Public works staff begins maintenance plan on Bainbridge road ends

For more than two decades the city’s Road Ends Committee has enlisted the help of volunteers and its members to preserve Bainbridge Island’s 60 shoreline access points and neighborhood trails.

The city is now throwing in some added support, fulfilling a request that has been made several times by the committee over the years.

This summer, the Bainbridge Island Public Works Department has for the first time designated staff to make maintenance rounds at roughly 45 out of the 60 road ends and the trails along the way.

“The crew has reported back that they have had really good neighborhood support,” Deputy City Manager Morgan Smith told the city council at its meeting this week.

“They’ve been approached more than once by neighbors who said, ‘Thank you for doing this,’ and ‘Thank you for helping my neighborhood site be more useful and aesthetically pleasant,’” she said.

Smith explained that while the Road Ends Committee has had a lot of success in the past with many of the road ends and trails, some sites lack the same kind of neighborhood stewardship that others have.

Trail benches are falling apart, signs are missing, pathways are overgrown, Smith said.

By providing baseline maintenance on a quarterly basis, the quality of Bainbridge’s shoreline access points will go up and be maintained for future enjoyment.

At Monday’s meeting, Morgan showed photos of road ends that were recently cleaned up by the city.

“You can see how, left untended, something like this can easily be overgrown,” Morgan said.

“The concept of public access begins to get a little murky,” she said. “And so if we want to be maintaining these as amenities for the public, it’s important for us to keep maintenance on regular plans.”

Public works staff will be visiting the list of road ends and trails on a quarterly basis and spend an estimated four hours of maintenance at each site.

Morgan said the work will total about 700 work hours annually, or the workload of about a third of a full-time employee.

Some on the council expressed that although the progress for road ends was good, there could be more community involvement.

“I applaud the need for organization for making sure that it (maintenance) happens,” said Councilman Val Tollefson.

“But I think that the city has not done a good job of being proactive about encouraging volunteerism in city projects, and I think this is a wonderful opportunity to do that,” he said.

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