Monthly Archives: April 2016

Realtor group comes out against fast ferry plan

The Kitsap County Association of Realtors, a strong supporter of past passenger-only ferry efforts, won’t back the plan Kitsap Transit is putting on the November ballot.

Association executive Mike Eliason said the organization’s government affairs committee listened to presentations Monday from Kitsap Transit executive director John Clauson and Poulsbo mayor Becky Erickson, a transit board member and POF foe.

“We’re going to be opposing the ballot initiative during this election cycle,” Eliason concluded. “It’s obviously a big change for us because we’ve been big supporters of passenger-only ferries and I think we can continue to be, but we’re not great fans of this particular plan.”

The 18-person committee was concerned about the boats themselves. Members worried about the foil-assisted Rich Passage 1’s endurance, and the potential for Rich Passage shoreline owners to knock it out with another lawsuit. They also believe adequate fare recovery would require larger boats than the proposed 150-passenger ferries for Kingston and 250-seaters for Southworth.

“You can take two days of passengers on one run of the car ferries,” Eliason said.

Bottom line, the plan fails the cost-benefit analysis, he said.

“For $460 million, our committee members wondered if it was worth the cost when the largest percent of those people (who would ride the POF) already are using the (state) ferries now,” he said. “It’s just a matter of convenience.”

The service would accommodate a maximum of 1,100 riders a day, who would be subsidized by the county’s other 260,000 residents, he said.

“It ultimately comes down to almost half a billion dollar financial commitment, and it’s risky,” Eliason said. “We’re still very much supportive of the passenger-only ferry concept, but not this particular ballot measure.

Several association realtors are high on the plan, including some who are part of a committee formed to support it, but they’re not on the government affairs committee, Eliason said.

The Realtors were the first group to publicly support or oppose the ferry plan.

Docks would probably be changed for ferry sister ship

admiralpete

Kitsap Transit passenger ferry Admiral Pete will have a sister ship, but not a twin sister ship. Officials earlier decided the boat would be built of metal instead of wood, and hybrid-powered instead of by diesel.

Another difference was discussed during the passenger-only ferry subcommittee meeting Tuesday. The new boat’s freeboard — the distance from the water line to the deck — will be 17 inches higher than the boats now in service, higher than the docks can handle.

Bremerton’s Art Anderson Associates engineers were hired to suggest solutions. Either the boat will have to be modified for about $40,000 or the Port Orchard and Bremerton docks altered for $80,000 to $90,000. The ferry would need to have a chunk cut out, exposing a beam, which would have to be kept covered so water doesn’t splash in. The docks could be made adjustable to accommodate any boat.

“The direction the staff suggested is let’s deal with the docks and leave the boat as originally designed,” Clauson said. “That’s the recommendation.”

There are reasons for the different freeboards, Clauson said. They include design changes to improve safety and efficiency, revised Coast Guard regulations and better access to the engines.

The agency hopes the ferry will be halfway built by the end of the year.

Also Tuesday:

* The POF subcommittee heard that Port of Bremerton commissioners are expected next Tuesday to approve the sale of the Annapolis Dock to Kitsap Transit. The deal will take about 60 days to close.

A new ADA-accessible pier won’t be designed and ready to be built until about mid-2019. It would be completed by the end of 2020.

* It appears the fast ferry Rich Passage I won’t be giving demonstration rides. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido broached the idea last month to offer rides during Armed Forces Day weekend so citizens could get a look at what they’ll be voting on in November.

There are too many hurdles, however, including satisfying the state Public Disclosure Commission that it’s not a sales pitch and finding somebody besides Kitsap Transit to pay for it.

Lent and Garrido said Tuesday if they can’t offer rides, maybe they could hold one or more of the agency’s quarterly community meetings on the fast ferry in June. It would remain docked. Discussions will continue.

* The agency’s 2016-2036 long-range transit plan will be adopted at the board’s June 7 meeting. People can comment until May 16 to edwardc@kitsaptransit.com.

Bremerton city councilman Richard Huddy offered comments about it Tuesday. He’d like to see more buses connecting cities and not just moving within cities. Worker-driver buses that sit all day at the shipyard are inefficient, he said. Use them on regular routes that emphasize PSNS.

There are security obstacles to prevent that, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome, Clauson said.

Huddy added that park-and-ride lots, especially outside Bremerton, should be expanded so more shipyard workers and ferry riders can park there and take the bus.