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An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
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Archive for October, 2008

Don’t Sleep and Drive

Friday, October 31st, 2008

That was the headline on a press release I got today. I swear.

It says ” … surprisingly, sleeping and driving has become a major cause in serious car accidents. Sleepiness and driving is a dangerous combination.”

Would you think?

The release was sent to promote National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which is Nov. 10-16.

They give some tips to keep you from becoming one of the 40,000 injured or 1,550 killed every year by drowsy driving. I particularly like one about creating a play list of upbeat songs. ” … when its just you and the open road no one will hear just how tone-deaf you really are, so sing away,” it says.

This reminds me of a drowsy driving incident I had way back when. I lived in Las Vegas for awhile and was always in a big hurry to get home. I was almost back when I woke up in the middle of the night on Highway 16. I was on the shoulder on the wrong side of the road, headed for the ditch. Don’t know what woke me up, but thanks. Another time I was a passenger in a car where the driver and I both conked. We crashed.

So maybe this don’t sleep and drive campaign isn’t so silly after all.


Naming Rights for Ferries

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Ferries director David Moseley said during a meeting in Southworth last week that the ferry system was considering selling rights to the boats, like they do for stadiums. He wanted to know if that would be “abhorrent” to anybody. Nobody gagged. “It would be better than a fare increase,” said Sen. Derek Kilmer.


Lessons Learned During Boat Breakdown

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I wrote the other day about Washington State Ferries coming up with a backup plan for the next time Bremerton goes down to one boat. That came from a visit to Bremerton by ferries director David Moseley and a bunch of his people. With riders’ help, they’re putting a backup schedule in ink for the next time something happens. There’ll only be one car ferry and a couple passenger-only boats, but at least you’ll know when they’re coming and going.

Some riders complained that notification came late about how WSF was going to handle the Walla Walla’s breakdown. Sitting on my butt in front of my computer, it seemed like the info might’ve actually come too fast, before they knew what was going on.  One thing you can’t criticize Moseley about is communication. He’s out there practically every day talking to one group or another. It’s obviously a high priority.

The problem was, it was believed that there would be two passenger-only boats the next morning, and that was announced on sailings from Seattle the night before, but one of the Victoria Express boat’s certificate of inspection had expired and it couldn’t be renewed on time.

There were other hurdles that operations director Steve Rodgers pointed out the other night. There was no ramp in Bremerton for passengers to board the foot ferries. They had to build one on the spot. It’s now sitting down on the dock, ready to go next time.

Rodgers said the car ferry didn’t run at 6:20 a.m. sailing from Bremerton because they didn’t know if riders would prefer the big boat at 6:20 or 4:50 in the morning. Sounds like a no-brainer even to me, and riders made sure to make that clear for next time.

Rodgers said there’s not enough room at the dock for more than two state passenger ferries and two from Kitsap Transit. I have no idea about that, but I will ignorantly say they should be able to figure something out. Seems getting that third passenger ferry is the key to making this thing work.


EPO! EPO! EPO!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

The butt of jokes for decades, East Port Orchard Elementary got some props this week. The state Superintendent of Public Instruction office named it as one of 98 Schools of Distinction for improving its WASL reading and math scores over the past six years.

I remember not that many years ago when the newsroom made fun of me and Travis Baker, distinguished EPO graduates, because EPO had some of the worst, if not the worst, WASL scores in the county.

When I attended the school a few years back, other grade schools in the district called us EPO, Elementary Prison for Oddballs. Neener neener.

By the way, the only other school in the county to be honored also was from South Kitsap — Hidden Creek Elementary.


Evergreen Freedom Foundation Jumps on Ferries

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Evergreen Freedom Foundation President Bob Williams will join more than a dozen volunteers from the group’s Citizens Action Network at Colman Dock in Seattle on Thursday, Oct. 16 to pass out fliers to ferry riders about the condition of the Washington State Ferries.  It also will introduce people to group’s new ferries Web site,  www.ferry-tales.org.

The foundation is a private, nonprofit public policy think tank based in Olympia. Williams was a Republican state legislator. The group’s mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and responsible government.


Vashon Goes in Front of Camera

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Terminal cameras are working their way across the state ferry system. The latest to go live was the north end of Vashon Island, on Thursday. Now you can get on the ol’ computer and check to see if the ferry’s in sight yet, if you’ve already missed it, or if there are too many cars waiting to even bother. The feeds from the four cameras are refreshed every five minutes. They can be viewed at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/cameras/
Up next is Port Townsend, where new cameras will be online soon. Traffic cameras are already installed at the Fautleroy, Southworth, Bainbridge, Anacortes, Kingston, Edmonds, Mukilteo, and Clinton terminals.


Ferry Puzzle: What Would You Do?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

After the Walla Walla broke down Monday, the state moved one of Bremerton’s car ferries to Kingston and brought in two passenger ferries to try to try to fill in for the car ferry in Bremerton. The state has taken this approach before but at other times has grabbed one of Southworth’s three ferries for Bremerton. Under the circumstances, the moves make sense, but there’s no avoiding that Bremerton or Southworth will feel like they’re getting a raw deal. Do you have any better ideas. Remember, there are no backup boats available.


Port Townsend to Lose Car Ferry for a Couple Weeks

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Jeff Chew of the Peninsula Daily News wrote today that the beleaguered Port Townsend-Keystone route will be without a car ferry sometime before the end of the year. The Steilacoom II, which the state is leasing from Pierce County, needs an annual Coast Guard inspection that could take two to three weeks. It’s the only ferry, apparently in the state, that can navigate Keystone harbor. Passenger ferries will do what they can to fill in.

Locals are worried that it could happen during the holidays. They didn’t have a car ferry during last Christmas and New Year’s because the state abruptly retired the steel-electric ferries that served the route in November because of unsafe corroded and pitted hulls.

Read the complete story here.


Ferry song

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

My pal Andy Binion sent me this link ages ago and I never got around to sending it out. It’s KIRO’s Dave Ross.

http://www.daveross.com/songs/ferry.mp3

More People Riding Alaska Ferries

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

I don’t know how they came up with an increase from 2007 to 2008 since this year is a long way from over, but … 7 percent sounds pretty good. Washington’s ferries were down 1.2 percent from 2006 to 2007, to 23.7 million, and I think they dropped just about every year after they started the big fare increases in 2000. I think they peaked at about 28 million in 1999.

I’m not quite sure what Alaska means by consistent scheduling, either. I’ve looked around for a more complete story, but haven’t found one yet.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP)

State transportation officials say the ferry system is getting more use.
Passenger and vehicle traffic increased 7 percent between 2007 and 2008.
Transportation spokesman Roger Wetherell says consistency in scheduling was the key factor.
The Alaska system is much different than Washington. It has 11 vessels serving 32 ports between Bellingham, Wash., through Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and west to the Aleutians.