It’s electric – here, there and everywhere.
Electric-run transportation was a key topic at a recent Sustainable Transportation Task Force online meeting.
John Clauson of Kitsap Transit said they will have an electric bus by the end of the year, with another up to five more in the next few years. He added the buses are being made smaller, not just 40 footers. In another move to lower its carbon footprint, Kitsap Transit is changing some buses from diesel to propane. He also mentioned the development of an electric high-speed, passenger-only ferry.
To keep those vehicles moving, he said charging stations are being built in Winslow and Poulsbo. Clauson also said the bike barn at Winslow is being expanded and remodeled and should open soon.
Andy Wappler of Puget Sound Energy said it will be easier to get electric charging stations at your business or home. He said there are three in Bainbridge Island now with a plan for up to eight, including at least one downtown, in the next two years.
Others brought up different plans.
Carmen Bendixen of the state ferry system said they are doing now just the opposite of what they hope to do in the future. Now people are encouraged to drive on and stay in their cars because of COVID-19. But in the future they are going to emphasize walking or biking onto the ferries.
Kevin Bartoy, also of the ferry system, said they plan to reduce waste and greenhouse gas. He also said they have solar panels, and when electric ferries are available Bainbridge Island will be one of the first routes.
Tamela Van Winkle, representing schools, said they also are doing the opposite of what they hope to do in the future. They are asking parents to drive their kids to and from school. On the bus students must wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and the windows are down, but some parents are still concerned. Another option is for parents to walk their kids to school.
In the future, she said the city should encourage walking by constructing more sidewalks and paths.
“We need safe paths for kiddos,” she said.
Perry Barrett of parks said their plan includes partnering with others to connect as many trails as possible.
Matthew Pahs of the state department of transporation said their plan encourages alternative transportation.
Consultant Jennifer Wieland said while there are many big things that can be done the smaller things can add up, such as charging kids only $1 to ride the bus to encourage ridership. She ended the meeting say they are finishing up getting public input then they can set their final goals, look for gap analysis, come up with preliminary projects and then refine it.
The deadline to be part of the survey has been extended. To participate go to www.sustainabletransportationbi.com
In 2019, the City Council expressed support in providing a transportation system (streets, transit, trails, etc.) that improves mobility and safety while respecting the character of neighborhoods and maintaining a climate resilient environment. The initiative will establish the long-range vision for how people travel on the island. In addition, it will result in a transportation system that supports the city’s upcoming Climate Action Plan: to reduce carbon emissions on Bainbridge Island by 90% by 2045.
Additional goals identified by the council include: