Transportation key component of Poulsbo’s Comp Plan

The Poulsbo Planning Commission went over the transportation portion of the 2024 Comprehensive Plan at its Oct. 25 meeting.

A recent online survey asked residents how their transportation trips might change in the future based on different kinds of investments. 81% of respondents use their personal vehicle to get around Poulsbo; 43% commute to work using a personal vehicle; 30% are retired; 20% work from home; and 13% walk.

Key takeaways from the survey include: more than half of all respondents indicated they would be willing to take more walk, bike and transit trips if improvements were made; a large share of respondents were interested in personal transportation devices, such as electric bikes, scooters, etc.; and driving will remain the primary mode for most respondents.

Regarding existing conditions, Poulsbo has 66.6 miles of streets and roadways. Roadways are classified by function and include highways, arterials, collectors and local roads, documents read. Highway 305 is the primary corridor providing north-south access in the city, while Highway 3 and Highway 307 provide important connections to nearby Kitsap communities. Currently, the city’s roadways generally serve drivers.

“There is a lack of traffic calming to address speeding issues that exist in some parts of the city,” documents state.

From 2018-22, the state Department of Transportation reported 19 crashes that involved people walking or bicycling out of 911 total crashes. Four bike/pedestrian crashes resulted in serious injury. Vehicle-only crashes occurred most frequently along Highways 3 and 305, Viking Avenue, Finn Hill Road, Lincoln Road and Hostmark Street. Opportunities to improve safety include: traffic calming, improved lighting, enhanced crossings and reduced speed limits.

For pedestrians, Poulsbo has 38.3 miles of sidewalks on the city’s arterial and collector road network. Additional sidewalks are present on some residential streets. Current issues include: sidewalks missing along Highway 305 north of Liberty Road; no pedestrian crossings of Highways 3 and 305 in some areas; pedestrian markings generally limited to marked crossings, which are often faded or not visible; narrow sidewalks and crosswalks with little/no physical protection from traffic; and pedestrian-scale light is deficient in many parts of the city, per documents.

Opportunities for improvement consist of: establish safe and continuous north-south pedestrian connection along Highway 305 corridor; increase separation from motor vehicles where possible; identify safe routes to schools opportunities; and complete sidewalk and pedestrian-scale lighting gaps.

Regarding bicycles, the city has 5.2 miles of bike lanes on arterials and collector street, limited to segments along Viking Avenue, Lincoln Road, portions of Highway 305 and Hostmark Street. Issues include few dedicated bicycle facilities throughout the city (existing routes not continuous and/or lack connections to key destinations) and Highways 3 and 305 are significant barriers to bicycle and pedestrian travel with few opportunities to safely cross. Opportunities to improve include identifying low-stress neighborhood streets and corridors parallel to major roads, and increase separation along major roadways where alternate corridors are not available.

For public transportation, Kitsap Transit is the primary provider in Poulsbo, operating seven bus lines within the city. Lack of transit access includes areas in the eastern part of the city, especially east of Caldart Avenue, and northwest of Highway 3. Opportunities include: improve walking and biking connections to transit stops; work with KT on potential transit investments on Highway 305 (KT has identified the Highway 305 corridor as future high-capacity transit corridor); improve travel times in the corridor, improve enforcement and support high-capacity transit development.

Highways 3 and 305 are the main freight corridors through Poulsbo, carrying between four to 10 million tons of freight annually, per documents. Other freight routes include portions of Lincoln Road, Viking Avenue and Finn Hill Road. Large trucks on roadways where pedestrians are frequently present can create safety problems. However, freight is necessary and often overlooked in designing complete streets, documents say.

The Growth Management Act transportation requirements are as follows: land use assumptions used for estimating travel demand; inventory of air, water and ground transportation facilities; level of service standards for all local and state transportation facilities; forecasts of traffic based on land use and growth projections; requirements for bringing transportation facilities that fall below level of service based upon forecast; financing analysis – 20 year and six year; demand management strategies; and pedestrian and bicycle component, city documents state.

The transportation requirements include all three elements of a GMA-compliant Comp Plan: goals and policies; capital facilities and financing; and maps/figures.

The Regional Transportation Plan helps implement the land use plan and policies established under VISION 2050 at the regional level, per documents. The transportation element helps implement the land use plan and policies established at the local level. Vision 2050 and RTP emphasize development of a multimodal transportation system that encourages walking, biking and transit; accommodates the movement of goods throughout the region and to people’s doors; and reduces dependence on driving alone.