Monthly Archives: May 2009

My Commute Sucks

Actually, mine isn’t all that bad. Long — 23 miles each way — but not much traffic unless I leave work early and get stuck in shipyard traffic.

This is the name of a website — mycommutesucks.org — that the group Transportation for America says will help commuters redirect rage to improve America’s transportation.

They can tell members of Congress that their commute sucks and to get it fixed. I don’t know why they think Congress will be reading it.

Twitter users can tweet their bad commute experiences with the hashtag #mycommutesucks and it’ll feed automatically to the Web site.

Nothing Too Hot on Kitsap Transit Agenda

Kitsap Transit will hold its May meeting on Tuesday at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. I know you all are anxious to go. Thought I’d give you a little heads-up on what they’ll be talking about.

The most interesting thing to me is asking for the OK from the board to buy 31 vans from Bay Ford for $844,263 in federal stimulus funds.

The agency wants to be the lead among 15 agencies that are supporting the Washington Green Bus Project so they can apply for a $10 million federal stimulus grant.

It also wants to pay Exeltech Consulting up to $120,000 to inspect and oversee the Harper park-and-ride expansion project, up to $55,000 for more construction management work from URS Corporatoin on the Charleston/Main Base expansion project, $46,000 for more repairs to the Carlisle II, and up to $6,000 a month for Tom Luce Consulting to be a government relations consultant for another year on the Rich Passage passenger ferry project.

Memorial Day Ferry Travel Takes Planning, Waiting

Memorial Day marks the arrival of Washington State Ferries’ busy season. Expect waits Friday afternoon at eastside terminals as people escape to the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas for the three-day weekend and again Monday on this side as they return home.

The trickiest route will be Port Townsend-Keystone. With the Hood Canal Bridge closed, reservations have been booked far in advance. The boats are full for all sailings from Keystone on Frday, May 22, and for all sailings from Port Townsend on Monday, May 25. There are still sailings available for Saturday and Sunday in both directions. You can reserve a spot by going to www.wsdot.wa.gog/ferries. If a sailing appears in gray, there are no reservations available.

Customers can arrive at the terminal early to see if they can travel standby, but they might have to wait two or more sailings until space is available.

The Bainbridge and Kingston routes will operate on a holiday schedules on Monday, May 25. There will be no passenger-only service between Seattle and Vashon Island that day.

Joining the Parking Protestors

I wrote a story a few days ago about Mayor Bozeman wanting to find out how to reconnect Bremerton with shipyard workers and sailors. It elicited tons of comments, and the majority of them bitched about parking. Sign me up.

For forgetting that I was parked for three hours in front of our office, I got dinged $25 and then $45. It was hardly worth coming in to work.

I was only going to be in the office a little while before having to go out and cover a luncheon, so I thought I’d be lazy and park right in front. Then an apartment fire broke out over by the shipyard and I jumped in photographer Larry Steagall’s car and we raced over there. We got back and I was so engrossed with getting the story written that I totally forgot where I was parked until it was time to go on another assignment.

Seventy bucks for 3 hours. No wonder people don’t pay their tickets and then get their licenses suspended.

Ferries on Transportation Commission Agenda

The state Transportation Commission will hold its monthly meeting May 20-21 in Olympia. There are a couple ferry items on the agenda for May 21. At 1 p.m., there will be an overview of the legislative budget for Washington State Ferries. At 2 p.m., there will be a work session with ferry advisory committee leaders. They’re going to talk about the fare-setting process. Seven FAC members will make a presentation, including Joan Dingfield of Bremerton, and Walt Elliott and Dennis Cziske of Kingston. I’ll try to drop down and see if anything interesting pops up.

Don’t Try This At Home

A man was in serious condition Monday in New Zealand (it’s still only Sunday here) after apparently trying to leap back on to the wharf from a ferry. The boat was leaving Devonport for Auckland.

One of the boat’s crew members jumped into the water to help the man and kept the man’s head above water until rescue crews arrived. The 53-year-old suffered a head injury and needed to be resuscitated at the scene after his rescue.

Witnesses said the man rushed through an exit door ant tried to jump off the ferry, back on to the wharf, as it was leaving.

Ferry Folks Coming Soon to Your Town

If the legislative session wasn’t thrilling enough the first time around, Washington State Ferry officials will be coming around in June to recount it for us.

Actually, for the ferries anyway, there was some pretty interesting stuff to come out of the session, not the least of which is money to build some new boats. What they wanted and didn’t get was a long-term, sustainable funding source, which they’ll be working on next year. That’s the other half of the agenda.

Here is the local meeting schedule:

June 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m. –  Bremerton-Seattle, Kitsap Conference Center
June 8, 6:30-8:30p.m. –  Southworth, South Colby  Elementary  School
June 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m. –  Bainbridge-Seattle, Bainbridge Island Commons
June 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. –  Edmonds-Kingston, Kingston Community  Center
June 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.– Port  Townsend-Keystone, Pope Marine  Building

Kitsap Transit Tripling Harper Park-and-Ride

There’s a big to-do Monday for the groundbreaking of the Harper church park-and-ride lot expansion. Kitsap Transit sent out evites and everything.  Everybody who’s anybody was invited, plus me. But I can’t go because I’m working weekends this month and have Mondays off.

They’ve got 7 acres of undeveloped property out there and they’re going to turn it into 370 new spaces, more than tripling the 170 they have now. So when the new fast ferry starts, there’ll be plenty of room to park. Oh yeah, that got the kabosh several years ago. But there’ll still be lots of room for South Kitsapers, who have the darndest time getting car space on the boats, to park and ride down to the dock so they can walk on. The bad news is that the existing lot is closed for six months during construction.

Local guys Stan Palmer Construction of Port Orchard can roll out of bed to the site after winning the $2 million job. State and federal grants are paying for the project.

Stuck on the Rock

Two days after the Rhododendron came back from emergency repairs, it’s on the fritz again. This is why the ferry system wants to make the 62-year-old boat the next one to be retired, but it has to gut it out for at least a couple more years before a replacement is available.

Two round trips this afternoon have been canceled “until necessary repairs are made” as people try to get back and forth from south Vashon Island after Mother’s Day get-togethers. The 34-car Hiyu generally fills in for the 56-car Rhododendron, but that call hasn’t been made yet, as of 4 p.m. Sunday. Not to mention it’s not big enough to handle the traffic.

And by the way, you can get off The Rock. Go north. All roads lead to another ferry dock.