To the editor:
The proposed city bond for non-motorized improvements should be about safety in the public domain — on developed rights-of-way owned by the city of Bainbridge Island. Unfortunately it is not.
It is bond that has a bit for everyone. Does this make it something Islanders should support?
It is worth peeling back the layers and looking more closely. It is easy to think any non-motorized bond is worth supporting.
A survey by Bainbridge Mobility Alliance, the front group for the bond, found that 80 percent of Islander wanted shoulder improvements and safer roads.
The current draft of the bond spends 55 percent ($8.25 million) on roadway shoulder and sidewalk improvements and 45 percent ($6.75 million) on the Sound to Olympic Trail, other trails, and an “opportunity fund.”
What should voters support? The most significant safety issues are along our roadways. Yet, the bond asks that the city tax dollars go to projects that should be funded by other Island governments.
For every property tax dollar that goes to the city (who oversees public works, police and city government), schools receive $2.76, fire $1.26, and parks $.64.
The proposed bond has no financial help from other city governments.
Trails are good but do not solve the clear safety conflicts that exist on our roadways and the burden of trails should be borne by parks and schools when on their properties.
The Sound to Olympic Trail is marginally used bike commuters and tourists often find easier routes. A more pleasurable and safer way to link Island neighborhoods with shoulders would be along existing roads connecting Winslow, Lynwood, Rolling Bay, Island Center, and the center island schools rather than a trail along a clearcut highway.
Let council know that city taxes should be for safety improvement in the developed rights-of-way. Let’s make roads safer for all users.