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City hears transportation comments — Six-year, $35m transportation 'wish list' includes Wheaton, Warren fixes

The Bremerton City Council is expected to hear public comments on the city’s Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan Wednesday during a planned hearing on the issue.

Required by the federal government, the plan is a “wish list” that includes projects of both high and low priority, said Gunnar Fridriksson, a city engineer. Despite being labeled a plan, Fridriksson said, the projects are unfunded, and at least some of them are not expected to receive funds any time soon.

Other projects on the list, however, were more likely to become reality, Fridriksson said, including a much-discussed trail from Sinclair to Gorst.

Before the city may apply for federal funds for any transportation project, Fridriksson said, that project must be listed on the Transportation Improvement Plan. After listing, the city may go ahead and and apply for federal funds for a project, or it may not.

Federal funds include criteria for eligible projects, Fridriksson said, so whether the city ever actually submits a project depends largely on whether funding is found that looks like it matches that project. Projects in the plan aren’t even ranked or ordered according to preference, Fridriksson said.

“STIP is the big picture. It doesn’t get into the nuts and bolts. It’s big picture thinking,” Fridriksson said. “It is a wish list. A dream.”

Despite its name, the law requires a new version of the plan every year, Fridriksson said.

In past years, the preference of the federal government has largely determined what has been funded, Fridriksson said.

Based on feedback, Fridriksson said federal authorities currently seem to prefer projects that accommodate not only cars but pedestrians, buses and cyclists.

Improvements to the Wheaton Way corridor are high on the city’s wish list, Fridriksson said. Because the upgrade is focused on making the section more pedestrian-friendly, including streetlight and sidewalk improvements, and possibly a bike lane, Fridriksson said he thought funding for the plan was likely.

Some projects on the list are slated to break ground in the first half of 2012, while others have been on the list for decades and will likely stay there for some time, Fridriksson said.

Other projects have sat on the list for years, or even decades, without ever finding funds. Improvements to Arsenal Way at Patten Avenue have been on the list since 1986, Fridriksson said.

Fridriksson said improvements to Pacific Avenue from Sixth Street to Evergreen Park and to the intersection of Warren Avenue and 11th Street were also likely. Both include improvements to sidewalks. The Wheaton Avenue upgrade would include a new signal and extended turn lanes at the intersection.

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