Why can’t you drive up to the Bremerton ferry terminal?

The in basket: A common complaint over the years has been the inaccessibility of the deck of the Bremerton Transportation Center, which you may think of as the ferry terminal, to private automobiles.
Connie Cunningham and Kyle Rosland were the most recent readers to bring it up, both in the past two months.
“It is very unfriendly for pedestrians,” said Connie, “and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said the same thing.


The in basket: A common complaint over the years has been the inaccessibility of the deck of the Bremerton Transportation Center, which you may think of as the ferry terminal, to private automobiles.
Connie Cunningham and Kyle Rosland were the most recent readers to bring it up, both in the past two months.
“It is very unfriendly for pedestrians,” said Connie, “and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said the same thing. You have all kinds of people with the pleasure of getting off the ferry and walking in the rain and there is so much confusion as to ‘Where can I pick you up?’. It’s the same with dropping someone off. Just what I want to do is get all dressed up, and walk in the rain to get to Seattle.
“It is quite a walk if you are carrying a a child or bunch of bags,” she concluded.
Kyle wrote in December, “A few weeks ago I was dropping a friend off at the ferry terminal and I was trapped in the
‘transit lane’ and forced to drive up on the deck of the ferry terminal. I was pulled over and got a $124 ticket for not
obeying the law ‘do not enter’ but that sign doesn’t exist in
that area. I’m fighting the ticket because I don’t think I did anything wrong. (He lost and had to pay).
“Since this happened I’ve seen other people drive up on
the deck and not get ticketed. Just today, I saw what
looked like an elderly couple drive up there and
were told to leave but the officer didn’t ticket them.”
Kitsap Transit got the BTC built, so I asked its executive director, Richard Hayes, for a comprehensive explanation of the access rules there.
The out basket: A lot of the answer springs from the fact that federal transit dollars paid for the terminal.
“There is no question that the BTC is designed to give bus riders an advantage in the form of greater convenience,” Richard said. “It is a deliberate aspect of the terminal and a deliberate condition of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding we received to build the terminal that we have these restrictions.
“Nonetheless,”he said, it has been transit’s practice to allow individual cars with the elderly and disabled, and not just those who have the handicapped placard, to use a portion of the BTC deck to get closer.”
He said there were signs saying so before the downtown tunnel project tore up Pacific Avenue, but I never saw them.
“We expect things will be better once the tunnel construction is finished,” he said. “First, the signs will go back up. Secondly, there will be a gate we can use during rush-hour, when we know from experience there clearly would be a substantial conflict between buses and cars on the deck. But this gate could remain open at non-peak hours for auto access.
“We have not worked out all the details on this. We might provide access cards to frequent disabled and elderly users of the deck or we might install a communications system whereby drivers of single occupant vehicles could tell us they have their disabled great-aunt with them and would like to drop her off on the deck.
“Some combination should make it somewhat easier for people who have a legitimate need to get up on the deck in their personal cars during rush-hour. At other times of the day, we could grant more open access to the back tier of the deck, which would still put people on the upper level and quite close to the terminal.
“In the meantime, we are completing installation of a covered walkway that will run from the current end of the covering on the Harborside Building (near the Anthony’s sign) to the terminal. That will allow the people using the Kiss ‘N Ride on Second Street, or elsewhere in that vicinity, to stay dry all the way from the Washington Avenue edge of the Harborside Building to the terminal.
(In the next Road Warrior, Richard expounds on the philosophy underlying the transit policy)

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