The (Mutli-phase) Plan

Initial Line

The initial streetcar line (the Green Line) runs down the center of Highway 305, from the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal to the end of Highway 305 in Poulsbo in the College Park development.

Stops include all major intersections on the highway, including: the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal, High School Road, Madison, Manitou Beach, Koura, Day Road, Hidden Cove, Agate Pass / Seabold, the Casino, Hostmark, Lincoln, Bond, Viking, and College Park.


A set of double streetcar tracks is about the width of one and a quarter highway lanes, 18-20 feet wide. Adding a streetcar line thus widens the highway, but less than adding more automobile lanes or dedicated bus lanes.

Each intersection where the streetcar picks up and drops off passengers will require some additional width for “stations”, which can be as simple as raised and covered sidewalks.

In between the stops on 305, the streetcar tracks do not need to be paved. They can be laid on a gravel roadbed. Thus the center streetcar lane adds to the safety of the highway by forming a divider between northbound and southbound traffic.

Streetcar traffic in the center of the highway can easily be interfaced with automobile traffic. Streetcars stop at the same traffic lights as automobiles. Left turn lanes can be situated on the left side of the tracks to minimize interactions of streetcars and automobiles at the road intersections.

Pedestrians today must cross the highway when traveling by bus, whereas with the streetcars in the center of the highway, pedestrians must cross only one lane of traffic to reach the loading/unloading zone. Unless lights are added to the unregulated intersections, crossing the highway will remain an issue, but crossing one lane of highway traffic is far easier and safer than crossing two.


Streetcars do not require stations. Stops require only an additional 4-6 foot wide concrete sidewalk in between the tracks to allow entry and egress to the cars. Such stops are only slightly more obtrusive than bus stops.

Given the wet climate, these sidewalks should be covered. Details such as comfort must be taken into account to entice ridership.


Any new public transport solution on Highway 305 needs to include a plan for increased frequency. The existing Kitsap Transit 45-55 minute schedule works well with ferry riders, but it is inadequate to entice the 60% of highway traffic occupants who are not traveling on the ferry.

Ideally, the streetcar service would run every 10-15 minutes. This makes the average wait 5-7 minutes. This can be achieved by using small streetcars most of the time, and then adding more, larger streetcars to handle the peak ferry loads.

The stretch of Highway 305 to be serviced with a streetcar is 15 miles long, from the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal to College Park in Poulsbo. At a top speed of 45 miles per hour and an average of 30 miles per hour including traffic lights, loading, unloading, and intermediate stops, a single streetcar can traverse the entire line in 30-40 minutes. Thus five streetcars are sufficient to provide service every 15 minutes. A handful of additional cars synchronized with the ferry schedule would lower the average frequency between streetcars to 10 minutes during peak commuting times.

Feeder Routers

The streetcar line can be used to get passengers to more rural bus routes, as well. Today, nearly all of Kitsap Transit bus routes begin and end at the Bainbridge or Kingston or Bremerton Ferry Terminals. For the Highway 305 corridor, having a streetcar line makes it possible to move those bus stops out to the streetcar stops along the highway.

What this means is that we can have bus routes to more locations on the island, and so much more coverage, using the same number of buses and drivers. Instead of all bus routes starting and ending at the ferry (and thus being constrained in how far out they can travel before they must return to the ferry), buses will be free to run loops starting and ending at streetcar stations on Highway 305, such as Day Road, for example, and travel all around the north island neighborhoods. Ferry commuters could take the streetcar to the bus, and the bus to their front door.

The feeder buses thus become neighborhood transport systems. Shorter routes bypass the highway traffic entirely, further unclogging the highway while expanding access of public transit deeper into the outlying neighborhoods. A drawback might be more connections for commuters, but this is outweighed by a much shorter travel time overall.

A similar system is used successfully in Tokyo’s train system to maximize the coverage of the transportation network across that large city.


The City of Bainbridge Island has a moratorium on new park-and-ride lots. At a minimum, the most popular stops for the streetcar should have free bicycle, scooter, and motorcycle parking. Such parking is well-used at the Bainbridge ferry terminal and can be used, in addition to the feeder bus routes, to increase streetcar ridership.

Additionally, Bainbridge and Poulsbo should consider additional car park-and-ride lots to further entice riders to ride the streetcar line. Ideally, there would be a park-and-ride at each of the stops along Highway 305, compared with just three intersections today (Day Road, Agate Pass Bridge, and Hostmark). This would allow the maximum number of riders to conveniently reach the streetcar line, minimizing the traffic traveling to and from existing park-and-ride lots.

Expansion Plan

Beyond the Highway 305 corridor, only a few neighborhoods merit a second street line at this moment in time. Expected population growth could change this, making transit access indispensable in the next 20-50 years. But suppose the population growth is moderate. Streetcars could be added as needed, and no sooner. A streetcar is the perfect quaint, affordable, and expandable solution.

A streetcar line, built within the existing city streets, could loop from the ferry terminal, across Winslow Way, up Madison, and back down the highway.

This “Blue Line” loop would service the vast majority of Winslow residents’ needs in reaching the central business district and ferry terminal, and allow riders coming down the main “Green Line” to reach the commercial districts of Winslow.

This latter point is crucial, since the majority of highway traffic is due to commuters coming to work at island businesses, teaching at the schools, policing the neighborhood, etc., and not riding the ferry.

As streetcar tracks can lie in existing roads, this line would not require any widening of streets. And since the Blue line is a one-way loop, tracks need to be installed only on the westbound lane on Winslow Way, northbound lane on Madison, and reusing the tracks on Highway 305 to complete the loop.

After Winslow, Lynwood Center is the next logical neighborhood for future expansion. Kitsap Transit currently provides no frequent, reliable bus service around Lynwood, making it difficult to travel there without a car.   Like the Winslow loop, the “Orange Line” to Lynwood could be built in the existing roads, without adding any additional lanes. The Orange line would reuse part of the Winslow loop, branching off to Lynwood Center across Wyatt, around the Head of the Bay, and down Lynwood Center Road.

With this line, Lynwood could become a transit hub, with feeder bus routes extending to Crystal Springs, Pleasant Beach, and Fort Ward. Plus, given the simplicity of stepping on and off a streetcar, the neighborhoods along this line between Winslow and Lynwood would also be part of this line, similarly to how Kitsap Transit picks up and drops off passengers as needed along the bus routes today.

A Suquamish line, from the Agate Pass Bridge to the town of Suquamish, continued onward to Indianola Road and ending at the Kingston Ferry Terminal should be feasible as the population of North Kitsap expands. Such a line would connect these communities to Seattle with a known, reliable, and reasonable commute time, bypassing the traffic on Highway 305, and providing hourly passenger ferry service to Seattle via the existing Bainbridge ferry.

These four lines could cover the vast majority of North Kitsap County with a reliable form of public transit, with sufficiently frequent service to entice riders out of their cars.

This might look like a subway map, but remember these are small streetcars, where riders can hop on and off on their way to rural destinations. Unlike lightrail or four-lane highways, streetcars could enhance the ambiance and livability of our community, not undermine it.

Other Benefits

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