North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

District 1 Commissioner Newsletter

April is National County Government Month

I Heart Kitsap

Kitsap County joins Washington’s 39 counties and 3,030 others around the country in celebrating National County Government Month. The mission is to inspire pride across the country, with the goal of getting county officials, legislators, local leaders and the general public to show their appreciation for county government and highlight the good work that they do. The theme for this year’s National County Government Month is “Connecting the Unconnected,” demonstrating how counties deliver people-centered services and connect communities.

Commissioner Rob Gelder serves as Vice-President of the Washington State Association of Counties, which is helping promote National County Government Month in our state. He joined Auditor Paul Andrews and Commissioners Garrido and Wolfe in sporting “I ♥ Kitsap County” socks to celebrate. Look for the hashtags #IHeartWACounties, #IHeartKitsapCounty and #NCGM on your favorite social media platform.

Highway 104 in Kingston


Commissioner Gelder put together the Highway 104 Working group two years ago that includes Kingston community members and representatives from state and county agencies, including Washington State Ferries, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol, to find solutions to traffic problems in downtown Kingston.

Traffic headed toward the ferry dock on State Route 104 may be backed up for long periods of time from the ferry terminal past Lindvog Road, essentially paralyzing movement, blocking local traffic from circulating and preventing people from getting to local businesses. What was once a problem that mostly occurred on weekends in the summer has expanded to impact the community from spring through fall many days of the week.

The working group brainstormed both short- and long-term solutions for the traffic problems. Long-term goals are to reroute both incoming and outgoing ferry traffic to First Street, which are currently the exit lanes for the ferry. Preliminary engineering is underway on the reroute.The County will be applying  for $1.6 million from Puget Sound Regional Council's Rural Town Center program to fund the right-of-way acquisitions needed to widen the road. 

Planning is also underway to create a second holding lot for ferry traffic on land the Department of Transportation and Kitsap County owns at the corner of Highway 104 and Lindvog Road. The holding lot will be used to keep traffic from lining up downtown. Currently, a tally system is in place but requires Washington State Patrol to manage it. The backups occur when WSP is not present and vehicles continue through town to the ferry tollbooths, even though the terminal holding lot is already full. Holding the ferry traffic out of downtown allows local traffic to circulate and visitors to access local businesses.

Though engineering plans and cost estimates for the new holding lot and rerouting of Highway 104 are being created, the projects are still years away from completion. At the most recent meeting of the Highway 104 Working Group, short-term solutions to alleviating traffic problems were explored. The Washington State Patrol tally (or boarding pass) system that holds traffic at Lindvog Road until space is available for cars at the terminal lot is not always implemented when traffic begins to back up because the agency has other homeland security duties to respond to and budget constraints of their own.

Commissioner Gelder asked the 23rd legislative delegation for funding assistance to cover the costs of WSP staffing for traffic control in Kingston. Senator Christine Rolfes included a budget proviso in the Ferry operating budget to assist with more traffic control during the peak season. 

The working group also proposed placing a camera on a tollbooth, which allows a view up Main Street for those who want to see current traffic conditions to the ferry terminal and access to downtown. View the new camera at .

Washington Boulevard construction

Washington Blvd

Speaking of construction in Kingston, the Washington Boulevard corridor project in downtown Kingston is on track to break ground this fall. The $1.86 million in improvements include construction of pedestrian and bicycle enhancements from State Route 104 to Central Avenue, accessibility ramps, lighting, sidewalks and stormwater controls. A contractor will be selected this summer via a standard bidding process. Work will take about six months and avoid the busy tourist and travel season. For more information, visit .

Commissioner Gelder visits unique Styrofoam recycling facility

Commissioner Gelder recently had the opportunity to accompany staff from Kitsap County Public Works Solid Waste Division, along with members of the Poulsbo Rotary, on a visit to Styro Recycle in Kent. The unique facility recycles stryofoam products into a reusable product that can then be made into new reusable plastic items. Demand is high for the recycled product, which allows Styro Recycle to accept materials for no charge.

Founder Marilyn Lauderdale is a former IKEA employee, who saw a need for recycling foam materials while she worked there. She initially set up recycling machinery in IKEA’s warehouse, until the operation outgrew the location. For more information on this innovative business, visit .

Styrofoam collected during Kitsap County’s semi-annual STYRO-Roundups, where citizens can drop off Styrofoam, is taken to Stryo Recycle. The next STYRO-Roundup is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 27, at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Sheep Barn, 1195 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton. All material must be clean, dry and free of tape and labels. To learn more about the event and how to recycle other items, visit .

STYRO Recycle center

Machinery at STYRO Recycle that converts styrofoam into a more dense product for reuse.

STYRO finished product

Pallets of the finished product await shipment.

Proposed changes on State Route 305

After a process involving state and county agencies, Kitsap Transit, the cities of Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island, and the Suquamish Tribe, a plan was developed to help improve safety and ease congestion on Highway 305 between Poulsbo and the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. The Washington State Department of Transportation hosted a series of information sessions earlier this month in Suquamish, Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo.

The proposed improvements were designed to reduce accidents and travel times through the busy corridor. The concept includes seven roundabouts between Poulsbo’s Hostmark Street and the Bainbridge ferry terminal, and other traffic improvements, including blocking access points to Highway 305 from several adjacent roads that can be accessed without driving on the highway.

Potential roundabout locations include:

  • Johnson Road in Poulsbo
  • Totten Road in Suquamish
  • Sandy Hood Road in Suquamish
  • Suquamish Way in Suquamish
  • Adas Will Lane on Bainbridge Island
  • West Port Madison Rod on Bainbridge Island
  • Day Road on Bainbridge Island

As intersections are improved, undersized culverts and other fish passage blockages will also be removed from Highway 305 at Murden Creek, Klebeal Creek and Sam Snyder Creek.WSDOT is currently taking public feedback on the proposal and will complete design, environmental permitting and right-of-way acquisition. The project is expected to begin construction in 2020. To learn more and submit comments, visit. .

Hwy 305 roundabout map

Helpful new apps

Test it

Help measure broadband connectivity

Earlier this month, an application called TestIT was launched to collect accurate data about broadband connectivity. Previously, data on broadband speeds and connectivity are provided by the companies and utilities that supply broadband. That data is often inaccurate and inflated, which leaves some communities disconnected.

The TestIT app can be installed on any iPhone or Android device for free and is available in the app stores. It runs a test to gauge broadband speed from any location. It will tell the user the download and upload speeds, whether they meet required minimums speeds, and if those figures are above or below average.

Each test result is sent to a national database that is analyzed and shared with the Federal Communications Commission, the agency in charge of monitoring and regulating broadband. The more people that use the app in more locations, the better the data, which will hopefully lead to better connectivity for everyone. The TestIT app is sponsored by the National Association of Counties, which partnered with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.


Use SeeClickFix to report road issues and requests for service

Kitsap County residents can download the SeeClickFix application to quickly report non-emergency maintenance issues to Kitsap County. During the February snowstorm, over 600 plowing and other requests came in from the app, which can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device or accessed from a computer.

If you see a streetlight that’s not working, a sign that needs replacing (unless it’s a stop sign – call 911 for those), or a pothole that needs paving, give SeeClickFix a try. Or, you can always report a problem through Kitsap 1 at or (360 )337-5777.

Washington explores road usage charge

Washington state is exploring alternatives to the traditional gas tax for funding road and bridge projects. The gas tax is currently $0.49 per gallon. As cars become more fuel efficient and electric and hybrid cars are more common, gas tax revenues decline. At the same time, costs of road projects continue to rise. With less funds available, state and local transportation agencies are having to cut down on the number of projects.

One option being explored to gather more funding is a road usage charge (RUC). An RUC is a per-mile charge drivers would pay based on how many miles they drive, rather than how much gas is purchased. Commissioner Gelder was one of nearly 5,000 volunteers that tracked his mileage during the pilot project, using a rate of 2.4 cents per mile. State officials are analyzing results and will present a report to the governor, state legislature and US Department of Transportation in 2020. For more information, visit .

Road usage charge logo

Upcoming Walk & Talks with Commissioner Gelder

Walk and Talk

Anyone looking for a chance to talk about county issues with Commissioner Gelder is welcome to join him on his monthly Walk & Talk sessions the first Saturday of each month to share ideas, compliments, or complaints, or to hear what the commissioner has been up to. The walks start at 9:30 a.m.

  • May 4 – Indianola General Store – 9175 NE Shore Drive
  • June 1 – Kingston Office – 26076 Illinois Avenue
  • July 6 – Suquamish Pier – 7235 NE Parkway Street

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

Prescription drug discounts available for Kitsap County residents

Live Healthy Logo

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has a program to help citizens of its member counties (including Kitsap) save money on healthcare costs. Administered by CVS Caremark, the NACo Live Healthy Prescription, Health & Dental Discount Program provides 15- to 50-percent discounts on a variety of prescription drugs, dental care and medical services.

The prescription program provides an average savings of 32 percent on thousands of medications. There are 42 participating pharmacies in Kitsap County, and 68,000 pharmacies nationwide. The dental program helps people who are not insured but can also complement insurance plans or work with health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts. While the prescription program is free, the medical and dental programs have a small charge of $69 per year for individuals or $79 per year for families. Visit to find out if one of these programs would be a good fit for you and your family.

Check out Commissioner Gelder’s Latest “Commissioner’s Corner”

Commissioner Gelder’s most recent “Commissioner’s Corner,” a half-hour television program produced and aired on the Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television (BKAT), our local public access station, is available for viewing. This episode focuses on the agriculture and greenhouse program at North Kitsap High School and features interviews with teacher Ellie Rider and a few students. The episode can be viewed at here.

The next episode, coming soon, will highlight the Sewer Utility Division of the Kitsap County’s Public Works Department.

Treatment Plant

Dennis Graham, Maintenance Supervisor and Matt Pickering, Lab Supervisor, explain the processes at the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant to Commissioner Gelder and Michael Spencer.

Treatment Plant sampling

Commissioner Gelder takes a water sample from an aeration tank at the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant, under the watchful eye of Matt Pickering, Lab Supervisor at the plant, while Michael Spencer of Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television (BKAT) films.