Six-foot-wide shoulders will be installed along a stretch of Miller Road to improve safety for bicyclists.

Six-foot-wide shoulders will be installed along a stretch of Miller Road to improve safety for bicyclists.

Big trees to be removed as part of bike lane project on Miller Road

Nearly three dozen trees will be cut down — including several that have trunks 4 feet thick or more in size — so bike lanes can be installed along a mile-long stretch of Miller Road.

Planning staff for the city of Bainbridge Island are currently examining the potential environmental impacts of the shoulder improvement project on Miller Road.

According to city plans, approximately 35 trees will be taken down. The trees include Douglas fir, cedars and maples. Several cedars and maples to be removed also have trunks that are 3 feet thick or larger.

The roadside improvements will be done as part of the city’s Core 40 Program, adopted in 2007, that will eventually result in a 40-mile integrated shoulder network for bicycles.

The Miller Road project will see the installation of 6-foot-wide shoulders on both sides of the road along a 1.1-mile stretch of the road between Tolo and Peterson Hill roads.

City officials say improvements are needed because Miller Road is a highly traveled roadway with limited shoulder space for pedestrians or bicyclists.

The shoulder improvement project is expected to cost $1.1 million, and $751,000 of that is coming from federal grants.

All of the work planned will be done within the right of way for Miller Road.

The removal of trees for roadside improvements has proven to be controversial on Bainbridge in recent months.

There was considerable public outcry over the widespread clearing of trees and other vegetation along Highway 305 as construction began on the first leg of the Sound to Olympics Trail early last year. City officials, however, noted that trees and vegetation removed for the project were within the right of way for the highway owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Construction of that .8-mile-long segment of the trail, between Winslow Way and High School Road, is expected to be finished this month.

The shoulder improvements along Miller Road are also expected to impact three wetlands along the roadway.

According to the environmental checklist for the project, 130 square feet of those wetlands will be impacted, and mitigation work will be conducted on 1,065 square feet of land.

The city is accepting comments on the Miller Road improvement project through Friday, Jan. 26.

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