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Public can view State Route 104 realignment options Jan. 26
KINGSTON — Kingston’s humble Community Center building may someday be replaced by a sprawling traffic roundabout.
Kitsap County will float four options for rerouting traffic in downtown Kingston at a meeting Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., in the North Kitsap Fire and Rescue Station on Miller Bay Road.
All of the plans call for moving the eastbound lanes of State Route 104 a block north onto East 1st Street, currently used for unloading ferry traffic. Traffic could be regulated by a series of stoplights or a combination of stoplights and a roundabout at the corner of Main Street and East 1st Street, where the Community Center now sits. (See detailed proposals below).
Under the existing arrangement, eastbound ferry traffic lines up along Main Street en route to the ticketing booths. Moving the ticketing booths and ferry traffic away from Main Street will attract more walkers and shoppers to downtown, said Eric Schmidt, principal of Cascade Design Collaborative, the Bainbridge firm helping the county design the project.
“It will revitalize the downtown,” Schmidt said.
While improving pedestrian access, Kitsap County Public Works planner Greg Cioc cautioned the realignment will do little to address the long ferry waiting lines that plague the Kingston terminal in the summer. State Department of Transportation Planner George Kovich said he has given the county feedback on its early designs. The state’s first priority is to do no harm to the existing traffic flow on SR 104 Kovich said.
“If we can improve it, that’s great, but we don’t want to degrade service,” he said.
Kingston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Fyfe said she’s excited by the project’s potential.
“I think it’s a very positive thing and I hope the merchants get behind it so locals can really use the downtown again,” she said.
However, some Main Street business owners say having ferry traffic routed down Main Street brings much needed exposure to their shops. The traffic reroute could kill some businesses, Coffee Exchange owner Annemarie Olson told the Herald in December.
“If they do that we’re out of here,” she said. “This is a ferry town.”
The realignment plans are nothing new. The state Department of Transportation began planning a much more ambitious rerouting of SR 104 in the early 1990s. The project was never funded and the plans were lost in an office fire. Kitsap County unearthed the idea last year when it used $200,000 in leftover grant money to pay for a feasibility study and initial design work by Cascade Design.
Opponents of the plan can at least be assured it won’t happen soon. Cioc said the county doesn’t expect to have money in hand for construction until 2015 at the very earliest.
More pressing for the county is a proposal to change parking requirements for new development. Some Kingston developers are frustrated by the large amount of downtown property set aside to meet the county’s off-street parking requirements. Staff from the county’s Department of Community Development have created a series of parking alternatives that would relax the off-street parking requriement, said Scott Diener, manager of policy planning for DCD.
The options include on-street parking, shared parking between businesses and offsite employee parking.
Kitsap County will float four options for rerouting traffic in downtown Kingston at a meeting Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., in the North Kitsap Fire and Rescue Station.
The following are four options for realigning traffic in downtown Kingston, courtesy Kitsap County Public Works and Cascade Design Collaborative.