You can walk across Hood Canal Bridge, but you don’t have to

The in basket: The state has decided it gave me some wrong information in reply to Bill Schaefer’s question a month ago about whether it’s legal to be a pedestrian on the Hood Canal Bridge. And a couple of bicyclists have asked questions about their right to use the bridge.


The in basket: The state has decided it gave me some wrong information in reply to Bill Schaefer’s question a month ago about whether it’s legal to be a pedestrian on the Hood Canal Bridge. And a couple of bicyclists have asked questions about their right to use the bridge.
Becky Hixson of the bridge project team, who I cited Aug. 17 as saying walking isn’t allowed on the bridge, tells me she was wrong.
Dave Ely wrote, “You CAN walk at least part of the span if you’re pushing a bicycle. As a matter of fact, you’re supposed to. There are signs in the area of the draw span instructing bicyclists to walk their bikes.
“I believe the reason is the angle of the track joint for the draw span and the potential for the joint to cause crashes by catching bicycle wheels in a bad way,” he said. “As a former cyclist, I’d rather be on the bike and moving at a speed
closer to that of the traffic than walking beside my bike (wider profile) with my back facing fairly speedy traffic in that area.”
And Sharon O’Hara asks, “What is the rule for cyclists (recumbent trikes and the other kind) crossing the Hood Canal Bridge? Pedal fast?”
The out basket: Becky now says, “Pedestrians were not allowed on the bridge last summer during construction because there were no shoulders and no place to walk.
“As soon as the work was completed, pedestrians were again allowed on the bridge. That said, for safety reasons, we do not recommend crossing the bridge on foot.”
As for bicycles, they can cross the bridge any time, but the state has worked out a safer way with Jefferson Transit, she says.
“Cyclists can now ride for free across the Hood Canal Bridge in bike-friendly Jefferson Transit buses,” says a state Web site, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR104HoodCanalBridgeEast/cyclist.htm. “Jefferson Transit has added new bike friendly bus stops on the east and west sides of the bridge to assist cyclists crossing.
“Cyclists can plan their trip according to Jefferson County transit bus schedules, www.jeffersontransit.com/7.html or choose to ride with traffic as before. Jefferson Transit runs a #7 bus, from Port Townsend to Poulsbo, which crosses the (bridge) five times a day on weekdays and twice a day on the week ends.”
Pedestrians can use the bus at no charge for the short trip across the bridge, as well, a transit official says.
If a bicyclist can’t coordinate with the bus, the state recommends crossing the bridge during times when there is less traffic (early morning. on weekends, non-commute hours on weekdays).
“The west-half of the bridge now has 8-foot shoulders but the shoulders on the east-half of the bridge are still fairly narrow,” Becky said. “Even for experienced cyclists, the bridge can be a challenge, especially during high winds or in moderate to heavy traffic. A good portion of the bridge is an uphill climb.”

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