There’s going to be a whole lot of construction going on in and
around Colman Dock the next decade.
With the Alaskan Way Viaduct coming down, a tunnel being bored and
a seawall being replaced, it’s going to be a mess getting to and
from the Seattle ferries.
And it won’t just be the roads. Colman Dock itself is resting on
73-year-old wooden pilings. They don’t last forever, no matter how
much creosote you slop on them. They need to be replaced by
concrete pilings. That’ll start happening in late 2015 or 2016,
Washington State Ferries director David Moseley said during a
Bremerton community meeting Monday night. A good deal of the
terminal will go by the wayside. The work will run through 2020, he
said. The state expects to get lots of federal money for the
project because it’s multimodal, the “in” thing these days.
There will be a lot of detours for ferry users.
“It’s going to be problematic for a while,” Moseley said. “Our big
concern is access. We want to make sure our customers have good
access to the ferry terminal.”
The Department of Transportation owns a lot of property down there
– Pier 52 (Colman Dock), Pier 50 (the passenger-only ferry dock)
and Pier 48 – and waterfront planners have their eyes on it. They
have plotted four areas for “public congregation,” and DOT owns two
of them, Moseley said. They’re talking about building a rooftop
park on Colman Dock, plus doing something at Pier 48, where that
old Russian sub and the Princess Marguerite used to be.
I’ll never forget as a six-grader at East Port Orchard Elementary
getting up at 4 in the morning to ride the ocean liner to Victoria,
visiting the Empress and museum, riding the double-decker bus, then
coming home late that same night as some sort of field trip. That
was so cool. I still have postcards somewhere, unless they were
thrown out with my baseball cards.
Anyway, Moseley said the new generation of ocean liner riders need
more to do than watch salmon being thrown at Pike Place Market, and
bringing them down to the dock could be a good thing. They could
hop a ferry to Bremerton and spend all kinds of money here.
“Colman Dock has challenges, but I think it might well work to
create quite a focal point and bring in a lot of visitors,” he
said. “It’s an opportunity to attract visitors and tourists
to the south end of the waterfront and encourage people to take
Moseley said Pier 50, where the Kingston and King County
passenger-only ferries dock now, won’t be there for them
indefinitely, but they probably can use it five or six more
Bremerton mayor Patty Lent and ferry commuter Joan Dingfield
wondered whether a passenger-only ferry dock should be part of
Seattle’s waterfront planning. It’s funny how, against all odds, so
many people assume there’ll be a Seattle-Bremerton passenger-only
ferry. While it’d be nice to reach Seattle in half an hour, there
is no fast ferry invented that can get through Rich Passage without
tearing up the beaches. Kitsap Transit is working on one, and we
should know within a year if it works. Even if it does, though,
there’s no money to operate it, and residents haven’t shown any
desire to pitch in, twice voting down transportation districts.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Port of Kingston’s SoundRunner
passenger-only service pans out. Unlike Bremerton, it doesn’t have
to worry about beaches, operating money and competing against state
ferries. It can concentrate on just getting riders.
Other tidbits from Monday night:
The crew for the second 64-car ferry, the Salish, started training
with it Monday. WSF hopes to have it in service on the Port
Townsend-Coupeville route by the Fourth of July Weekend. It wants
to get the third and final 64-car boat, the Kennewick, working the
south end of Vashon by Christmas.
The first new 144-car ferry is supposed to bump the 57-year-old
Evergreen State into retirement, but Moseley said he’s hoping to
keep it as the backup boat. The exiting backup, the Hiya, is 13
years newer but can only carry 34 cars. The Evergreen State can
take 87 vehicles and unlike the Hiyu, is practical on most of the