Highway 305 bridge is a safety issue | Letter to the editor

To the editor

Early in his campaign, Matt Tirman, who had not previously engaged in local issues during his short time on the island, announced his unqualified opposition to the 305 bridge. He used the term “the bridge to nowhere” in speeches and conversations with voters.

What is interesting is that Tirman is in no way a transportation expert. And yet he felt no need to actually seek information from city engineers or MTAC, the long-established committee whose sole responsibility is to advise council on transportation issues, prior to drumming up opposition to the bridge. He didn’t spend hours walking the site and studying how existing and proposed pathways connect up to the bridge or obviously to discover how funneling our children and those with physical limitations onto the sidewalk along the Safeway shopping center is simply dangerous.

During the recent council discussion, Tirman exhibited little evidence that he had even thoroughly reviewed the grant application for the bridge — a project that has been in our city’s transportation plan since 2003. Not until the April 17 council meeting did he push for a measure to have staff get a definitive clarification on how the grant funds could be used. This, however, didn’t stop him from insisting for months that he was confident that the grant could be utilized for other projects or forcefully pushing through a council vote to put an end to any possibility of building a pedestrian bridge.

It will be difficult to obtain approval for an alternate use which is required from both the grantors and WSDOT — a lengthy process. But thanks to Tirman’s motion, which was supported by Nassar, Peltier and Deets, if no approval is granted for alternate projects, $2 million will go out of the county and negatively affect the city’s ability to secure other grant money in the future.

The bridge is first and foremost a safety issue — an issue in which at least four council members have not shown any interest. We pray that no lives are lost due to their insistence that campaign promises must always trump facts and carefully researched decision making.

ERIKA SHRINER

Bainbridge Island

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