Fish barrier removal part of 305 project

Fewer crashes, improved traffic flow and removing three fish passage barriers are key goals of a roundabout to be built on Highway 305 at Northeast Adas Will Lane.

The state Department of Transporation gave a presentation to the Bainbridge Island City Council on it last week.

The state says the work will reduce crashes 20 percent and improve travel time 34 percent. And restoring salmon runs is an important issue for Gov. Jay Insee and tribes statewide.

The DOT slide show says planning for the 305 corridor from Poulsbo to the Winslow ferry has been ongoing for 20 years. It included community outreach for 3 1/2 years and involved six government agencies.

It has received a total of $36.8 million in Connect Washington funding. One roundabout at Johnson Road near Poulsbo already is under construction. This is the next one up.

Other improvements with this roundabout include:

*Safer intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists with crosswalks.

*Narrow shoulders of 6 feet will be expanded to 8 feet.

*There will be room for bus stops on both sides of 305, not just one side.

*There will be 10-foot sidewalks with a buffer from traffic.

*Bus stops with pullouts, shelters and 15-foot sidewalks will be at each intersection.

*The roundabouts can be used for U-turns so there will be no left-turns causing delays.

A roundabout at Northeast West Port Madison and a right in/right out intersection at Agatewood Road Northeast also are expected to be done by fall. Another roundabout at Suquamish Way might happen later.

Council member Leslie Schneider said she’s excited about the multi-modal concept and bus pullouts on both sides, but wondered about the homes on Reitan Road. “They’re getting the worst of this,” she said. She was told they will have to cross the bridge and comeback, which would be easier if the Suquamish Tribe approves the roundabout near the casino.

Schneider also said she had thought the roundabouts on 305 would quash any talk of widening 305 in the future.

“I would hope the anwer is no,” she said.

Councilmember Joe Deets said that probably will depend on if the Agate Pass Bridge is ever widened. If it is, he predicted 305 would be widened on the island, too.

The DOT website says a new three-lane bridge would cost $122 million.

Councilmember Michael Pollock wasn’t impressed with the 305 plan.

“That’s a lot of pavement,” he said, adding that doesn’t help climate change. He asked what DOT plans to do to mitigate the loss of open space.

He was told pavement is being kept to a minimum, and DOT does care about climate change. Less travel and wait times will lower greenhouse gas emissions. Taking out fish passage barriers will help water quality. Other safety improvements will encourage more people to walk and bike along the corridor. And vegetation will be replanted.

In other matters, the council was updated on the Green Building Program and was told mandating certifications was inconsistent with state law.

The council decided the best route to go would be lobbying the state legislature for change. It would be tough to get going on that this year, since the legislature already is in session. But there already are some bills proposed that the city could get behind.

Councilmember Christy Carr said the city has another year to really get going on that, but she’d like to see some efforts made at the local level before then.

Also, the Climate Change Advisory Committee gave a presentation.

Part of its discussion was on the proposed police-court building at Harrison.

The council was told using that building would be better for the environment than building something new. They were also told that investing in low-income housing and community solar would offset that project and add to carbon reduction.

To pay for those, the committee says the city, in its franchise talks with Puget Sound Energy, could ask for funding for that. That 15-year franchise agreement is up in 2022.

Leslie Schneider