Bainbridge Island Road Ends
As an island community, ensuring public access to the shoreline is a priority for the City of Bainbridge Island. While much of the shoreline is privately owned, significant public access to the shoreline across the island is available through parks and, as detailed here, through City road ends.
Road ends are typically narrow rights-of-way or easements which extend from the end of a road to a water view or to a water access point. These rights-of-way are owned and managed by the City of Bainbridge Island and, in some cases, the Parks District. Road ends are protected by several RCWs:
- RCW 35.79.035 - prohibits the vacation of streets and alleys which abut on salt or fresh water. There is an extensive process to except provisions of the law, including replacement of lost access with like access in the same shoreline area.
- RCW 4.24.200, 4.24.210 - outline protection from liability granted to a property owner where public access for recreational purposes is allowed or in place.
The City provides routine maintenance to each City road end throughout the year, working to preserve road end access, safety and signage. In addition, citizen groups like the Marine Access Committee (MAC) and other community members serve as stewards, helping to maintain and monitor individual sites.
Road End Usage
Although the rights-of-way and easements provide public access, road ends are often bordered by private property. This necessitates that road end visitors be cognizant and respectful of adjacent boundaries and rules of use.
Based on the size and location of these sites, road ends are primarily intended for neighborhood use. This means that these areas are not appropriate for large groups or high-intensity activities. Community users are asked to be respectful of the rules of use, site specific characteristics, and neighbors’ property rights. Most sites do not accommodate parking and so, unless noted, are best suited to pedestrian or other non-motorized access.
The City has established some general guidelines to govern the use of public access to City road ends:
- Hours: dawn to dusk
- Remove trash and clean up pet waste
- Animals must be leashed
- No fires
- No camping
- No overnight parking
There are more than 60 road ends on Bainbridge Island, which are shown on the below map. Please select individual road ends to view their specific attributes and amenities such as parking availability or type of water access.
Several of the road ends served as landings for the historic Mosquito Fleet steamers, which ran between the 1870s and the 1930s. In a time when much of the Island was inaccessible by land, the Mosquito Fleet served as a primary link between the Island communities. Today, these former landings are noted as historic sites on the road ends map. For additional details take the online tour.