Island homes may get a change of address

The times they are a-changing, and it seems, so may be some addresses on Bainbridge Island.

Cencom, the agency that handles 911 calls for Kitsap County, has been spearheading a project to correct problems with addresses in the county – problems that slow emergency response time as responders search for their destination.

Bainbridge Island is among the areas they have identified as having a number of addressing issues that may need to be corrected.

“The driving force behind the project is public safety,” said Tom Powers, addressing coordinator for the project. “Cencom became involved in this effort because of our ongoing interest in promoting correct addressing for the purpose of eliminating delays in providing emergency fire, medical and law enforcement response.”

Cencom doesn’t have any authority to make any addressing changes itself, unless it is given to them by an addressing authority such as the city. The project will be providing the city with a number of areas on the island they have identified that may need to be changed.

The city will then have to decide wether a change is required. The goal is to bring addresses on the island up-to-date and in sync so that emergency services can quickly respond.

The city has a few problem areas that partially exist from when the island was incorporated as a city and converted addresses from the county. Areas such as High School Road or Battle Point Drive have numbers that conflict with addresses on the other side of the street, or alternate between designations such as North or Northwest in an illogical manner.

“The requirements of addressing used to be much simpler,” Powers said. “Some addresses that were assigned or in use decades ago were adequate for those times, but become a problem as more people populate an area and the need for more precise addressing increases.”

Other examples are the many easements that branch off of island roads and give access to a number of homes. These extensions off a road can be known to first responders, but often they contain addresses that are not uniform between themselves.

Powers said that in such a case it may be best to name the easement as its own road altogether, but it is up to the city to decide if such measures are appropriate. He said that many easements are easy to navigate while others branch off further, or are difficult to understand.

It comes down to the ability of emergency responders to reach where they are needed as quickly as possible.

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