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Bike trail goes in at schools -- News Roundup

Bicyclists and pedestrians celebrated the near-completion of a 3/4-mile paved trail that links Bainbridge High School to Madison and New Brooklyn.

A Tuesday ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by state Sen. Phil Rockefeller, Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, and representatives from the school district, the state Department of Transportation and the bike advocacy group Squeaky Wheels.

Dana Berg, president of Squeaky Wheels, said the trail will help young bicyclists get to school safely by avoiding automobile traffic. The trail will also encourage kids to bike more, as trail improvements have done in Europe.

“In Denmark, 50 percent of students bike to school,” she said. “That can happen here if there’s a concerted effort.”

Berg hopes children’s needs will direct future city planning.

“Think if we designed our towns with kids in mind - if we designed towns with wonder, joy, discovery, nature and safety,” she said. “That’d be a perfect town. That’s what’s happening here.”

The paved trail was made possible with a $150,000 state grant. Out of 60 communities that applied for the grant, only 11 were approved, with Bainbridge netting the largest amount.

Berg praised Rockefeller for bringing the grant to Squeaky Wheel’s attention.

Kordonowy congratulated the various groups that helped improve the trail.

“This is a partnership between this generation and the next generation,” she said.

Squeaky Wheels plans to raise additional funds to improve the trail with benches, landscaping and signage.

– Tristan Baurick

Draft Comp Plan unveiled

The city planning department presented draft changes to the island’s Comprehensive Plan Tuesday, outlining the city’s barely revised approach to growth, land use, economic development and environmental management.

The most significant proposed changes were contained in the water resources element of the plan, which outlines a complete reorganization of goals and policies, city planner Libby Hudson told the City Council in a special meeting.

The greatest change in the element is to public sewer service, for which the Winslow sewer service map may be amended to designate a single service boundary.

The current sewer map has been “the cause of considerable confusion as it had two boundaries that designated a ‘future service area’ and an ‘existing service area,’” according to draft documents. The revised sewer map eliminates the two boundaries and most of the area previously labeled “future.”

Drinking water policies are proposed for amendment to discourage individual shallow private wells. The plan also clarifies the city’s role in public and private water systems. A new policy would allow the Department of Public Works to administer the city service area map, to allow water service extensions without a cumbersome Comprehensive Plan amendment.

The plan’s update is mandated by the state’s Growth Management Act. The act requires the city to review and revise the plan to address changes in local, regional, state and federal laws.

No zoning changes are proposed at this time, although several properties are proposed for redesignation on the city land use map in anticipation of formal rezone processes, Hudson said.

The city will host another public hearing on the plan on Oct. 13 and Nov. 10. The changes must be approved by the City Council.

Copies of the plan and draft revisions are available at the Bainbridge Library, City Hall and on the city’s website, www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us.

– Tristan Baurick

Lynwood Road to close again

Lynwood Center Road will be closed to all traffic just south of Emerald Way from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from Sept. 20-24, for work on the south-island sewer system.

A detour route along Blakely Avenue and down Baker Hill Road will be designated.

The closure will allow the installation of the last section of sanitary sewer main for service to the Emerald Heights neighborhood.

The road closure was not originally planned, however the depth of trenching requires an unusually large excavation machine. The size of this machine, combined with unstable soil conditions, necessitates the road closure, public works officials said.

Sewer service to Emerald Heights is expected to begin in early October.

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