Category Archives: Transportation

Bremerton ‘fly-in’ eclipses expectations

Photo by Pilot Scott Kuznicki.
A packed Bremerton National Airport Saturday. Photo by Pilot Scott Kuznicki. 

History was made this weekend at Bremerton National Airport this weekend. Almost 700 aircraft were joined by 1,000 cars and 4,000 people for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association‘s Bremerton fly-in Friday and Saturday.

“I thought it was awesome,” Fred Salisbury, the airport’s director, was quoted as saying on AOPA’s web site. “That back runway probably hasn’t seen aircraft for fifty years and it was packed with parked airplanes all the way down.”


I spent some time Saturday morning just perusing the planes. It was like a massive vintage car show except all the vehicles had wings and took to the skies with great frequency. I found aircraft made all over the world, to include everything from classic biplanes to modern private jets.

Sun Reporter Tad Sooter wrote recently of the economic impacts the fly-in, one of four the AOPA holds each year around the nation, would have on Bremerton and Kitsap County. Seems likely those expectations were eclipsed.

Here’s some additional photos I took:






The paving is done … so why is Washington Avenue still closed?

Crews paint the retaining wall on Washington Avenue, as part of the street's $3.5 million makeover. Photo by Larry Steagall.
Crews paint the retaining wall on Washington Avenue, as part of the street’s $3.5 million makeover. Photo by Larry Steagall.

UPDATE, Dec. 11: City officials announced Friday that Washington Avenue will reopen to traffic on mid-day, Monday, Dec. 14. Some work continues that could result in intermittent closures but the roadway, including the intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will finally be opened.


At long last, paving’s been completed on Washington Avenue and drivers will see some relief on their afternoon commutes home. 


Not quite.

The city has chosen to keep the southbound lane of Washington closed until mid-December, in order to get a few more tasks completed and so it does not further confuse drivers, according to Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin.

“Since folks are used to the one-lane northbound configuration and the intersection closure, we think it is best overall to get the work done right with fewer disruptions,” Martin told me.

There’s still a lot of electrical work to do, to include putting in those decorative downtown street lights. Crews from RV Associates also must wait for the pavement to “cure” before they can apply markings to the street. Remember, there will be Bremerton’s first “bike boxes” as a part of this project.

“Since we only have one lane to work with each way now, it really makes it much more difficult to get the big trucks in, and have the room they need to work safely,” Martin said.


The $3.5 million project has narrowed the roadway from four lanes to two, which made room for wider sidewalks and bike lanes. The project is also completing a new sewer line that will allow the city to abandon an environmentally sensitive sewer line on the beach below.

Once most of the road work’s done, the crews will be able to finish off the work at Evergreen-Rotary Park. Now that the aforementioned sewer beach line will be defunct, there’s no need for a pump station, roadway and power lines through the middle of the park. Crews will take those things out and fully connect the original park with the new 9/11 Memorial via grass and pathways.

Here’s the city’s timeline — not quite the October completion they’d expected.

  • Paving complete – Thursday, October 15th
  • Street lights installed and operational – October 30th
  • Landscaping on Washington – October 30th
  • Park construction – October 30th to December 18th
  • Underground (electrical) conversion complete and street fully reopened – December 18th

What the future holds for Warren Avenue

Artist's rendering of what expanded pedestrian access would look like on the Warren Avenue Bridge.
Artist’s rendering of what expanded pedestrian access would look like on the Warren Avenue Bridge.

“The year of torn up street corners.” That’s how Bremerton’s public works department summed up 2016 in Bremerton at a recent city meeting. And no place will have more torn up street corners than Warren Avenue.

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The reason is that the state is gearing up in 2017 to pave Warren Avenue, Wheaton Way, and all of the Highway 303 corridor out to Fairground Road. By doing so, many of the street corners along the way will need to reconstructed to meet current standards for accessibility. That means new curbs, concrete, countdown clocks for pedestrians and other traffic improvements will be installed in 2016. The state will pickup the tab for 34 of 55 curb ramps; the city will pay half of the cost of the rest, which will be about $100,000.

But city officials, including Mayor Patty Lent, have talked about expanding the narrow pedestrian access on the Warren Avenue Bridge. The state, in a $1.2 million project a few years ago, had improved safety crossing the bridge on foot (and on wheels) by making the railings higher. But if you’ve walked it lately, you know it’s a tight fit whenever you encounter anyone on the crossing. Lent and other think it should be fixed, and what better time to do it then while much other construction work is ongoing, they say.

Chal Martin, Bremerton’s public works director, unveiled an artist’s rendering (see above) and a plan for remaking the bridge, at last Tuesday’s city public works meeting. It calls for narrowing the driving lanes (no, no lanes won’t be taken out, unlike the project on Washington Avenue) to make more room for pedestrians. The route is part of the city’s bridge to bridge urban trail, and the city expects it to grow in popularity. But because some of the supporting structure of the bridge has to be reinforced, it comes at quite a cost: about $5 million.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lent, who last week attended the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation Association in San Francisco, is developing plans for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) up the Warren Avenue Cooridor, and wants ensure any longterm planning has BRT incorporated on the Warren Avenue Bridge. That usually means dedicated lanes on the road for buses, to go with fast and frequent service.

But a bridge that was built almost exclusively for cars may not have much room for much other stuff. I’ve heard from residents concerned about the idea that ‘skinnying’ up the road could lead to more accidents; I’ve also heard from others that say making the lanes smaller will actually slow or “calm” traffic on a roadway that motorists drive like a freeway and one that has too many crashes.

What will the bridge, and the roadways beyond it, look like in a few years? The future holds many variables. What would you like it to look like?

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Washington State Department of Transportation drawings showing the intersections along Warren Avenue and Wheaton Way.

The odd asphalt sidewalks on Washington Avenue


I was startled on my commute this morning to find asphalt — yes asphalt — where concrete sidewalks should be on the $3.5 million Washington Avenue project. 

As you can see from the photo above, it basically looks like there’s another street where sidewalks should be. So what gives?

City officials said in an email earlier this week that yes, asphalt will have to do on the eastern Washington Avenue sidewalk, between Sixth and Fifth streets. The reason is that there’s a proposed development, once called the “Towers Project,” that the city believes will simply rip the street open again when construction on it begins.

The reason for their confidence: the development, begun by Absher Construction, paid upwards of $200,000 for the city to bury power lines on Washington between Sixth and Fifth streets. That suggests the project is not just one for the community development department shelves but that they’re serious about getting going.

Still, it looks odd, don’t you think?

Other project updates: On Monday, work will shift to the western side of Washington Avenue. That means that northbound traffic on Washington will take up the new lane on the east side, with the western side closed down. There won’t be any southbound traffic allowed on Washington, and the intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will be closed. Contractor RV Associates estimates it will take seven to eight weeks to complete the western work.

The Towers project rendering.
The Towers project rendering.

When completed in mid-October — that’s the hope anyway — the project will have taken the road from four lanes to two, added wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and decorative lighting.

The project also includes the linking of the 9/11 Memorial park with the wider Evergreen-Rotary Park. In mid-September, crews will demolish the old end of Highland Avenue and a sewer pump house there. They’ll plant grass, put in new pathways and create a new viewing platform of the Port Washington Narrows. Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing the new park, the design of which you can see below.

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Washington Avenue’s sporting new curbs


If you’ve been on Washington Avenue lately, you know it’s quite a mess. But the $3.5 million project hit a major milestone Tuesday when the first of its new curbs were placed along the northbound portion of the roadway.

Many engineers have told me of the importance of the placing of the curbs. It signifies a road project’s transition from below ground work to surface construction. And, in this particular project, the curb placement gives us the first look at a sized-down roadway — and how much wider the sidewalks will be.


The project is adding those wider sidewalks, bike lanes and street lights to both sides of the road, between the Manette Bridge and Fifth Street. The roadway will be permanently dropped from two lanes to one in each direction.

Contractor RV Associates has already added new water, sewer and stormwater pipes underneath the road. Other utilities have also been placed underground, including burying the power lines between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Now, they’ll finish up the northbound street, pouring new concrete sidewalks and laying asphalt. There’s a good chance that work will be completed next week.

Following that, work will transition to the southbound side, or “upper” lanes. The project is slated for completion in October.

Washington Avenue Project: Sixth Street to close

Work begins down at Fifth Street and Washington Ave. in Bremerton during the first phase of improvements. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Work begins down at Fifth Street and Washington Ave. in Bremerton during the first phase of improvements. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

As you may have noticed, work on Washington Avenue has started to ramp up. Crews from RV Associates have closed down Fifth Street at Washington Avenue, mostly to install new stormwater drains as well as some water and sewer pipes.

Next week, it’s going to get crazier, with the closure of Sixth Street at Washington Avenue to do much of the same work they’ve been doing on Fifth. The closure starts Tuesday. Mayor Patty Lent assured me that the city will keep open one of the two roads — Fifth or Sixth — at any given time, so Fifth should be reopened before Sixth closes.

The closure will remain until about May 19, though there will be “intermittent” openings, including for the Armed Forces Day parade on May 16.

This, as frequent readers of this blog know, is only the beginning.

A few weeks from now, northbound Washington roadway, between Sixth and the Manette Bridge, will close. Traffic will be diverted into the southbound lanes while crews put in utilities and install wider sidewalks and bike lanes on the northbound side.

There’s certainly no shortage of roadwork going on right now. A section of Marine Drive was paved with some fanfare recently, a chunk of Trenton Avenue in Manette was, albeit without fanfare. Along with Washington Avenue, Austin Drive near NAD Park will also be repaved this summer.

I’ll keep you posted on these city projects. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions along the way.

A few resources:

Phase I & II Traffic Control Plan (PDF) or the temporary Phase III Traffic Control Plan (PDF)

VIDEO: Curbs coming in on Lower Wheaton Way

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Crews poured the first curbs as part of Bremerton’s $3.4 million reconstruction of Lower Wheaton Way Tuesday. 

It’s a milestone for the project, which will add wide sidewalks, bike lanes and better lighting to an approximately one mile stretch of road spanning Bremerton’s bridges.

The project is slated to be completed in the fall.

You shall not pass: city targets Manette Bridge speeders 


At Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent singled out deviant motorists who pass other cars on Manette Bridge. She said her office has received some complaints about the passers, mainly those who speed around other drivers heading toward downtown, just past the roundabout.

The mayor invited Steve Strachan, Bremerton police chief, before the Council to address the issue. He said police would be vigilant about looking out for passers, and indicated that motorists face a minimum $124 fine for doing it.

“Well be keeping our eye out,” Strachan said.

I had not heard of these violators but those of us that live in Bremerton are used to seeing aggressive driving. Similarly, concerns have been raised about pedestrians crossing the road at the base of the bridge near the roundabout, a problem summed up recently by the Road Warrior, Travis Baker.

In one more related note: following the mayor’s report, Vern LaPrath, an East Bremerton resident, reminded the Council Wednesday night that he’s still waiting for speed humps on Hanford Avenue. He’s been advocating for them for longer than a decade. And on Wednesday night, it wasn’t just LaPrath, but two other Hanford Avenue residents, that desired to have them.

“It’s not just the cranky old man on Hanford Avenue,” LaPrath said.

City Councilman Dino Davis, chair of the city’s public works committee, responded by saying he hopes a project adding speed humps will be slated for 2015.

The followup: Those car tab fees you pay? Some will go for Old Wheaton Way


As a Bremerton resident who just renewed my car tabs, I was reminded that we fork over an extra $20 each year to help maintain Bremerton’s roads.

And what is that extra Andrew Jackson going to buy in Bremerton, you ask?

The fund — which generates around $350,000 a year — goes toward street upkeep. The city’s street department seals in cracks, tears out craggily sections of roadway and patches them, and utilizes other quick fixes aimed at extending a road’s life.

But at a Feb. 5 meeting of the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) board — which is really just the Bremerton City Council, but with a fancy title that authorizes them to spend the car tab money — its members authorized spending $250,000 for the Old Wheaton Way project.

The project, which will put in a new street and sidewalks along Old Wheaton from Lebo Boulevard to the Manette Bridge, doesn’t have enough existing funds for completion. Most of the funding is coming from a $1.4 million state grant. The TBD money gets the city closer to installing all of the project’s components, including street lighting, according to Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin.

The TBD board approved a total $750,000 tab for road projects, in excess of what it collects per year but a doable amount because of reserves the TBD fund had built up in its first year and a half of existence.

I’ll have a more detailed story in the Kitsap Sun in the coming days. In the meantime, drop a line and let me know what you think of the car tab fee and what it’s spent on.

Cool Visuals, But What’s Up With That Bus?

Gardner here.

Angela Dice, the Kitsap Sun’s Web know-it-all, sent me a link to what is a really cool visual of Bremerton’s waterfront potential. The videos adorn you with a virtual jet pack as you hover over the new marina and whisk by condos, many of which have not been built, or purchased.

The second video, though, made me wonder how respect for the law was envisioned as part of Bremerton’s future culture. Once the most violent city per capita in the state, (You weren’t far behind, Port Orchard, so stop snickering.) the new developments and resulting bustle of law abiding citizens were bound to change the personality of the city. However, it appears the designers envisioned a new form of lawlessness in which bus drivers consider traditional lane direction rules to be optional.