New route proposed for Pedestrian Pathway

Olsen and Associates is still going forward with building Port Orchard’s preferred alternative for the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway, but several of the project’s key decision-makers see switching to a new plan as an almost foregone conclusion.

“I hated alternative No. 1,” said City Councilman Jerry Childs, who chairs the city’s economic development and tourism committee. “It was unsafe.

“I’d rather not have a trail,” he said, “than have alternative No. 1.”

Alternative No. 1 would also cost the city about $200,000 more than the new alternative he’s proposing, which is actually alternative No. 4.

But it allowed the city to avoid working with the Port of Bremerton’s commissioners, who opposed early efforts by the city to create a pathway that went through the port’s land.

More recently, however, relations between the city and port have thawed, said Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola.

“We had some things we had to work through with the port,” he said, “I think thing are going pretty well.”

Port of Bremerton Commissioner Larry Stokes said he’d strongly support the city’s proposal if the council opts to back the new alternative.

“We have the two houses there on the waterfront,” Stokes said. “What I would like to see is those two houses razed to increase the size of the park when they do the trail. It would be a perfect time to coordinate those two projects together.

“There would probably be cost and time savings in there,” he said.

When Stokes served as a Port of Bremerton’s commissioner in the 1980s, he said, there were two houses where the park is now.

Those were demolished them to build the park.

The port’s commissioners were also concerned the initial alternatives for the pathway were unsafe because the project was envisioned as a facility for both pedestrian and bicycle use, but run through a children’s play area.

Childs said those concerns were legitimate, and the pathway was redesigned to avoid the playground.

“The design that Jerry Childs came up with would probably be acceptable to the port commission,” said Stokes.

Port Orchard’s City Council considered, at a meeting on Jan. 25, instructing Olson and Associates to stop working on alternative No. 1 for the pathway.

They decided not to, however, and went forward with Alternative No. 1.

Several council members said at the time they’d prefer a different alternative if the Port of Bremerton agreed.

And Childs says that this is the sort of realistic, cost-effective alternative the city council would approve.

“This rendering,” Childs said, “seems pretty doable by the engineers and everyone involved.”

Port Orchard’s City Council and the Port of Bremerton’s commissioners plan to meet at 5 p.m. on Jan. 15 to walk together along the site for the new, proposed pathway.

At 7 that night, they plan to meet for a joint work-study session and discuss it further.

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