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An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
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Archive for February, 2009

Ferry Meeting Site Changed

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The Write Plan C ferry group’s normal meeting place at the Norm Dicks Government Center isn’t available Saturday morning, so it will change venues to the Westpark Community Center, 76 Russell Road.

From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., group members will discuss key elements of the plan and vote on which ones to keep. They will also discuss how to lobby for the plan.

The group will present the plan on Monday to Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, who will deliver it to the Legislature.


State Ferries Fourth Most Exciting in the World

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The Society of American Travel Writers, the world’s largest organization of professional travel journalists and photographers, recently polled its members to come up with the “Top 10” most exciting ferry rides in the world. They are:

1. Star Ferry in Hong Kong

2. Ferries from Sausalito to San Francisco, Calif.

3. Staten Island Ferry, New York Harbor

4. Washington State Ferries, Puget Sound to the San Juan Islands

5. British Columbia Ferry System, including Vancouver to Victoria

6. Ferry from Sydney Harbor to Manly, Australia

7. The Ferry System of the Greek Isles

8. The “Blue Canoes” of the Alaska State Ferry System

9. “Norway in a Nutshell” Tour and ferry ride

10. Ferry from Mallaig to Isle of Skye, Scotland

“Washington State Ferries offer the most beautiful views of water, mountains and forests, with whales right up close, too,” said Robert Haru Fisher, a columnist and contributing editor for Frommers.com.

“Stiff winds and dramatic weather changes turn a simple commute between islands into a short-burst travel journey on many of the Washington State ferries,” said Richard Varr, a freelance travel writer.


Overhead Loading Ramp Still Broken at Bainbridge Ferry

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The overhead walkway a the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal will be out of service through Wednesday. Walk-on passengers will continue to load and offload via the car deck. That could knock the boats behind schedule.


Hotel-Motel Ferry Bill Gets Hearing Today

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

A bill that would tap King County’s hotel-motel tax to build car ferries is getting a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee today (Tuesday) at 3:30 p.m. With all the competition for that money for  the convention center, Key Arena and Husky Stadium, I didn’t think the committee would take time to hear it. Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, evidently sees enough in it to take a closer look.

Here’s a story I wrote about the bill when Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island, introduced it a couple weeks ago. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, is one of six senators signed on.


Hood Canal Bridge Sank 30 Years Ago

Friday, February 13th, 2009

It’s been 30 years since the western half of the Hood Canal floating bridge sank in a storm.
This Friday the 13th anniversary comes as the state is preparing for a six-week closure starting May 1 to replace the older, eastern half of the bridge that connects the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.
The sunken western half was rebuilt and reopened in 1982.
It cost $143 million to replace the west half, compared to the $478 million budgeted for this year’s work on the east half.


Lawmaker Wants Canadians’ Help in Saving Ferry Run

Friday, February 13th, 2009

State Rep. Jeff Morris is in Sidney, B.C., today in an effort to implore city officials there to approve a compromise deal with Washington State Ferries over lease rates at their terminal.

The high lease rate is a major factor in the state’s proposala to eliminate the Anacortes-Sidney run. Morris believes an agreement with Sidney officials would go a long way in showing a good-faith effort to reach an agreement and save the run.

Click here for the rest of the story.


Legislators Support Ferry Advisory Committees

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Ten legislators, including four from Kitsap County, sent a letter Thursday asking that ferry advisory committees be removed from the list of boards that the governor wants to cut. The letter went to Rep. Larry Springer, prime sponsor of the bill that would cut the committees (HB 2087). Reps. Christine Rolfes, Sherry Appleton, Larry Seaquist and Jan Angel were among those who signed it.

There needs to be more oversight of the ferries from the public, not less, they said. The ferry advisory committees are an indispensable means for them to hear from their ferry-riding constituents. Whatever small efficiencies that can be gained from getting rid of them is not worth the loss, they said.


Mayors Get Good Vibes From Transportation Chairwoman

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said today in an e-mail that he and Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola visited with transportation honchos in Olympia on Wednesday and came back encouraged.

They met Senate Transportation Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen and got off to a rocky start, Bozeman said, but wound up having a positive conversation.

Haugen told them her goal is to end up with Plan A, or as close as she can get to the current level of ferry service. She’d given the impression earlier that she didn’t believe that was possible, and it’s not in the governor’s proposed budget.

Haugen also said she intends to move ahead with the building of four new ferries, Bozeman said. I guess those would be 64-car ferries. The governor’s budget has just one ferry being built.

The mayors also spoke to local legislators Derek Kilmer, Larry Seaquist and Christine Rolfes while they were down there.


Nalley Valley Viaduct Boogered Up for Two Years

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Commutes through Tacoma will take longer now that construction has begun on eastbound Highway 16 where it meets Interstate 5. From Union Avenue to the Nalley Valley viaduct, the eastbound lanes have been shifted toward the median so crews can demolish old bridges and build new ones. Ramp meters will try to help the flow of traffic. They’ll be at five on-ramps — Jackson, Pearl, Orchard, Center and Union. Slowdowns are still expected.

The $184 project will get rid of the weave of traffic where cars from I-5 change lanes to merge onto Highway 16 or get off at Sprague Avenue. The Sprague Avenue ramps will close today and These two Sprague ramps close Thursday night and will remain closed for more than two years.


Ferry Rally Gathering Steam

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

I wish I wasn’t going to be off next week. I mean, I’m glad I’m off, but it’d be neat to go to Olympia Wednesday to see how the Save Our Ferries rally comes off. From all of the transmissions entering my cyberspace, it sounds like it’s going to be huge.

In case you haven’t heard, it’ll be at 11:30 a.m. on the north Capitol steps. There’ll be speakers and signs and chanting and TV cameras. Should be quite the spectacle. Rally organizers will also be presenting thousands of petitions to state leaders. Carpools and charter buses are being arranged.

For more about the rally, click here.