SR305

State Route 305

This Kitsap Streetcar plan was conceived by a Bainbridge Island commuter while sitting in traffic on State Route 305. The goal of this plan is to address the growing traffic issues in North Kitsap County, specifically the seven miles of the Highway 305 corridor between the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal and Poulsbo. This plan also addresses the need for more flexible and frequent public transit.

During peak commuting hours, it can take up to 45 minutes to drive from the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal to the Agate Pass Bridge today, due to excessive traffic, compared with 20 minutes in moderate traffic. Population growth on Bainbridge Island and across North Kitsap will only continue to aggravate this issue. A streetcar system on 305 can help commuters by-pass the traffic in 20 minutes, even during rush hour, while reducing environmental impact, maintaining the rural feel of the island, and increasing access to public transportation across the island and North Kitsap.

A study in 2006 looked at solutions specific to ferry commuters. A summary of those proposed solutions can be found in Appendix A. However, the growing traffic issues on Highway 305 go far beyond Bainbridge ferry commuters, encompassing workers commuting to and from Bainbridge Island to teach in the schools, to work in the stores, build and maintain the homes, to police the streets, as well as pass through to reach jobs in King County.

A comprehensive solution requires enticing drivers out of their cars and onto a public transportation option that is better than driving alone. There is a solution that fits the rural nature of Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County. A solution that worked for our great-grandparents’ over 100 years ago, and which can work for us, and our children, and their children.

In short, a lightweight, electric, streetcar network that can get us from home to work (or school) and back again, conveniently and easily.

Problem

The transportation problem goes beyond the ferry traffic and Agate Pass bottleneck. The problem is that there is no good alternative to an automobile for over 90% of the trips taken within the county.

Along the Highway 305 corridor, Kitsap Transit provides well-used bus service synchronized to the ferry schedule, but only for a few hours each morning and evening. If a Bainbridge resident wants to visit Winslow by bus, that trip needs to start and stop at 45-55 minute intervals, and must take place during either the morning or evening commutes. The same goes for a Poulsbo resident visiting Bainbridge Island or a Bainbridge resident visiting Poulsbo. That level of service is far too infrequent to attract any riders who are not also riding the ferry.

The 2002 Island Wide Traffic Study suggests that only 40% of the rush hour cars on Highway 305 originate from the ferry.[1] Ferry rider-ship has shrunk since 2002, yet the traffic on Highway 305 has increased.

Studies of ferry ridership have tracked the destinations of the ferry rides. As the chart shows, the majority of riders end their trips on Bainbridge Island. 25.3% end their trips in Poulsbo, North Kitsap, and Kingston. The remaining 7.3% in Central and South Kitsap. Thus a large number of drivers using 305 are not heading to or from the ferry.

Thus, the complete solution to Highway 305’s rush hour traffic must go beyond the needs of just ferry commuters, and incorporate all 305 transportation needs. A streetcar can do this.

The Solution

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