We need details on the plan | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

My name is Parker Hutchinson. I’m 16 years old, a BHS student and an Eagle Scout candidate from BSA Troop 1564, here on Bainbridge Island.

While finishing up work on one of my merit badges, I attended a recent city council meeting and was required to file a report on the topics discussed. However, the main discussion topic during the council meeting of July 10 had me scratching my head and asking questions.

During this meeting, Proposal 2018/22 was debated, which calls for more of the city’s tax dollars to be funneled into projects involving non-motorized vehicles, such as bike lanes and crosswalks.

The proposal was passed, however public comments were made that expressed worries about the traffic and environmental problems that could arise from the construction of bike paths.

These were all valid concerns, but I was more struck with the conversation’s absolute lack of details and planning in regard to the building of the actual paths themselves.

During the entire talk on Proposal 2018/22, the city council settled and approved the funds to build more bike lanes, but they never mentioned any kind of specific plan on how, and where, they would construct these bike lanes and crosswalks. To me, this seems very disorganized and vague. I worry such lack of details could lead to mishap and delays for the project, whatever that project actually is. Imagine the damage this lack of planning could have to small businesses or Highway 305 traffic, which could experience massive backups due to this uncoordinated mess.

Hopefully, the city council has a detailed plan in mind, somewhere, that this latest meeting failed to provide the audience. I tried to look for an outside source, to fill in the blanks, and the closest thing to a master plan for building and coordinating bike paths and traffic that I could find was the “City of Bainbridge 2016 Comprehensive Plan.” This really long document outlines a lot of stuff about future desires and makes statements of intent for the future of the island. However, when it came to plans for paths for bikes and other non-motorized transportation, I found next to no substance; zero details of where, what, and when, not even what the eventual vision that Bainbridge Island citizens should expect from all these proposals and plans.

Is there something that I’m missing, or is there really no substantive plan? Seems like a recipe for disaster, to me. My teachers and Scout leaders would never let me off with such a lame “plan,” in preparation for a research assignment or even a backpacking trip.

I’m only 16, but it seems pretty obvious to me that we should have a clearer picture of what the future will hold for non-motorized vehicles on Bainbridge.

Just saying we want to provide for non-motorized vehicles and setting aside some money, isn’t enough, and won’t make those bike paths actually happen. We need a plan.

PARKER HUTCHINSON

Bainbridge Island

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