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Terminal traffic tie-ups begin Monday
"Pucker up - you'll have plenty of time to kill around the kiss-and-ride.Reconstruction of Winslow Way East, from the highway to Ferncliff Avenue, begins Monday morning, promising to make a hectic morning commute even more interesting.You ferry commuters should think seriously of setting your alarm clocks earlier, said Merrill Robison, city council chair, in a new release distributed Thursday and Friday.While it make take a day or two to hit full stride, the work is expected to run through the end of October.The city is requiring that one lane of Winslow Way East remain open to traffic at all times. The 305/Winslow Way intersection will be open during peak commuter hours, 6-9 a.m. and 3:15-6 p.m. each day, but may see other periodic closures.Car and bus access on Olympic Drive into the vehicle holding area should be less affected, unless traffic on adjacent roads backs up. But city officials said commuters should expect delays of 15-20 minutes coming and going from the upper terminal area.To beat the delays, officials suggest that commuters try riding Kitsap Transit, which has agreed to add buses to island routes if demand increases during the construction period. The city is also looking at designating a new, temporary kiss-and-ride area for ferry commuters who get dropped off by their honey, but no site had been identified by Friday.Contractor for the project is Northern Con-AGG of Mill Creek. Total cost is estimated at $734,713, split more or less evenly between the city's roads fund and a state grant. Improvements will include:* A new center lane, with left-turn designations in each direction;* Bike lanes (5 feet wide) on each side of the street;* Sidewalks (10 feet wide) on each side.Underground utility work is also planned, including upgrades to the water main and stormwater and sewer lines, after which the road will be repaved.The city didn't issue a formal news release on the project until Thursday, and only then after several neighbors descended on Monday's pulic works committee committee and complained about the lack of public notice. They kind of beat us around the head, said a frustrated Robison, who issued a news release of his own late in the week.To get the word out, he and Councilman Christine Nasser, who also serves on the public works committee, passed out leaflets at the ferry terminal Friday morning during several commuter runs.Also Friday, arborists examined two mature broad-leaf maples next to the Flying Penguin building on the south side of Winslow Way East, to determine the trees' health and decide whether or not they can be retained during the project.While they were to be felled and replaced with young specimens, Nasser said council members were in general agreement that the maples - estimated Friday to be at least 140 years old - should be saved if possible.Character, history, aesthetics - yeah, charm, Nasser said of the trees' appeal.The early prognosis, by Olaf Ribeiro of the Bainbridge-based Ribeiro Plant Lab, was that the trees are of reasonably sound health and could be retained if the roots aren't disturbed by the roadwork. But John Rudolph, an architect in the Solarmarine Building next door, said that from his experience, maples surrounded by pavement don't survive. A similar maple, retained years ago in front of the old city hall building, one day fell into the street on a windless afternoon, he recalled. Rudolph suggested that the maples be felled and replaced, conceding that people are going to hate me for saying that.A final determination on the trees' fate is expected next week.Updates on the Winslow Way East construction can be found on a recorded message line, 780-3702, or online at www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us. Kitsap Transit can be reached at (800) 501-RIDE, with schedules available on buses and in the terminal waiting area.Madison AvenueFlaggers will also show up Monday on Madison Avenue, between Knechtel Way and Wallace Way.Four to five days of construction are expected, as the new Courtyards on Madison development ties in to utility lines on Madison Avenue.The odds are good that one lane will be open at all times, said Dave Nelson of the city engineering department.Madison againConstruction also begins soon on the temporary traffic-calming project on Madison Avenue, from Wyatt Way to Winslow Way.Changes will include:* Elmination of the center lane and the south-bound bike lane;* Narrowed and re-routed traffic lanes;* Installation of crosswalks at several points;* Creation of additional on-street parking.Potted trees may be included as part of the improvements, to suggest how landscaping would affect driver sight-lines and street aesthetics if the changes are made permanent.The experimental calming will be left in place for 60 days or more, with a goal of slowing traffic and improving pedestrian safety.Information on that project can be found on a message line at 780-3703. "