Speeding motorcycles and traffic control at Fauntleroy ferry

The in basket: A couple of questions arose in my mind as I went to Seattle and returned via the Fauntleroy ferry terminal one September Saturday.

As I left the dock on my way to a play in Seattle, I found a ferry employee directing traffic, stopping traffic passing by so departing vehicles didn’t have to stop before pulling out.

Then on my return trip, I watched as the off-loading began on the boat that had just arrived and that I was waiting to catch.

As always, motorcycles were the first to be released. I’d guess there were about a dozen. I could only estimate from my vantage point two lanes over, but my estimate is that each and every one was traveling 40 miles per hour or faster. They were traveling much faster than any of the cars that followed them.

The last I’d heard about traffic control at the dock’s outlet onto Fauntleroy Way, from a reader who wondered a couple of years ago if a traffic signal might be installed there, was that there was none. I asked when it resumed.

And I asked if there is a speed limit on ferry docks that would support a traffic citation.

The out basket: Hadley Rodero, a consultant for Washington State Ferries, replied, “All WSF terminals have speed limit signs. Depending on the location, typically the exiting speed is between 10-20 mph.”

State Trooper Russ Winger, who speaks for the State Patrol here, including the Vessel and Terminal (VATS) units, says, “VATS assigned troopers, like any trooper, can enforce any speed limit, however they are usually out of the patrol car, patrolling the terminal or providing security on vessels and not in any position to check a vehicles speed with radar or Lidar.

“Do they sit in the terminal area and target speeding vehicles debarking vessels? No. If  there is a vehicle driving negligently a trooper can obviously try and make contact but that is not the main emphasis of VATS assigned troopers. However, VATStroopers can and will take any enforcement action required if appropriate. ”

“Traffic control at Fauntleroy started on July 27,” Hadley said. “During the fall/winter seasons the hours are: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.” Evidently, Saturdays have some, too, as Sept. 26 is when I was there.

2 thoughts on “Speeding motorcycles and traffic control at Fauntleroy ferry

  1. In my opinion, even though there are speed limit signs at the ferry terminals, they are very seldom ever going to be enforced, simply due to the fact that there is not enough resources to post law enforcement around the ferries to stop speeders. Yes on occasion you will see a trooper there doing parked vehicle inspections with the K-9 unit, but I doubt they will stop their inspections to chase down a speeder when most of the time they slow down after they get a distance away from the ferries. Also all those who work around the ferries want the vehicles to hurry up and get off the ferry so that they can prevent a backup that in turn cause a ferry schedule to run behind and most of those who commute rely on those schedules to stay on time. Also those motorcycles that seem to be speeding off the ferries may not be traveling as fast as people think. They at times appear to be speeding until you ride one and realize that they are doing the speed limit. But in the end a cop is not going to pull one over for doing a couple miles over the limit. Drive safe

  2. I live on Fauntleroy Way in West Seattle and I can guarantee you that many of the motorcyclists who come off of the ferry in the morning are not only speeding, they are speeding *excessively*. Conveniently, there is a speed tracker posted just south of the elementary school there and I have regularly seen motorcycles clock 60+ mph on Fauntleroy. Not only are there speeding motorcyclists, many of them pass vehicles on both the left and right all the way down Fauntleroy, even when there is one lane of traffic. This is a serious problem in our neighborhood.

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