Winter is advocacy season. We can't ride as much in dark, wet, cold weather, but this is an ideal time to do our homework for safer cycling in Kitsap. There are several really interesting projects going on right now.
First, the advocacy wing of WSCC is meeting with City of Bremerton Public Works in January. They will present a plan for low cost, safer biking conditions within city limits. Twenty roads have been identified as the safest routes, and WSCC will ask the city to provide painted bike shoulders and painted sharrows ( shared lane markings) on these roads. So far, Bremerton has been very receptive and it looks like we may see fresh paint on the road soon.
Second, the gate between Shorewood Drive and the Puget Sound Naval Complex, which has been locked most of this year, is about to be unlocked! This is a beautiful, low traffic alternative for biking between Bremerton and Silverdale, avoiding much of Kitsap Way. There were reasons for the closure, involving change of command, construction, etc. Congrats to Mayor Lent for negotiating its reopening.
Third, Kitsap County is currently selecting a firm to conduct a traffic circulation study of Silverdale. Aside from giving the county data about where to focus road improvement, the study will also be the first step in providing a safe cycling route through Silverdale. Stay tuned for details.
Fourth, the County just announced that the first phase of Silverdale Way road improvement will start construction in June of 2017. This project is the first of a three phase plan to provide bike lanes and sidewalks along Silverdale Way, from Bucklin Hill Road to the roundabout at Newberry.
Fifth, WSCC will partner with the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce to run a 25-30 mile ride around Dyes Inlet on June 25, as part of the Water Trails Festival. This will be a family-oriented ride to build support for a safe route around the inlet. Dyes Inlet has amazing scenery and low elevation. If the idea is adopted by Bremerton and Kitsap County, this route would be a huge attraction for cyclists from all around.
Last, a proposed multi use trail between Kitsap Lake and Gorst is in the final phases of a feasibility study. Imagine riding, walking or running to the old Belfair Hwy without having to run the gauntlet of heavy traffic through Bremerton and Gorst. This would be a 10-12 foot wide paved trail, about 2 1/2 miles long, Many details need to be worked out, and funding is not secured, so it is still theoretical at this point. Be on the lookout for a public meeting scheduled in early 2017, where you can add your voice in support to make this a reality.