Little change occurs down here when the fall ferry schedule
flips over to winter. It’s pretty much a San Juans deal. On Sunday,
service to Sidney, British Columbia, will be suspended. Weekend
service will drop to three boats but remain at four on
weekends. And there are a few other minor tweaks.
One thing West Sounders might want to take note of, however, is
the extension of reservations to the San Juans. Many of us try to
get up there occasionally. We can now use a reservation system to
ensure we’re not sitting for hours waiting to get on a boat. It’s
good for customers because travel is predictable and it helps
the ferries system by spreading demand from peak travel times
to less crowded sailings.
Check out the Save A Spot
The reservations program is growing. It started out
with the Canada-Anacortes route, then spread to Port
Townsend-Coupeville. After Washington State Ferries lost license
tab funding 15 years ago, it figured it couldn’t keep building
bigger boats and terminals. It needed to make better use of the
ones it has. Reservations help in that regard. If you can look up
and find that the next two sailings are full, you won’t sit at the
dock waiting. So the dock won’t get so full. You can pop to the
terminal a few minutes before your reservation and not waste a lot
I don’t know how it would work down here on the commuter
oriented routes. Maybe someday we’ll see.
Changes are coming to the Kitsap Transit board next year.
Ed Wolfe, in his first meeting of any type as a Kitsap County
commissioner Tuesday, was named vice-chairman of the board. Wolfe,
who beat Linda Streissguth in November, took over the position
early because Streissguth had been appointed instead of elected. He
was the only choice for vice chair because the other two county
commissioners, Rob Gelder and Charlotte Garrido, had recently
served as chairs.
The chairmanship switches every two years between county and city
representatives. Bremerton mayor Patty Lent will move up from vice
chair to replace Gelder next month. She’s a huge proponent of
cross-sound fast ferries, which will be a major topic in 2015.
Gelder, chairing his final meeting, chose Bainbridge Island
councilman Steve Bonkowski as the at-large board member.
Bonkowski replaces Port Orchard councilman Rob Putaansuu, who’s
served in the at-large role ever since it was created four years
ago. A sharp and nice guy, he did a great job, though his name is
hard to spell. Before that, Bremerton had three people on the
board — the mayor and two council members. That’s now down to two.
The at-large rep is from one of the three smaller cities.
With Putaansuu, the Port Orchard had four people involved in Kitsap
Transit leadership. Councilman John Clauson is the transit
executive director, councilman Jeff Cartwright the transit human
resources director, and Mayor Tim Matthes and Puttaansuu were on
Beginning in January, board study sessions and meetings will be
held on the first Tuesday at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively,
instead of the third Tuesday at 9 and 10:15. Subcommittee meetings
will be the third Tuesday at 8 for ferries, 9 for planning and 10
Gov. Jay Inslee will outline a new transportation revenue plan
tomorrow for the Legislature to consider during its 2015 session.
It will be held in conjunction with an event marking completion of
the Highway 520 Eastside transit and HOV project at 10:30 a.m. at
the new Evergreen Point road lid. It’ll be televised by TVW.
Inslee’s office, in an announcement today to announce tomorrow’s
announcement, said the multi-billion-dollar package would fund
safety, maintenance and preservation projects, finish highway
improvements that would provide jobs, traffic relief and economic
development, and invest in multimodal programs that provide more
travel options. The package also includes accountability and reform
measures to ensure projects are delivered on time and on
Reforms were given as the major deal-breaker in an attempt to
pass a package last session. The House approved a plan. The Senate,
which was hung up on the reforms, had one but never brought it to a
It’ll be interesting to see how Inslee’s plan
With the National
Weather Service predicting up to 70 mph gusts over the next day,
how fast must the wind be blowing before the state shuts down the
Hood Canal Bridge? I vaguely remembered it being 35 mph over a
sustained period, not just a gust here and there.
Wrong, said DOT spokeswoman Claudia Bingham-Baker. More likely
than not, opening the draw span wouldn’t have anything to do with
the bridge itself. What happens, she explained, is when winds reach
30 mph for 15 minutes, an alarm sounds. Bridge crews are
dispatched to watch how it responds to the waves. It will
react differently depending on the wind’s direction. If it
gets too bouncy, they can open the draw span and relieve
The world’s third-longest floating bridge withstands winds
better since the east side was replaced in 2009, Bingham-Baker
said. Wonder if it would withstood a pounding like took place on
Feb. 13, 1979.
Winds gusting from the southwest at up to 120 mph aligned
exactly with the direction of the canal. I can’t even imagine 120
mph winds or remember where I was. In the natural wind tunnel, the
bridge was the only object resisting. Waves 10 to 15 feet high
crashed against it for hours, until finally the western floating
Today, it’s more likely the span would be opened and traffic
stopped because drivers can’t stay in their lanes and are
freaked out by splashing waves than fear that the storm will
damage the bridge, Bingham-Baker said.
Oddly, it took winds of just 40 mph to blow down the first
Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Nov. 7, 1940. It was just four months old.
It’s used as an example of a major engineering failure because
it had some vertical plates that caught the wind and
caused it to sway violently.