Kitsap Transit outlines new mobility improvements for OC community

Kitsap Transit will begin serving a new bus stop at the Olympic College Bremerton campus June 17

Starting Monday, June 17, Kitsap Transit will begin serving a new bus stop at Olympic College’s Bremerton campus, one of many transit improvements OC will see in 2019.

Olympic College hosted an event Wednesday, to christen the new bus stop. Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler and Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson were also in attendance to laud the improvements.

“This is quite the collaboration,” Wheeler said. “As an alum of Olympic College, it is my pleasure to help out the college.”

OC Poulsbo also will be seeing major bus service changes starting June 17 that will provide better connectivity and more choices for those traveling from Poulsbo, Kingston and Bainbridge Island. All routed buses will serve the lower parking lot on campus to allow for larger capacity buses and streamlined pickups and drop-offs.

Kitsap Transit plans to roll out bus service upgrades in the fall with the goal of a single bus ride between the two campuses

“I couldn’t be prouder to be here to talk about a direct connect between the two campuses,” Erickson said. “It’s a huge leap forward for our entire county. Now people can park in Poulsbo, hop on a bus, study, read, whatever they need to do to come here.”

At the Bremerton campus’ new stop, riders will be able to catch a route 217 bus every 30 minutes on weekdays between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The route provides service between Silverdale Transit Center and Bremerton Transportation Center. From Silverdale and Bremerton, passengers can transfer to other KT services to reach destinations elsewhere in Kitsap County or even downtown Seattle.

“This bus stop is just the beginning of the improvements that we are doing together for not only this campus (Bremerton), but the campus in Poulsbo,” said Kitsap Transit Executive Director John Clauson. “We are excited to roll out all of these changes that are coming. This is probably the nicest bus shelter we have in our entire operation.”

The new bus stop incorporates a translucent image of the cherished OC mosaic, “The Progression of Mankind,” which reflects onto the ground near the stop. The bus stop also includes artistic benches that match the aesthetic of adjacent buildings.

The incorporation of this new stop means students and staff will no longer have to cross State Route 303 to a bus stop on Warren Avenue at 16th Street for northbound trips or a pull-out stop on Warren Avenue at 15th Street for southbound trips. Kitsap Transit’s northbound bus will no longer block a lane of Warren Avenue to load passengers at 16th Street either.

Buses will be able to access OC Bremerton due in part to a recently completed project in partnership with the City of Bremerton. City crews moved a sidewalk at the northwest corner of Warren and 16th back to accommodate buses turning off Warren into the campus. The city also relocated utilities, storm drainage and the 16th Street traffic signal as part of the project.

“The City of Bremerton is strongly supportive of improving transit access for Olympic College students to increase safety as well as reduce traffic congestion,” Wheeler said. ” I applaud our City staff who worked to make these changes happen and are making it safer for students to get to classes.”

Later this summer, Kitsap Transit plans to open the Wheaton Way Transit Center in East Bremerton, about two miles north of the OC Bremerton campus. The transit center will be located next to a new Park & Ride lot, which will have approximately 160 stalls.

Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tshuey@soundpublishing.com.

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