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Surveys will measure traffic frustration

"Are you satisfied with the road system in Silverdale?Should more funding go to making walking and biking more pleasant along central Silverdale streets?Is landscaping along roads an appropriate use of tax dollars?The Kitsap County Department of Public Works wants to know the answers to those and several other questions included in a four-page survey of Silverdale and Tracyton residents and business owners. The responses will help determine what road projects the county tackles in coming years.The initial wave of 500 surveys, directed toward the commercial core of Silverdale, is already in the mail. An additional 7,000 surveys will be distributed to the greater Silverdale area in coming weeks.A separate survey will examine traffic problems in Tracyton, according to Monty Mahan of Public Works. He said Public Works and the commissioners' office have received a flood of traffic complaints in that area, particularly on Tracyton Boulevard.Mahan, based on his experience with a similar public involvement project on the Bethel Road corridor in South Kitsap, is hoping to get 55 percent of the surveys back.When people don't return the surveys, we will follow up, maybe with phone calls and knocking on doors, Mahan said. I get the feeling that people in Silverdale are interested in solving some of our traffic problems, and may be willing to give some input.The county has $45 million in road improvements planned for the Silverdale area in the next five years, Mahan said. The surveys and meetings are intended to determine how area residents want that money spent.County officials hope to have information gathered from the surveys, along with data on road usage and accident frequency in the area, analyzed by September. They will then launch a series of small-group meetings with Silverdale and Tracyton residents to present options and come up with proposed traffic solutions.The Tracyton part of the project, focusing on traffic and speed on Tracyton Boulevard, will be accelerated, Mahan said.The commissioners office and our office have been receiving a number of complaints from Tracyton regarding speeds and traffic volumes. My guess is, we will fly through the Tracyton Boulevard process, Mahan said.Decisions on how to proceed with road improvements could be made as soon as the early months of 2001.The survey and meeting project, which is dubbed the Silverdale Area Mobility Project, comes on the heals of two other projects examining traffic. Both the Silverdale Urban Design Study and the Silverdale Access and Circulation Study were released within the past decade.The difference is, the contact with the public was very little (in the previous studies). There were a number of people who took part in SUDS ... but it's only been in recent years that our department has gotten interested in public involvement, because it's very difficult to do, Mahan said."

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