Tag Archives: PSRC

PO’s Plans to Become an Urban Center Would be Selling “Your Political Soul to the Devil,” KAPO REP Says

Funding for which the city would become eligible come with to many “strings,” critics say.
By Chris Henry
Members of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners and other community members on Tuesday raised a chorus of warning against a proposal by the City of Port Orchard to seek designation as an Urban Growth Center through the Puget Sound Regional Council.
Port Orchard would seek the designation as part of its yet-to-be-approved comprehensive plan update, set to come before the council Dec. 22.
Becoming an urban growth center would entitle the city to a first crack at state and federal funding for transportation and infrastructure overseen by the PSRC, said Development Director James Weaver at a public hearing on the comp plan update. The change in status would put Port Orchard in a league with Bremerton and Silverdale when it comes to accessing certain transportation funds, he said.
The city could still apply for other federal and state funds and grants even if it does not become an urban growth center. The process is highly competitive and would take about three years, Weaver said. The Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council would have to give its blessing before the matter would move on to the PSRC.
Port Orchard is eligible to apply for the designation since its population grew to more than 10,000 in 2009. Annexations, including the McCormick Woods development, raised the population from 8,420 to 10,836.
As part of its comp plan update, the city shows future plans to develop its downtown area as a transportation hub. Key to this is construction of a parking garage and retail complex known as the Port Orchard Town Center Revitalization Project . The estimated cost of the project is $36.6 million.
The city will likely proceed with the transportation hub plan, even if it doesn’t become an urban growth center, but funding administered through the PSRC represents a significant source of money for this and other capital projects on Port Orchard’s horizon.
But those who testified about the proposal said seeking the title of urban growth center would make the city beholden to the PSRC, a regional body made up of representatives from a four-county area, including King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Critics cited goals of the PSRC’s Vision 2040 as having the potential to dictate quality of life in South Kitsap.
“Make no mistake,” said KAPO’s Executive Director Vivian Henderson. “Once you get tangled up in the strings attached to PSRC grants, you have sold your political soul to the devil.”
“I would suggest you resist this siren song and, instead, consider helping Kitsap leave the PSRC in 2012,” said Silverdale resident and KAPO member Bob Benze.
“To me the PSRC is trying to change what our community is all about,” said Port Orchard resident Gerry Harmon. “If you don’t jump through their hoops, you’re not going to get the money. Everything we do will be to get those funds. Those funds will only come when we are running through those hoops.”
Mayor Lary Coppola asked Weaver to clarify requirements of being an urban growth center. Weaver said, as far as Port Orchard’s comp plan is concerned, the PSRC would be able to comment on it, as they have in the past. But the designation would give the PSRC no additional authority to dictate details of comp plan regulations.
After the meeting, Coppola, who has written blog posts critical of Vision 2040, said, “I heard all the people who spoke about it (the proposal) loud and clear last night, and I understand their fear, but this is a council decision. This is not my decision, and I think there’s pros and cons on both sides of it.”

Bethel Widening Not on PSRC’s Short List

Transportation reporter Ed Friedrich is working on a story for tomorrow about recommendations from the Puget Sound Regional Council for how $136 million in Federal Transportation Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 should be allocated and how that affects Kitsap County. At issue is how the money should be divvied up among transportation projects around the state. Kitsap projects making the cut are improvements to Viking Way totaling $3,800,000 and the Bainbridge Island Core 40 Shoulder Widening Program at $150,000 (both described below post).

The largest project in South Kitsap, the $26 million widening of Bethel Road, is among projects that did not make the list. According to reporter Steve Gardner, the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council made its recommendations to the PSRC weighing heavily whether the candidate projects were “shovel ready.” It’s safe to say Bethel Corridor is far from shovel-ready. Gardner spoke to Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, who said the proposed South Kitsap Industrial Area connector road did not make the cut for the same reason.

From the PSRC Web site:

Agency Title Recommended ARRA Funds
Poulsbo Viking Ave Improvements Phase II (McDonalds to SR 305) $ 3,800,000
Bainbridge Island Core 40 Shoulder Widening Program – Blakely Non-Motorized Project Phase II $ 150,000
Total Kitsap Co. ‘Top Priority’ $3,950,000

On PSRC’s interactive map of recommended projects, see:

Bainbridge Island

This project proposes to improve non-motorized access around Blakely and Wilkes Elementary Schools. Both schools are in the less developed areas of the island where adjoining roads have generally substandard improvements for walking or bicycling to school, but have enough surrounding homes to allow a student population to walk if facilities were available.
This project will provide non-motorized improvements around both schools. It will provide detailed planning and beginning of a safe non-motorized route to both schools. The facilities will allow elementary school students to walk and bicycle to school who are not comfortable doing it now. Walking or riding bikes to school will improve the health of the students doing it, and reduce vehicular trip to school thus improving air quality. ARRA Funds $150,000.


The proposed project will improve mobility and safety along this corridor. Phase II of the project consists of the intersection of NW Lindvig Way and Viking Avenue, and the segment of Viking Avenue from the McDonalds restaurant to SR 305. The improvements along Viking Avenue include a continuous two-way left turn lane, bike lanes, drainage improvements, and curb and sidewalk on both sides of the road. The improvements at the intersection consist of improved channelization by adding a left-turn lane westbound on NW Lindvig Way and a right-turn lane northbound on Viking Avenue.
ARRA funds $3,800,000.