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"Bike path would link Silverdale, Bangor"

"Just off of Schold Road, the start of a dirt path begins to wend its way into the wilderness.Eventually, the rustic path - little more now than a beaten clearing where the blackberry brambles and grasses that went to seed in the sun have been cut away - will be paved or lined with boardwalk planks for bicyclists and pedestrians.County administrators are seeking a federal Statewide Transportation Enhance-ment Grant to continue developing the Clear Creek Bike Trail. The deadline for the grant application is Aug. 25. The STEP grant provides funding for projects that work to remove people from single-occupancy vehicles and promote better transportation practices. Projects that include separate bike trails seem to be the ones that are getting grant funding, said County Commissioner Tim Botkin.County Public Works and SCA, an independent engineering consulting firm based out of Olympia, recently completed a draft of the trail development plans, outlining the project from the intersection of Waaga Way and Silverdale Way, where the trail will originate, back to and across Schold Road. The trail will run adjacent to farm property and the old Haselwood barn before crossing Trigger Avenue to its terminus at the Bangor gate. A finalized version of the draft will be submitted as the application for the grant.Tex Lewis, volunteer coordinator for the Clear Creek Task Force, said there was a generally positive community reaction to the trail development, though he said some people were concerned because the cost seemed pretty high.The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $1.1 million. County administrators will ask in the grant application for 82 percent of the total project cost, Botkin said.The trail is being presented as a potential commuter route from Ridgetop to the retail zone of the Kitsap Mall, which employs about 1,500 people, and Bangor, which employs about 11,000 people.The newly opened Harrison-Silverdale's 110 employees could also bike to work on the trail.In addition, Bangor's 5,100 residents and Ridgetop's 5,400 residents could use the trail recreationally, or to get to shopping and movies in the retail area.Three senior housing facilities near Ridgetop employ about 200 people who could use the trails to commute. Residents in the independent and assisted living facilities and some in the recovery facility could use the trail for walking, according to the study.Walkers and joggers also could exercise on the trail. Even if people don't use the trail specifically to get to and from work, some might use it for short trips into the commercial section of Silverdale, rather than driving. I'm sure some people will commute, or just use the trail to get from Bangor to Silverdale. I'm absolutely convinced the bike trail will get a lot of use, Botkin said. "

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