All must be well among state ferry riders, considering few
bothered to attend the latest round of community meetings,
I finally caught up with Washington State Ferries director David
Moseley and his roving band last week in Bremerton. Four or five
others joined me in the Fountain Room. They more than doubled the
Southworth crowd, which was a ferry advisory member and
Much of the discussion revolved around work along the Seattle
waterfront. It’s going to be an ever-changing mess there for the
better part of a decade, with the tunnel and seawall and Colman
People are getting used to the Mother’s Day dock detour, said
Department of Transportation spokeswoman Linea Laird. It was the
first big change getting to the ferries in 20 years. They had to
tweak signage and traffic lights, but it seems to be working
“We know it’s a big deal,” Laird said of getting around the
construction. “It’s going to be out there for a while, and we have
the opportunity to make it better.”
It’s a massive coordination effort, Moseley said. WSF, the city,
county, port and DOT meet every other week. They’re still going to
miss stuff, and Laird asked for public help when that happens.
“Have some patience and give us some feedback,” she said.
This year they’ll be digging huge pits about two miles apart. Next
spring they’ll float in a huge drill rig from Japan and start
digging from pit to pit. The tunnel is expected to be opened to
traffic the end of 2015. Then the viaduct will be razed.
That’s about when they’ll start renovating Colman Dock. It won’t be
shut down. They’ll have to work around the ferry operation.
Construction should be completed in 2020. Now they’re going through
the environmental process. The estimated cost is $210 million.
A new bicycle lane is ready to go, but it’s being blocked by
construction. It’s an automated, card-reading gate that will save
WSF money. A bicycle commuter Thursday said it’s too far north and
puts bicyclists among crazy drivers. Moseley said give it a chance
and see what happens.
“If it’s not working, we’ll make it work,” he said.
Moseley gave an update on ferry construction. Two 144-car boats
will replace Evergreen State-class ferries, which can carry 87
cars. That swap will increase capacity without adding to the number
The first 144-car ferry is under construction. It will be delivered
in early 2014 and be operating by spring of that year. The second
one will follow about a year later. The cost of the first one is
$115 for construction and $145 overall. For the second, it’s $129
million and $109 million, respectively.
The state Legislature and governor this year gave Washington
State Ferries 17 performance measures it has to start reporting.
They include things like terminal and vessel projects completed on
time and on budget, limiting crew and passenger injuries, passenger
satisfaction, operating costs per mile, overtime, fuel consumption,
vessel out-of-service time, on-time performance and trip
The ferry system doesn’t view it as government sticking its nose
into its business.
“I think it’s great,” Moseley said. “It’s important to me that the
public knows there’s a standard we’re held to. I think we’re going
to meet or exceed them, and it’ll be a transparent way for us to
show to our customers how we’re doing.”
There’s one more local meeting, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at
Kingston Community Center, 11212 Highway 104. They usually draw a
bigger crowd up there.