Kitsap Transit, mall still hope for a compromise

Kitsap Transit has re-routed seven buses to avoid the Kitsap Mall, creating a new system of bus stops that’s “kind of confusing,” concedes Gayle Thomson, a deputy clerk for Kitsap Transit.

“The drivers will have to explain everything to people.

“But it’s an interim step,” she said, “since we lost our place at the mall.”

Management at the Kitsap Mall gave Kitsap Transit notice, in mid-November, that it could no longer use the mall’s parking lot as a transfer station.

After that, Kitsap Transit technically had 90 days to leave, according to an agreement between the two groups, putting the agency’s last day in mid-February.

The mall’s managers, however, gave Kitsap Transit until the end of February to leave.

“Today, we can drop (passengers) off at one of the mall’s entrances,” said John Clauson, Kitsap Transit’s service development director and a Port Orchard city councilman. “Tomorrow, they’ll be dropped off at one of the streets surrounding the mall.”

The move may make the trip more difficult for those destined for the mall or another bus route.

“This is a major transfer point for our system,” Clauson said. “We have to find an alternative site for that function to take place.”

Kitsap Transit has set up a temporary transfer point near on Randal Way, at a public right-of-way with approved stop locations, about a quarter mile from the mall.

Buses will also stop at other locations on streets around the mall until Kitsap Transit can find a better location.

Ideally, officials would like to move back onto the mall’s property.

“We are in discussions with the mall management to determine an acceptable location within their property,” said Clauson. “We looked at five potential locations, one of which the mall suggested.”

But, Clauson cautioned, he has “no idea how long it will be until they implement a new plan.”

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