Tag Archives: terminal

Timing of signals at BI ferry explained

The in basket: Dave Richards of Bainbridge Island writes, “It seems several months ago, the timing of the traffic light at the corner of 305 and Winslow Way near the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal was ‘reset’ so that it stays green until pretty much all the vehicles have driven off the ferry and onto 305.

“This has caused huge backups near the terminal and leaves many cars trapped in the Diamond Parking lots for upwards of 20 minutes or more.  Would you have any information as to what’s going on?”

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways says the change was made November of 2012, and “the signal system is configured to give off-loading ferry traffic three minutes of uninterrupted green time at both Harborview Drive and Winslow Way between 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. each weekday.

“After three minutes, the signal then cycles to allow all other phases to proceed (vehicles and pedestrians) at both intersections. Then it returns to the three-minute phase for off-loading the ferry. Rarely will a weekday sailing between 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. completely unload in 3 minutes,” she said.

The other directions at those two signals get 123 minutes of green time combined for cross-traffic and pedestrians between the three-minute time spans, depending on the detection of traffic.

The three-minutes for off-loading ferry traffic, both the first one and the second one, aren’t reliant on traffic detection and run all 180 seconds.

“Since 2008,” she added, “at the request of Ferries, we have tried various signal timing scenarios to more effectively balance the needs of local traffic with off-loading ferry traffic. This current operation seems to work pretty well.

“After we received your question, we checked the system to ensure it was operating as programmed, and it was,” she said.


Details of Southworth ferry terminal work still six months away

The in basket: In July, there was a story in the Kitsap Sun that said Washington State Ferries had been granted $20.9 million to replace the Southworth ferry terminal.

The work is scheduled to begin in 2015 and continue into 2018. The article didn’t say if ferries could still land there during the work, or if the run would be closed for all that time.

I also wondered in the replanking of the vehicle holding area on the dock, done several years ago, would be preserved during the work.

The out basket: Joy Goldenberg, spokeswoman for the ferry system, replied to my inquiry, saying, “I spoke to our terminal engineering department and we are too early on in the planning efforts to answer your questions. When we identify our construction alternative, targeted for spring 2013, we will be able to answer these questions.”

So I guess we’ll have a couple of years to get ready for whatever will happen when the work starts in 2015.

‘No Idle Zone’ signs sprout at ferry terminals

The in basket:  I noticed a sign I’d never spotted before on the railing at the Southworth ferry terminal while waiting for the ferry one recent Sunday.

“No idle zone,” it said. “Waiting? Turn off engine.”

Idling one’s car unnecessarily is a known pollution cause, so the reason for the sign wasn’t hard to imagine. But I wondered if I’d simply overlooked it before, whether Southworth was the only terminal displaying it and whether disobeying it could incur a fine.

The out basket: Marta Coursey of the ferry system says, “The ‘No Idle Zone’ signs were installed within the last year system-wide (at every terminal) at the specific request of Assistant Secretary David Moseley.

“We have received a number of customer and community comments about the issues around idling cars for long periods of time, including the discomfort of our customers and the related air pollution in the surrounding communities.

“Mr. Moseley charged our terminal department with posting the signs in order to encourage our customers to stop idling their cars unnecessarily. They are advisory signs and we do not enforce the policy.”