk – we
have to use the street and attempt to move to the side when cars
come. There are many areas of this road that do not have even a
soft shoulder to move onto, so we hug the street side.
“As a mother of four, I have attempted walks with the children,
one in a stroller, many times. It is virtually impossible to get
away from the cars. Even a mom and a baby in a stroller can’t get
the cars to slow to a safe speed, or drive around us. They glare,
honk and shout obscenities that we are in their way.
“My son gets worse treatment when he is skateboarding home. He
wears a bright hoody sweatshirt, so they see him fine. Yesterday,
not only did a car act as if it was going to run him over, it
paused while he tripped trying to get out of the driver’s way, then
sped up to run over his skateboard (snapped it right in
“We, the pedestrians, have nowhere else to go, without a
sidewalk. The drivers screaming down this road think they own it.
What can we do to enjoy our street and not get run over by people
The out basket: Sidewalks there are not likely any time soon,
says Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap County Public Works.
“Sidewalks are traditionally an urban level of service and are
usually found in areas of urban-level growth,” he said. “This
includes planned subdivisions, commercial areas, and within cities
or unincorporated high-density communities. This can create
frustration for residents, particularly those that move to rural
areas from these urban-type centers.
“There is very limited county-owned rights-of-way along
Sunnyslope Road,” he said. “The cost involved in just obtaining the
right-of-way needed for sidewalks is considerable. Add to that the
construction costs and the maintenance costs associated with
sidewalks and you can see the challenges in providing amenities
like this in rural areas.
“I certainly understand your reader’s concerns,” Doug continued,
“but the primary purpose of roads is to provide safe travel for
vehicular traffic and not all roads lend themselves to ancillary
purposes including recreational walking, skating, and
“When we do major overlay projects we do consider widening
shoulders and paving them as money and right-of-way permit. We
don’t usually build sidewalks. In the few instances where Kitsap
County has been involved in sidewalk projects the funding was
provided through grants or other funding sources outside our
budget. Some new plats and developments include sidewalks, but
those costs are paid by the developer.
“All activities along roadways present safety challenges.
Even with sidewalks, extreme care and caution is the rule. I
encourage all residents to consider alternate locations for
recreational activities whenever possible. I recognize that it is
not as convenient as the road in front of the house, but these
locations increase the safety of recreational pursuits.
“Many county or regional parks provide hiking, walking and
bicycle trails. Most local schools, including Sunnyslope
Elementary, have large areas of paved surfaces that accommodate
recreational activities after school hours. There are skate parks
that provide safe and legal off-street opportunities for boarders
at several locations in Kitsap County. A complete listing of
locations can be found at
Using these alternatives provide a safer way to continue the
activities your reader likes to do,” Doug concluded.
To which I would add for motorists who intentionally drive over
skateboards or berate pedestrians who slow them down, just lighten
up. You don’t want a vehicular assault charge on your record.