New BI Ride program to kick off July 7

Remember the farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name? B-I-N-G-O.

Bainbridge Island city manager Blair King said recalling that song will help folks remember the name of the new BI Ride software app called Pingo. With the phone app, locals can hail BI Ride on demand. Rides are only $2. King said the effort is targeting youth and seniors.

The city is planning to launch the program with a still-being-planned event July 7. “We’re proud of what’s going on,” King said at a recent City Council meeting. “We want to make it a really fun kickoff.”

“Boy does our island need it,” Councilmember Leslie Schneider said, adding the city has supported BI Ride for a few years now. “It’s a real watershed moment.”

The City Council went on to agree to fund $100,000 for the program. BI is the first community in the state to pilot the app, according to the company.

The council set aside funding in 2019 to promote BI Ride. The city money comes from the Transportation Benefit Fund. In 2019 BI increased vehicle license fees $10 for certain purposes, such as this one.

Pingo is a new service from Kitsap Transit. BI Ride is a shared-ride service that KT operates on BI by both rider request and by serving scheduled stops. The service operates weekdays 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also at the meeting, during council comments, Councilmember Joe Deets said since Swedish Primary Care is closing its BI facility in July almost 8,000 patients will be “doctorless,” creating an “emergency crisis.” What can we do to start addressing this issue? he asked.

Also, King said City Hall will reopen to the public July 1 after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added he is going through years and years of information regarding a police-court facility on BI. He mentioned there could be a pause in that effort from six to 12 months without any negative effects.

Meanwhile, there also was discussion about Puget Sound Energy’s plan to put new transmission lines on BI. Councilmember Michael Pollock said he didn’t want to just see a “dog and pony show” from PSE during a council meeting.

Deputy mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos agreed, saying she is skeptical of PSE. “They’re good at packaging things the way they want it told,” she said.

King said it could be a multi-step process with PSE giving its presentation and then following up with public comments.

Speaking of public comments, that night Bob Russell complained about the roundabout at Wyatt and Madison. He said it’s been operational for two months yet still lacks signage, arrows, etc. “I’m embarrassed tonight for the city,” he said.

King said later that other residents also have shared concerns, and the city is coming up with some innovative ideas for the tight roundabout.

Also during public comments Cindy Anderson praised Mayor Rasham Nassar for reforming the way City Council meetings are conducted. “It’s pleasant,” she said, adding she thanks all the members for making the meetings move quicker than they used to.

The council also:

*Approved a $196,000 contract to upgrade the city’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition telemetry system at nine sites. Telemetry systems remotely monitor water treatment processes, pumps, valves, and vents and measure the inflow and outflow of water and wastewater. Most importantly, the systems will warn operators if there are critical elements of the city’s water and sewer system that are malfunctioning, and could cause customer disruption or environmental hazards.

*OK’d a $187,000 contract for assessment of the Manzanita watershed. The city needs to define locations where stormwater facilities could be located.

*OK’d appointments to the Climate Change Advisory Committee: Michael Cox, Lara Hansen and Derik Broekhoff were reappointed with new members Steve Richard and John Kydd added.

*OK’d appointments to the Planning Commission: Ashley Mathews was reappointed and Yesh Subramanian appointed.

*OK’d appointments to the Design Review Board: Joseph Dunstan and Vicki Clayton were both reappointed.

*A city proclamation was passed announcing June 19 as Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery.