If you travel at commute times or sail away for the weekend,
you’d think almost all of it. It’s not uncommon to wait an hour or
more to drive aboard during those times.
The answer is 61 percent, which is still pretty impressive
considering the boats run practically all day long.
Individual routes ranged from 45 percent full for
Seattle-Bremerton to 66 percent for Mukilteo-Clinton. Bremerton is
largely a foot route. Seventy-four percent of riders are car
passengers or walk-ons.
Riders always complain that they need bigger boats, like on the
Bainbridge route, but they really don’t. It’d just be a waste of
fuel and labor costs.
Bremerton, however, is bumping up to a new 144-car Chimacum in
2017, whether it needs to or not. It can grow into it.
Bainbridge has similar characteristics to Bremerton because it’s
going the same place — to a major city. Sixty-nine percent of its
customers are passengers as opposed to drivers.
Only 43 percent of Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth riders are
passengers, 48 percent on the Edmonds-Kingston route and 56
percent for the system overall.
Almost never does a ferry reach passenger capacity, though it
might seem so in early morning when the booths become beds. The day
of the Seahawks’ parade after winning the Super Bowl was a notable
Though an average of 61 percent of the system’s car decks are
filled at any time, just 12 percent of passenger space is being
used. It ranges from 7 percent at Point Defiance-Tahlequah to 18
percent for Anacortes-Sidney, British Columbia. It’s hard to put
fannies in up to 2,500 seats.
Do you recognize any
of the bridges up above? We could have a contest, except then I
would have to know what they all are, which I don’t.
Anyway you can pick up this poster of historic Washington
bridges for free through October at the State Archives headquarters
in Olympia or at the Secretary of State’s main office at the
Capitol in Olympia. They’ll be having an open house down there from
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.See if you can name them all. I’ll find the
How bad has traffic become when drivers take backroads to get
around the freeway?
I feel so lucky every morning when I see the traffic report and
know I don’t have to go on the other side of Puget Sound. My wife
does. I can plan my trips around Kitsap Peninsula down to the
minute. She has no idea when she’ll get to work, or back home.
I always felt those estimates of how much productivity we’re
losing because we’re stuck in traffic were bogus. I equate
productivity with work, and just because it takes you two hours to
commute doesn’t mean you can cut two hours off your shift. It’s
subtracted from time with the kids, at the gym, sleeping.
Here, we might have an hour of heavy traffic twice a day at a
few spots. There, my wife gets off the highway as soon as she
crosses the Narrows Bridge and winds her way all the way to King
County without getting back on. And it’s faster. It just defeats
the whole purpose, defies the definition of a freeway.
How can people commute like that? I guess they don’t have much
choice, if they want to get paid. You’d think at some point
companies will have so much trouble moving workers and products
that they start relocating to the peninsula. I wonder if ferry
fares and bridge tolls are holding them back.
Legislators a few months ago passed a $16 billion, 16-year
transportation package. Something had to be done. But I have a hard
time imagining traffic will be any better in 16 years. Hopefully we
can keep keep pace, and I won’t get transferred to the other
Can you picture what the roads here will be like in 16 years?
Probably still crowded in the usual places. Out of that $16
million, we’ll be getting money to improve Highway 305 between
Poulsbo and Winslow, though it’s not sure how. They’ll also be
re-striping the Highway 3-Highway 304 interchange near the
Bremerton treatment plant. That’ll get better flow coming south on
Highway 3 at the expense of backing Highway 304 farther into town.
Guess I better start looking for some backroads.
Drones are increasingly in the news these days, but I’d never
heard them tied to ferries until Washington State Ferries director
Lynne Griffith mentioned an incident in her weekly update.
Recently, she said, the system has had reports of drones being
flown over and near the ferries. Earlier this summer, one of the
captains reported that a drone was posing a navigational hazard as
he landed at the Anacortes dock The captain reported that it flew
just feet away and directly in front of the pilothouse during the
Terminal staff found the drone operator and he is now the
subject of a Coast Guard investigation.
It is not always illegal to fly a drone near ferry facilities or
vessels, but it is against the law to interfere with the navigation
and operation of ferries, Griffith said.
The Department of Transportation says a little change at the
Highway 305-Suquamish Way intersection has helped a lot.
In response to community requests, state signal technicians
monitored how the signal at the intersection was working. They
found it was operating as programmed, but noticed that some highway
drivers were allowing large gaps to develop between cars as they
drove through the green light. At times the gaps were so large that
the signal thought no cars were on the highway and prematurely
turned red to let Suquamish Way traffic go.
Based on that observation, they made a few changes. They tweaked
the signal timing to let more highway cars through on the green
cycle, and added another signal display on the highway for drivers
leaving Bainbridge Island. It tells them whether the highway light
is red or green as they approach the intersection, improving their
ability to react to the signal.
Traffic data gathered before and after the small changes showed
a decrease in travel times from nearly 30 minutes to 17
Please respond here what your experiences have been.
Washington State Ferries announced the winners in its first
ferry photo. And guess what?
Three of five submissions were from Kitsap, and we can claim No.
4 also. They were shot by Denise Sharer of Port Orchard, Darrel
Austin of Bainbridge Island and Jeff Worrall of Kingston.
Rebecca Nelson contributed another. The Bremerton native lives in
Seattle now and is a cousin of venerated Kitsap Sun editor David
Nelson. The final winner, determined by Jeanette Mills,
Director of Visual Services at the University of Washington School
of Art, Art History and Design, was from Anacortes. They all
can be seen here.
The weeklong contest on Twitter ended Monday with more than 200
photographs submitted. The winners will receive a behind-the-scenes
tour of a ferry, along with bragging rights.
Washington State Ferries will announce the winners of the ferry
photo contest Thursday. Jeanette Mills, Director of Visual Services
at the University of Washington School of Art, Art History
and Design, will select her five favorite shots. I have it on good
accord some of them might be from around these parts. Winners
receive a behind the scenes tour.
here and pick your own winners from the 217 entries.
Got a couple
ferry email alerts Thursday. At 11 in the morning, drivers were
having to wait an hour on the other side to catch a boat to both
Kingston and Bainbridge Island. That’s typical for getaway Fridays,
but Thursday? At 11 in the morning? And for the first time ever
this summer I’ve seen four-hour Sunday waits at Kingston.
That got me to wondering what the ridership numbers are looking
like. Washington State Ferries has them on its webpage, by quarter
First, some background. After WSF lost license tab money in 2000,
it started jacking up fares, boats broke, the economy tanked.
Ridership plummeted 17.2 percent through 2012. It finally turned
around in 2013 with a 1.5 percent gain, followed by 2.7 last year.
Through the first half of this year, it has spiked 4.5 percent.
It’s rebounding with the economy and relatively cheap gasoline,
says longtime WSF planner and Central Kitsap High alum Ray
Deardorf. The mild winter and spring weather also contributed.
The increases have been in discretionary and commercial travel, he
said. Commuter trips have been stable or dropping, depending on the
This last quarter, April through June, for example, there was an 8
percent jump in full-fare passengers (those without passes), while
those with multi-ride cards and transit passes (commuters) declined
5 and 5.8 percent.
Also last quarter, WSF carried 6,254,301 riders, the highest count
in that quarter since 2002, Deardorf said.
A couple new 144-car boats, Tokitae and Samish, have bumped 87-car
Tillikum and Evergreen State, which didn’t hurt the numbers but
probably didn’t add significantly, either. Two more boats will be
arriving in the next couple years, which will retire the Klahowya,
last of small, old ferries.
During the second quarter, the Bremerton route gained 6.9 percent
more riders, Kingston 4.5 percent, Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth 3
percent and Bainbridge 2.2 percent.
If you want to look at some incredible ferry pictures, go to
#WSFcontest on Twitter. If you want to win some incredible prizes,
share one of your own ferry photos there.
Washington State Ferries is having a weeklong photo contest. It
ends at noon Monday.
You must follow the rules, the first of which is following WSF on
Twitter at @WSFFerries. Submit photos with the hashtag above.
You must have taken the photos yourself, at any time. They can be
black and white Polaroids of the Kalakala. They have to have all or
part of a state ferry in the frame. Captions won’t influence the
judge, no matter how witty. It’s all about the image. Don’t take
photos or tweet while driving, or enter restricted areas on a
ferry. You can only enter three photos. If you send in more than
that, only the first three will count.
Jeanette Mills, director of visual services at the University of
Washington School of Art, Art History and Design, will pick five
winners. Her decision will be subjective, final and can’t be
appealed. Winners get a one-year free pass. Wait, no. They get a
behind-the-scenes tour of a ferry, and can bring a friend.
You notice how they rigged it to have five winners but you can only
send in three shots? That’s so you guys have a couple chances to
win after I get my three. You know what? I’ve toured a ferry so I’m
going to bow out and let everyone have a chance.