Changes are coming to the Kitsap Transit board next year.
Ed Wolfe, in his first meeting of any type as a Kitsap County
commissioner Tuesday, was named vice-chairman of the board. Wolfe,
who beat Linda Streissguth in November, took over the position
early because Streissguth had been appointed instead of elected. He
was the only choice for vice chair because the other two county
commissioners, Rob Gelder and Charlotte Garrido, had recently
served as chairs.
The chairmanship switches every two years between county and city
representatives. Bremerton mayor Patty Lent will move up from vice
chair to replace Gelder next month. She’s a huge proponent of
cross-sound fast ferries, which will be a major topic in 2015.
Gelder, chairing his final meeting, chose Bainbridge Island
councilman Steve Bonkowski as the at-large board member.
Bonkowski replaces Port Orchard councilman Rob Putaansuu, who’s
served in the at-large role ever since it was created four years
ago. A sharp and nice guy, he did a great job, though his name is
hard to spell. Before that, Bremerton had three people on the
board — the mayor and two council members. That’s now down to two.
The at-large rep is from one of the three smaller cities.
With Putaansuu, the Port Orchard had four people involved in Kitsap
Transit leadership. Councilman John Clauson is the transit
executive director, councilman Jeff Cartwright the transit human
resources director, and Mayor Tim Matthes and Puttaansuu were on
Beginning in January, board study sessions and meetings will be
held on the first Tuesday at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively,
instead of the third Tuesday at 9 and 10:15. Subcommittee meetings
will be the third Tuesday at 8 for ferries, 9 for planning and 10
Gov. Jay Inslee will outline a new transportation revenue plan
tomorrow for the Legislature to consider during its 2015 session.
It will be held in conjunction with an event marking completion of
the Highway 520 Eastside transit and HOV project at 10:30 a.m. at
the new Evergreen Point road lid. It’ll be televised by TVW.
Inslee’s office, in an announcement today to announce tomorrow’s
announcement, said the multi-billion-dollar package would fund
safety, maintenance and preservation projects, finish highway
improvements that would provide jobs, traffic relief and economic
development, and invest in multimodal programs that provide more
travel options. The package also includes accountability and reform
measures to ensure projects are delivered on time and on
Reforms were given as the major deal-breaker in an attempt to
pass a package last session. The House approved a plan. The Senate,
which was hung up on the reforms, had one but never brought it to a
It’ll be interesting to see how Inslee’s plan
National Weather Service predicting up to 70 mph gusts over the
next day, how fast must the wind be blowing before the state shuts
down the Hood Canal Bridge? I vaguely remembered it being 35 mph
over a sustained period, not just a gust here and there.
Wrong, said DOT spokeswoman Claudia Bingham-Baker. More likely
than not, opening the draw span wouldn’t have anything to do with
the bridge itself. What happens, she explained, is when winds reach
30 mph for 15 minutes, an alarm sounds. Bridge crews are
dispatched to watch how it responds to the waves. It will
react differently depending on the wind’s direction. If it
gets too bouncy, they can open the draw span and relieve
The world’s third-longest floating bridge withstands winds
better since the east side was replaced in 2009, Bingham-Baker
said. Wonder if it would withstood a pounding like took place on
Feb. 13, 1979.
Winds gusting from the southwest at up to 120 mph aligned
exactly with the direction of the canal. I can’t even imagine 120
mph winds or remember where I was. In the natural wind tunnel, the
bridge was the only object resisting. Waves 10 to 15 feet high
crashed against it for hours, until finally the western floating
Today, it’s more likely the span would be opened and traffic
stopped because drivers can’t stay in their lanes and are
freaked out by splashing waves than fear that the storm will
damage the bridge, Bingham-Baker said.
Oddly, it took winds of just 40 mph to blow down the first
Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Nov. 7, 1940. It was just four months old.
It’s used as an example of a major engineering failure because
it had some vertical plates that caught the wind and
caused it to sway violently.
The Carlisle II, which has been out since spring when rotted
beams were discovered during annual maintenance, is repaired and
back in the water in Port Townsend. It’ll undergo a Coast Guard
inspection Thursday or Friday and Kitsap Transit hopes to
return it to service between Port Orchard and Bremerton late next
week, said Steffani Lillie, planning and capital programs
The low-wake Rich Passage 1, which was damaged when a warming
blanket that covered its foil caught fire in Port Townsend, has
been repaired and passed its Coast Guard inspection. It’ll be
brought down from Bellingham this week and moored at the new
A Float in Bremerton. It could be leased to King County to help
with the West Seattle and Vashon routes. It’s too much of a boat to
operate across Sinclair Inlet, and Kitsap Transit has no use
for it until/unless it can start operating cross-Sound
Just when you
thought there wasn’t anything else that could be turned pink in the
battle against breast cancer, look at this. That’s pretty. Not only
that, but proceeds will will pay for breast cancer screenings
and follow up tests for women with limited or no insurance through
the state Department of Health’s Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health
Beginning Oct. 16, you can bid on the first batch of breast
cancer license plates before they go on sale to everyone in
January. The auction runs through the end of the month, which is
Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More information about the auction
and how to bid can be found here.
After this month’s auction, breast cancer license plates will be
available for purchase in January for $60 through the state
Department of Licensing.
Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly all health insurance plans
cover breast cancer screening. Breast cancer is the second leading
cause of cancer death among Washington women. A regular mammogram
is the best way to find it early and make sure women get a head
start on treatment when it’s most successful, according to the
state Department of Health and my old pal Kelly Stowe.
The name Illahee that many of you readers selected through this
blog has a 12.5 percent chance of winding up on the next 144-car
Eight names were formally submitted to the state
Transportation Commissionby last Friday’s deadline. They are
Illahee, Cowlitz, Suquamish, Sammamish, Chimacum, Taima, Tukwila
Taima is the name of the Seattle Seahawks mascot.
I had no idea what Nawt-sa-matt was. Had to look it up. Turns
out, now I can’t find it. Oh, here. It’s a a new regional coalition
of Native Americans and non-natives banding together to protect the
Salish Sea from corporations seeking to turn it into a fossil fuel
The other six are all places with Native names.
Your Illahee didn’t get a great deal of support from local
municipalities and officials. Oh well, it’s strength is it was the
choice of you people, hundreds of you.
A decision will be announced on Nov. 19.
The deadline is Friday for submitting nomination packets to the
state Transportation Commission to name the third Olympic-class
ferry. So far, I know of three others besides Illahee, which you
readers chose through a competition on this blog. I sent that to
Olympia on Monday.
The other three are Suquamish, which was your second pick, Cowlitz
Cowlitz and Sammamish are resubmissions from two years ago, when
Tokitae and Samish were chosen. They’re the work of Cowlitz County
Sheriff Mark Nelson and the city of Sammamish, according to those
areas’ community newspapers.
Other finalists then were Ivar Haglund, Hoquiam and Muckleshoot. I
haven’t heard anything about them, but it wouldn’t take much to
resurrect them. Ivar, proffered by Seattle Times columnist and
former Kitsap Sun reporter Ron Judd, stole the attention last time,
but didn’t sway commissioners.
A key, according to the commission, is to show support from
community and state leaders. We sought the backing of most of the
area’s movers and shakers, including the Suquamish Tribe. We won’t
be getting that one.
So far, the city of Bremerton is backing Illahee. Sen. Christine
Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, and Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge
Island, support both Illahee and Suquamish. The city of Bainbridge
and Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, went with Suquamish. Both are
good names. There’s still time get behind one of them.
The names will go through a review and public
comment process and we’ll get the outcome at the commission’s Nov.
19 meeting in Lakewood.
Tons of people rode the ferries to the Seahawks’ season-opening
pummeling of Green Bay Thursday. The number paled in comparison to
those who went for the Super Bowl parade in February, but it was
More than 27,000 rode the Bainbridge and Bremerton boats for the
Packers game, which might be the second-busiest day ever at Colman
Dock, behind the “unprecedented,” as Washington State Ferries put
it, 40,000 who crowded through the terminal on Feb. 5.
The system isn’t built for those kinds of hordes. Parade day was
insane. You couldn’t even get into Bremerton, much less find a
parking spot. Our maintenance guy extraordinaire, John, was chasing
people out of our lot when I drove in. I knew it was going to be
wild, but never imagined anything like that.
Last Thursday, fans traveled throughout the day so there weren’t
lines going up to Sixth Street like for the parade. Also, WSF put
on extra terminal staff and security to help with the crowds, and
communicated more with riders through tweeting and travel alerts. A
round trip to Bremerton was added that night.
The Seahawks don’t have any more prime-time home games on the
schedule. They all start between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., although
times could change. Two nationally televised night games are on the
road — Monday, Oct. 6, at Washington and Thursday, Nov. 27, at San
Francisco, so the ferries won’t be affected. That 49er game is on
Thanksgiving, by the way, at 5:30 p.m., so the turkey and
cranberries time to settle.
Who knows what’s going to happen during the playoffs. Plus I’m
thinking the Mariners are going to be hosting some postseason
games, too, so there still could be some huge ferry crowds to
Washington State Ferries topped its goals last quarter for
reliability and on-time performance.
For April through June, ferries completed 99.5 percent of 40,823
scheduled trips. The goal is 99 percent. The 206 missed sailings
were 74 fewer than during the same period the previous year.
Tides and bad weather accounted for 108 cancellations, all of
them on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route. Ten different
boats had mechanical issues that resulted in 76 canceled trips. The
ferry Issaquah, which is normally assigned to the Southworth route,
missed 11 in a single day. The route still finished at 99.4
percent. Edmonds-Kingston enjoyed the best performance at 99.9
percent completed sailings and Anacortes-Friday Harbor suffered the
worst at 99.1 percent. Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth was at 99.4
percent, Seattle-Bainbridge 99.8 percent and Seattle-Bremerton 99.7
Crewing issues accounted for 14 total cancellations in the quarter,
three fewer than the same period last year.
On-time performance also improved over a year ago, from 95.3
percent to 95.8. The goal is 95 percent.
On average, 19 out of 446 daily trips didn’t leave the terminal
within 10 minutes of their scheduled departure time. The San Juans
had the poorest mark at 90.3 percent and Point Defiance-Tahlequah
the best at 99.7 percent. Locally, Edmonds-Kingston finished at
99.3 percent, Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth at 94.0 percent,
Seattle-Bainbridge at 94.7 percent and Seattle-Bremerton at 98.5
Accordingly, complaints about on-time performance decreased from 40
The ferries enjoyed their highest spring fare revenues ever, at
$45.6 million. That’s $2.6 million (6.1 percent) more than spring
quarter 2013. Ridership was 232,400 (4.1 percent) more.
Gov. Jay Inslee wanted to buy ice cream for the 482 people
forced off the overloaded ferry Cathlamet a couple Friday’s ago,
but he couldn’t pull it off fast enough. It would’ve been cool to
see the line swing from the Bremerton ferry dock to Cold Stone
What Inslee and Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson did arrange
was to let everybody ride home from Seattle that night for free.
That was their decision, Peterson said during a ferry community
meeting Friday evening in Bremerton.
It cost $21,000, but might’ve been worth every cent in goodwill. Or
maybe it would’ve been better spend on a traffic cop at the
Fauntleroy terminal. That was just lost revenue, not including fuel
and labor for adding an extra sailing.
The ferry meetings are normally held on Saturdays, but with
Blackberry Fest and other events coming up, it looked for awhile
like August would go without one.
“We felt there were enough things going on with our ferries that we
needed to have this meeting,” Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent said of
the get-together, attended live or online by folks from the San
Juans to Vashon Island. “And it was a time when Lynn could
It was the first appearance for Peterson, who stuck around for 1
1/2 hours. She said the overloading Aug. 15 when Seahawks fans were
headed for an exhibition game against the Chargers was more
complicated than letting too many people on the boat and making
them get back off.
“We always have to be be cognizant of safety first,” Lent quoted
her as saying, “but she never wants it to happen again.”
In case you missed it, the Cathlamet can carry 1,200 passengers
based on the number of life jackets onboard and proximity to other
ferries that could help in an emergency. Crew members for some
reason thought it had a 1,600-person capacity, and loaded 1,682.
The captain pulled out, got a radio call from the dock with the
number and went right back in.
I’m working on a story that details when and how passengers are
counted, and there’s a new development in the overloading incident
I’m sure you’ll find interesting.
Last Friday, the Bremerton boats started about 15 minutes late for
the Seahawks’ bludgeoning of Chicago, but WSF beefed up staffing
and added an extra nighttime sailing so as not to suffer deja vu,
At one point there were two finalists for former ferry director
David Moseley’s job and they came to Bremerton to meet the public.
Operations and construction director George Capacci, named interim
director by Peterson in March, withdrew and former Pierce County
Executive John Ladenberg wasn’t chosen.
People won’t have a chance to talk to the next prospects, whose
application deadline is Sunday. there’s not time for a public
meet-and-greet, said Peterson, who has confidence a hiring advisory
committee that includes Lent. Peterson and Inslee will make the
“We want somebody who’s more on the administrative side, to make
those tough decisions and be bold,” Peterson told the group
The director’s salary range is $119,000 to $145,000.
Several other high-ranking positions have also been open for a
while, including director of vessels, port engineer, senior port
captain and another that WSF wouldn’t confirm Monday. When you hear
that WSF needs to clean house, well, much of it is already done.
You feel bad that Capacci’s facing a bunch of problems without a
full team. At the same time, you have to wonder why so many
executives are leaving.