North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

Celebrating Kingston fast-ferry service

Fast Ferry Launch

Commissioner Gelder was pleased to be part of the November ribbon-cutting celebration for the newest fast-ferry service from Kingston to downtown Seattle. Local officials, including Governor Jay Inslee, and members of the public enjoyed a special preview ride. The first official run was at 5:25 a.m. November 26, 2018. Ridership was free through December, which hopefully enticed a lot of people to check out the new service.

The fast-ferry winter schedule includes three round trips in the morning and three in the afternoon. The 7:05 a.m. boat to Seattle and the 5:05 p.m. route back to Kingston are the most popular sailings. The summer schedule is planned to add evening and Saturday sailings.

Unlike the Bremerton fast ferry, the Kingston route does not use a reservation system, due in part to the larger capacity of the route’s vessel, the M/V Finest, which can hold up to 350 passengers when fully staffed. For now, Kitsap Transit is opting to keep the passenger count and staffing lower but as ridership grows, there is the ability to expand capacity.

For more information about the fast-ferry service, including connection times with bus routes and park & ride lots, and to sign up to receive rider alerts, visit Kitsap Transit’s ferry program page here.

Fast Ferry Ribbon-cutting

2019 legislative priorities


Each year, County Commissioners set priorities for legislation in Olympia. The county hires a consulting lobbyist to monitor bills that are introduced and under consideration, and to advocate for or against them, depending on their impacts on the county and local taxpayers. Commissioner Gelder, through his position as the Vice President of the Washington State Association of Counties, monitors legislation and advocates for all Washington counties.

An overriding goal is to avoid “unfunded mandates,” which are new laws requiring counties to spend additional funding to comply. In these cases, the state doesn’t provide additional funding to implement the new laws. A good example of this is a mandate to increase the number of ballot drop boxes counties are required to install. The county had to absorb the cost of purchasing the drop boxes, installing and maintaining them, and hiring extra help to make the rounds to empty the ballot boxes during elections.

Goals for the County Commissioners in Olympia this year include:

  • Support efforts to diversify Kitsap’s economy and grow local jobs
  • Support transportation funding to sustain ferries and highways, while providing needed investments on local roads and transit
  • Support Growth Management Act reforms that provide certainty and reduce costs to counties
  • Support the state’s commitments to long-term fiscal sustainability of counties
  • Support legislation that reduces and controls costs for counties
  • Support efforts that provide revenue flexibility and new revenue options
  • Support affordable housing and reducing homelessness
  • Capital budget requests including $125,000 to restore the historic fishing pier at Norwegian Point Park in Hansville

Kitsap Transit route changes coming in March

Kitsap Transit

In 2017, Kitsap Transit hired a Seattle consulting firm, Nelson Nygaard, to analyze current bus routes and make recommendations on how to improve them to better serve the public need. After an extensive public outreach process, and analysis of current ridership patterns and projected population growth, the consultants provided the Kitsap Transit Board with proposed service changes that improve connectivity between regional centers and between local centers and ferry terminals.

Better coordinated bus routes countywide
The first phase of these improvements will be implemented March 10 and focus on bus route service between Silverdale and Bremerton. New routes were also added to provide coordinated service to the Seattle fast ferries in Bremerton and Kingston. Several routes will be streamlined, cutting off out-of-the-way loops that weren’t heavily used by riders. The frequency of buses will be increased along several routes – so instead of every hour, buses will arrive every 30 minutes, which should significantly cut down travel time for riders.

Kitsap Transit is also simplifying its route numbering system, adding a digit in front of the route to indicate what part of the county the route serves. North Kitsap routes will be in the 300s, Central in the 200s and South Kitsap in 100s.

New bus service to Kingston
New bus routes got up and running last November to get fast-ferry commuters to the Kingston terminal and coordinate routes. Bus options to get to ferry terminal at the Kingston Marina include:

  • Route 302 - Shuttles commuters from Suquamish and Indianola to the Kingston ferry terminal, with stops at Highway 305 and Suquamish Way, the Suquamish Park & Ride, Indianola Clubhouse and Bayside Church Park & Ride.
  • Route 307 - Starts at the North Viking Transit Center and heads directly to Kingston with one stop at the George’s Corner Park & Ride, dropping riders off at the ferry about 15 minutes before it departs for Seattle.
  • Route 1 - Provides service from the North Viking Transit Center to the Bremerton Transportation Center for sailings of the Bremerton fast ferry.

For more information on the new routes, daily sailing schedules and help to plan your trip or commute, visit .

Commissioner Gelder elected to leadership position for Washington State Association of Counties


Commissioner Gelder was recently elected as First Vice-President of the Washington State Association of Counties for 2018-2019 and will step up as President in the top leadership role in 2019-2020. The Washington State Association of Counties has served as the collective voice of Washington's counties for over 100 years and provides training, legislative advocacy and a forum to build a statewide county legislative agenda. WSAC members include county commissioners, council members and executives from all of Washington's 39 counties.

"It's my great honor to serve as the First Vice-President," said Commissioner Gelder. "As a subdivision of the state, counties play a unique role in the provision of services and programs to our local communities, often on behalf of the state.

"It is vital to maintain a strong voice of advocacy in Olympia and Washington, DC for adequate funding for infrastructure (roads, fish passage barrier removal), trial court public defense, and foundational public health services," he noted. "In addition, it's important to challenge new state-mandated services that shift the burden of funding onto the backs of local residents and taxpayers."

WSAC is governed by a board of directors led by the executive committee. Each year, county representatives elect officers for the following year. For more information on WSAC, visit

“Commissioner’s Corner” focuses on North Kitsap High School Agriculture Program

Commissioner Gelder’s most recent “Commissioner’s Corner,” a half-hour television program produced and aired on the Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television (BKAT) local public access, is available for viewing. This episode focuses on the agriculture and greenhouse program in Ellie Rider’s North Kitsap High School classes. It can be viewed here.

The previous episode focuses on Kitsap Transit and a discussion with Executive Director John Clauson on the new fast ferry and bus service. It can be viewed at  

Staying safe in winter weather

Salt brine application truck

In light of recent winter storm activity, we wanted to share with you how roads are handled in winter weather. Black ice and slippery roads are less of an issue than they were a decade ago. That is because Kitsap County uses a preventive tool that keeps snow, ice and frost from adhering to pavement: salt brine. You may notice the tell-tale stripes that appear on the roads after an application of the mixture. While there is no specific information on Kitsap County’s accident rate due to black ice, studies have shown that using a salt brine application can decrease accidents by up to 88 percent, and injuries and financial costs by 85 percent.

Kitsap County buys rock salt and stores it at each of its three road maintenance shops. The salt then gets mixed with water to create a 23 percent salt mixture that is stored in large tanks. The mixture is then applied to the major roads to prevent ice, snow and frost from bonding with the pavement. The mixture also helps break up accumulating snow, so plowing is more effective.

During snow events, our county crews from the Department of Public Works prioritize plowing schedules based on our snow and ice control policy. A map showing the prioritized county roads is available here. Priority 1 roads are main connector routes that get people to where they need to go – hospitals, schools, commercial centers – and they are plowed within 36 hours of a storm event.

Priority 2 roads help motorists get to the Priority 1 routes. They are plowed 36 to 72 hours after a snow event. The remainder of the roads may or may not get plowed, depending on the condition of the higher priority roads.

Residents of Western Washington are often warned to be prepared for a catastrophic earthquake. We should also be prepared for winter weather, both in our cars and at home. Food and battery supplies should be sufficient to last for at least three days. Cars should be equipped with the proper tires, chains, and an ice scraper. Drivers should also have boots, warm clothes and flashlights accessible in the car, and keep fuel levels above a half of a tank. For more information on being prepared, visit the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management website at

To sign up to receive e-mail or text message notifications about inclement weather and related road closures, visit our site here. To sign up to receive emergency alerts and community notifications, visit our Department of Emergency Management website here.

New signs on Hood Canal Drive

After a traffic study confirmed complaints about speeding traffic along Hood Canal Drive, Kitsap County Public Works installed new signage that remind drivers of the speed limit with flashing white lights that remain activated until the vehicle passes. Rather than informing drivers of their actual speed, these new signs remind them of the speed limit, regardless of what speed the vehicle is traveling.

Another speed study will be conducted after the signs have been up for a while to gauge whether they are helping people follow the speed limit. If the signs work at slowing traffic, they may be installed in other neighborhoods. For more information, contact Jeff Shea, Public Works traffic engineer, at (360) 337-5777 or

Flashing speed limit signs

Saying Farewell


Caption: Kitsap County’s Elected officials (without the judges). From left: Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, Commissioner Ed Wolfe, Treasurer Meredith Green, Commissioner Rob Gelder, newly elected Auditor Paul Andrews, Assessor Phil Cook, outgoing Prosecutor Tina Robinson, outgoing Coroner Greg Sandstrom, and outgoing Auditor Dolores Gilmore.

When 2018 wrapped up, it was the end of an era for three elected officials who decided not to run for re-election last November: Auditor Delores Gilmore, Coroner Greg Sandstrom and Prosecutor Tina Robinson. At a reception December 10, other elected officials and county employees thanked them for their public service and acknowledged their many years of service. We wish them well as they head out on their new adventures.

There was also a retirement ceremony the end of last year for Titan, a K9 officer with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. Titan worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 6 ½ years and is credited with over 100 arrests. County Commissioners recognized his service and provided him with retirement treats at their meeting December 10. He will live out his golden years with his handler, Deputy Joe Hedstrom.

Titans Retirement

Upcoming Walk & Talks with Commissioner Gelder

Anyone looking for a chance to talk about county issues with Commissioner Gelder is welcome to join him on his monthly Walk & Talk on the first Saturday of each month. Kingston is the meeting point in February. There won’t be a walk in March, but it returns in April, launching in Keyport. If you have ideas, compliments, or complaints, or just want to hear what the Commissioner has been up to, he would love to have you join him. The walks start at 9:30 a.m. sharp:

  • April 6 – Keyport Mercantile – 15499 Washington Ave
  • May 4 – Indianola General Store – 9175 NE Shore Drive

For more information, contact Commissioner Gelder at (360) 337-7080,, or click here for a Walk & Talk flyer.

Walk and Talk

Keyport MLK Celebration

Caption: Commissioner Gelder (right) is joined by (l to r) Gene Warden, Port of Keyport Commissioner and Keyport Improvement Club President, Central Kitsap Commissioner Ed Wolfe and South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido at the Keyport Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration in January.