Bainbridge Councilwoman Rasham Nassar explains her vote against the Highway 305 bridge at the council meeting Tuesday. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

Bainbridge Councilwoman Rasham Nassar explains her vote against the Highway 305 bridge at the council meeting Tuesday. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

New Bainbridge council kills controversial bridge project

It turned out to be a bridge too far.

The Bainbridge Island City Council voted 5-2 to abandon a plan to build a controversial pedestrian/bicyclist bridge over Highway 305.

The key votes against the bridge came from the council’s three newest members, who were ceremonially sworn in at the start of the meeting.

New council members Rasham Nassar, Joe Deets and Matthew Tirman voted against the bridge.

The vote came after more than two hours of citizen comments for and against the proposed span. Some asked the city council to take a visionary step and support the bridge over the highway, an idea that dates back more than a decade.

It was a leap of faith that a majority of the council was not willing to take.

“My position against the bridge has not changed, and it hasn’t changed for a couple of reasons,” Tirman said.

The bridge was a big topic during his campaign for the council, he said.

“It’s time to get back to priorities,” Tirman said.

Deets said he heard much opposition, as well, during his sixth-month-long campaign for the council.

“It was 10-to-1 ‘no,’” Deets said.

Nassar also said the community was overwhelmingly against the project when she spoke with residents about the bridge.

Councilman Ron Peltier said the bridge was “clearly in the wrong place.”

He said the bridge supporters were out in force at the meeting, many from off-island.

“I think being visionary means to rise above what everybody is telling you and to think for yourself,” Peltier said.

At least one council member said his opinion on the bridge had changed after Tuesday’s extensive discussion.

Mayor Kol Medina recalled his earlier vote against the bridge, and he said he voted against it last year because he was worried about how it would look.

“It doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would,” Medina said.

While he said his mind wasn’t fully made up, Medina said he did support a motion by Councilman Mike Scott to proceed ahead with the design of the project to the 30 percent stage.

That motion, however, fell to defeat on a 5-2 vote.

Peltier than asked for a council vote to cancel the project, which also passed 5-2.

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