Tag Archives: Edmonds

Motorcycle loading rules on ferries no different on holidays

The in basket: My stepdaughter Ronda Armstrong and I had need to drive to Blaine on July 3, the Friday of a holiday weekend. Because of the prospects for heavy end of the workweek and start of the holiday traffic, we took the Kingston ferry.

Arriving on time for the 8:30 a.m. departure from Kingston, we drove right on without waiting. But after getting off in Edmonds, we drove past miles of cars waiting to go west to Kingston.

Ronda, a budding motorcyclist, wondered if motorcycles (and bicycles) get the same preferential treatment under the conditions we saw that morning as they do at other times. She also wondered if there is a limit to how many motorcyclists would be thus accommodated per departure.

The out basket: Yes, says Susan Harris-Huether of Washington State Ferries. Specific to Edmonds, “She (would go) to the lower lot (past the railroad tracks) and she either has to get off her bike and go in to buy a ticket or hopefully, she pre-buys on line so she can just be scanned and get in line.  “So yes, she bypasses the line.”

Motorcycles and bicycles get preferential loading at all state ferry terminals, at all times, though logistics vary with each terminal.

I had included State Trooper Russ Winger in asking the question, and he said, “That is my understanding also. Motorcycles and bikes also bypass the tally system in Kingston when in effect.

“I believe the ferries take as many bikes and motorcycles as arrive on time for departure,” he said.

Edmonds terminal vs. Colman Dock

The in basket: Michael Drouin writes, “Any idea when (the state) plans to replace the Edmonds ferry terminal?

“The legislature is funding WSDOT to replace Colman Dock, Shouldn’t Edmonds come before?” he asked.

The out basket: Michael doesn’t say why he thinks that, but plans to relocate the Edmonds terminal have been scratched.

“There is no funding currently to replace the terminal,” says Susan Harris-Huether of the state ferries public affairs staff, “and we are no longer pursuing Edmonds Crossing, which (would have) relocated the ferry terminal to the Unocal / Chevron property, because of costs.

“Washington State replaced the terminal building at Edmonds in 1999. We are not slated to replace the trestle (on which cars move from the dock to the ferry and vice versa) for at least another 12 years or so.

“The terminal building in Seattle was built in 1966,” she said. “Since the building in Seattle is over 40 years old and sees 40 percent of the (systems) traffic, it makes sense to replace it .”

Trains have right of way over Edmonds ferries

The in basket: On one of my rare trips aboard the Kingston-Edmonds ferry this spring, I was signaled by a deckhand to got forward to offload at Edmonds, only to be forced to stop before I got off the boat.

It was clear to see why. A train was crossing from north to south on the tracks that cross in front of the terminal, interrupting the offload.

I thought that with offloading so close to complete, it would make more sense to stop the train to prevent the ferry’s running late.

It took me a beat to realize the whole on-loading process also would have to be finished before stopping the train would do any good.

But I asked the ferry officials if that’s an option when a train shows up when loading the ferry is nearly complete.

The out basket: Marta Coursey of Washington State Ferries said, “(We) routinely work with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) on coordinating our ferry schedule with their train schedule. Thirty-six trains use the tracks daily, and we have 22 to 26 daily sailings out of Edmonds depending on the day of the week

“In spite of our best efforts, traffic volumes and service disruptions are unpredictable, and BNSF does have the right-of-way, so it’s inevitable that there are times when ferry traffic will be held up. We continue communications with our transportation partners and remain committed to constantly improving our related service schedule.”