Downtown Port Orchard is an older district that has been stagnating for decades. However, its waterfront location presents a huge opportunity for redevelopment. With the expectation of a new South Kitsap Community Events Center and planned Kitsap Bank Headquarters development, there is an exciting opportunity to transform this section of the City. This project will reconstruct SR166/ Bay Street, the downtown’s main street, ensuring that these planned projects can move forward, and lead to additional new development fronting the street. These current developments are expected to add over 200 permanent jobs and attract a significant number of new visitors to Downtown retail and other small businesses. The proposed street reconstruction project will be transformational step to revitalizing Downtown Port Orchard.
The project is envisioned to reconstruct a segment of the City’s main street in Downtown Port Orchard along SR166/Bay Street from Geiger Avenue to Frederick Avenue (0.2 mi). The proposed scope of work includes the following elements:
A. Raise the street to address flooding and address future potential for sea level rise.
B. Reconstruct traffic lanes and reduce speeds to be compatible with a pedestrian friendly downtown.
C. Provide accommodation for on road cyclists and connectivity to the Bay Street multi-use pathway along the waterfront.
D. Streetscape improvements providing wider sidewalks and integration with other planned pedestrian pathways for improved pedestrian circulation in the downtown.
E. Reconstruct in street stormwater and integrate planned water quality retrofits for the Downtown.
F. Upgrade streetlighting for safety, improve experience for pedestrians, and for greater energy efficiency.
G. Relocate gas utility and underground power and communication utilities.
H. Upgrade capacity and better align aging water and sewer utilities.
The City completed and the City Council adopted a Downtown Subarea Plan in 2021 establishing the vision and framework for Downtown’s transformation. The proposed project is an important for the implementation of the Plan and is envisioned to have multiple benefits for the revitalization of Downtown Port Orchard:
- Supports the public and private redevelopment of Downtown Port Orchard which is in a Federal-designated Opportunity Zone and adjacent to HUD designated “Low Mod” communities. Other public projects include upgrades to the Marina Sewer Lift Station, South Kitsap Community Events Center, Waterfront Plaza and Shoreline Enhancement, and Downtown Stormwater upgrade and Retrofit projects. Compact transit-oriented private development is expected to provide additional housing units in the downtown.
- Improves mobility in the downtown for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with access to Kitsap Transit bus and ferry services by maintaining traffic flows on Bay Street and providing improved accommodation and circulation for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Enhances safety and efficiency for the traveling public with medians for better definition and traffic calming, wider parallel parking, wider sidewalks, and improved crosswalks.
The preliminary design is funded and proceeding concurrently with the design of the South Kitsap Community Events Center. The City is working to procure grants to complete design and fund construction. As of this year’s retreat, the City Council has prioritized this project as the City’s number one transportation project and has committed to move the construction phase into the current 6-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) in the summer 2022 update and annual budget.