Bus investment starts at home

Why can’t more people ride the bus?

That has been among the questions raised by the downtown planning process, specifically, parking garages to meet the needs of shoppers and service patrons. Given the huge expense of garages, one argument goes, mightn’t money be better spent “investing” in transit?

Philosophically, we concede the point: our society is grossly and wastefully overdependent on single-occupant vehicles, and no downtown anywhere, let alone little Winslow, can ever guarantee easy parking for everyone who might demand it at a given moment. Why not then limit parking, to force more people out of their SUVs and into buses? And why not reward downtown employees who find alternative ways to get to work?

We would offer two thoughts: that parking woes are not a problem wholly created by the 1,000 or so folks who work downtown, and that given the chance to ride the bus, most

non-commuting islanders – shoppers included – can’t be bothered. As to why, you’ll have to ask your neighbors.

We were dismayed to have to report last week on the demise of Kitsap Transit’s midday service on Bainbridge Island. Four routes – numbers 102 to Rolling Bay, 103 to Miller Road, 104 to Blakely, and 105 to Lynwood Center – will end Feb. 13. Introduced two years ago, the routes failed to generate much ridership; the Rolling Bay run showed 5.9 passengers per hour in November, the Miller Road run just 3.3, when an average of 10 riders per hour is needed to sustain service.

Arguably, Kitsap Transit could have done more to promote the midday routes; yet transit honchos tell us they touted the service through schools, the Chamber of Commerce and the Senior Center, and with promotional literature. It was up to islanders to step up, deposit their dollar and take a seat.

The loss is a step backward for this community, because Kitsap Transit is an inexpensive and efficient way to get to and from Winslow. The buses are clean, comfortable and reliable, and the agency has been responsive, adding larger vehicles to keep up with demand. This time, there was no demand.

There may be arguments for and against particular parking plans, but “more people can ride the bus” isn’t one of them.

We have, sadly, chosen otherwise.

Hoop dreams

Q: What’s the difference between the Bainbridge High School girls basketball team, and the Seattle SuperSonics?

A: The girls can play defense.

The deft matching zone rolled out by hometown girls this season has been solid, smothering hapless foes and inviting cross-court passes that are gobbled up and turned into fast breaks the other way.

And if you haven’t been to a prep hoops contest lately, Friday is a great chance. The Bainbridge girls – sporting, as of this writing, a splashy 13-2 overall mark (9-2 league) – hosts arch-rival Lakeside on the Paski Gym hardwood. The Lions are defending the state 3A title, and are one of two teams to slow the hometown girls this season. Bainbridge vs. Lakeside has been a great rivalry since the late 1980s, when the teams perennially vied for the crown; the stakes are high this week, as the two fine squads maneuver for the postseason.

Bainbridge boasts an ace nucleus of Alice Russell, Morgan Zajonc and Allie Picha, while Penny Gienger recently notched her 200th win as a prep coach. Tipoff is at 8 p.m., and in the spirit of Title IX, you can show up at 6:15 and catch the boys matchup too.

Let’s see full stands and Spartan spirit Friday. It’s the best basketball you’ll see in these parts, at both ends of the floor.

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