Bike lane improvement project set for Kitsap Way

Green paint markings, “bike boxes,” and connectivity through intersections are among the measures planned in Bremerton.

BREMERTON — City officials unveiled an ambitious plan Tuesday to improve bicycle travel on Kitsap Way.

With help from a $1.9 million state grant, the public works department is planning to add designated bike lanes marked with green paint along the thoroughfare from the Route 3 interchange to Callow Ave., as well as “bike boxes” and other measures intended to aid bicycle travel and reduce conflicts.

The city collaborated with the West Sound Cycling Club to develop strategies to make it easier and safer to bike along the corridor, including by clearly marking bike lanes through intersections, adding the traffic boxes that allow cyclists to jump ahead of waiting cars for easier turning, building buffer zones between bike lanes and the roadway and painting bike lanes green at certain segments.

The project requires a $59,000 match from the city of Bremerton and is a piece of a larger safety improvements grant administered through the Washington Department of Transportation. In total, the city received about $2.6 million through the federal highway safety improvement program administered through the state. An upgrade to traffic signals and crosswalks on Wheaton Way is also planned.

Kitsap Way is the primary thoroughfare into Bremerton from Route 3 and points west, and provides access to downtown.

The mostly four-lane road already has some bike lanes, but Bremerton engineer Shane Weber said, among other things, it lacks adequate connectivity through intersections.

“For the most part we have lanes along the corridor, but they’re discontiguous,” Weber said.

The project will connect bike lanes to each other, and make greater efforts to set them off from the main roadway.

“The idea is to push the bike lane as close to the curb as possible, so there’s a gap between the bike lane and the vehicle lane,” Weber said. “It ends up being a safer ride for bicyclists adjacent to vehicles, and it makes it more comfortable for drivers too.”

Some roadway widening will be required around 11th Street.

The green paint will not be used along the entirety of the roadway, due to its cost.

“We’re going to identify where the conflict points are with vehicles,” Weber said. “We’ll put in green bike lane markings where those conflicts are.”

“I feel really good about this,” city engineer Tom Knuckey said during Tuesday’s Public Works Committee meeting. “There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes on in the background to get this done.”

Plans are currently underway and construction is slated to begin in summer 2020.

Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.