New Kitsap Transit center means revised routes in Poulsbo

POULSBO — Unless you want to catch the Route 90 bus to Bainbridge Island, don’t use the old Kitsap Transit transfer center on Highway 305 at 8th Avenue.

Almost all of the bus traffic has been moved to the new transit center on Viking Way, and the old transit center is now just a stop for Route 90.

The glass panels on the two shelters are papered with a confusing array of letter-sized, laminated “rider alerts;” the one-time hub more closely resembles an abandoned church basement bulletin board than a bus stop.

“It’s too bad,” Councilwoman Connie Lord said. “We went to some effort to accommodate Kitsap Transit when we put it [the old Poulsbo transit center] in.”

Mayor Becky Erickson had good — and less-good — things to say about the new transit center and revised routes.

“I am happy for the new Viking Way transit center,” she said. “We have needed a really serious transit presence in that part of town … The new Edward Rose development is being planned as a ‘TOD’ — Transit Oriented Development.”

She said TODs like the Edward Rose project — proposed at Highway 305 and Bond Road — are designed around mass transit in order to lower costs and cut down on the number of personal vehicles on the road. That will hopefully help Poulsbo avoid Seattle-sized traffic jams as the city continues to grow.

But the mayor was less than pleased with the revised routes Kitsap Transit has introduced.

“I am not happy they cut two routes,” she said. She was particularly critical of the fact that Route 92 no longer goes directly to Suquamish; a transfer is now required.

Instead of fewer routes, she would have liked to see more — specifically, one that would go directly from the Viking Way transit center to Bremerton, connecting the two Olympic College campuses.

The second improvement would have been a “hub and spoke model” that would have gone through Poulsbo’s residential districts and augmented Route 44, the Poulsbo Central Route.

To have a good transit system that would cut down on automobile and parking congestion, Erickson would like everyone in town to be able to walk no more than four blocks to a bus stop and have to wait no more than 15 minutes for a bus.

This goal is increasingly important, as the mayor reported that it appears less transportation grant funds may be going to go to small Washington cities and towns in the future.

“The money for transportation [grants] is going through Seattle, not Olympia,” the mayor said. “When it comes to where people live, it’s always about transportation.”

New Kitsap Transit center means revised routes in Poulsbo