305 bridge will improve safety | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

Late last summer as I was driving south on 305 midway between High School Rd and Winslow Way, I slammed on the my brakes just in time to miss colliding with one of three young boys who were darting across the highway.

They were crossing exactly where the proposed bridge would be located because not cutting across the highway may well have added an extra mile to their journey.

And their behavior is not unique — there is a well-traveled path on the west side of 305 complete with stairs indicating common use and an obvious message to walkers, especially children, that crossing is acceptable. Several adult friends tell me they cross at this point frequently. And why wouldn’t they — a distance equivalent to 14 city blocks from High School Road to Winslow Way uninterrupted with safe crosswalks invites running through traffic.

Americans walk less than any other industrialized nation largely due to our failure to build the infrastructure that makes walking safe and as direct as possible — the two most important criteria for a walkable community.

Inexplicably we on Bainbridge want less traffic and more people walking and biking, but we begrudge building the infrastructure that promotes non-car travel in our city core.

And for all those serious cyclers who say they wouldn’t use the bridge and love to speed along 305, that’s fine. You’re not a 10-year-old or elderly resident living without access to a car on Cave Avenue or in Ferncliff Village who wants to visit a friend on Erickson, go to a movie or their dentist’s office.

The city council in January may put an end to the 305 bridge permanently. We can only hope if this happens, we don’t find ourselves building a memorial bridge a few years from now to honor a child who lost his life doing just what we keep telling our children to do — get out and walk.

ERIKA SHRINER

Bainbridge Island

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