Category Archives: Ferries

Time for another bridge?

Bainbridge Island Mayor Ann Blair, left, and I during a live video chat with Ed Friedrich.
Bainbridge Island Mayor Ann Blair and I during a live video chat with Ed Friedrich.

Kitsap Sun transportation reporter Ed Friedrich and I had a live video discussion with Mayor Anne Blair on Thursday evening about the future of Agate Pass Bridge and Highway 305 congestion.

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it to the live chat, we recorded the conversation and you can watch it below from the Kitsap Sun’s YouTube channel.

Agate Pass Bridge down to one lane for three weeks


Agate Pass Bridge will be down to one lane for 21 days starting Feb. 9 for cleaning and inspection.

One lane will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to Washington State Department of Transportation.

The bridge, which was built in 1950 and is more than 1,000 feet long, has about 22,000 vehicles cross a day

Bainbridge Island Mayor Anne Blair assured residents the council voiced their concern with WSDOT, along with Poulsbo city officials and the Suquamish Tribe, about traffic issues.

“The cries of ‘Are you kidding?’ and ‘Can you do something else?’ were loud,” Blair said. “They are certainly aware of the difficulties.”

Work cannot be done at night, because of safety and efficiency concerns, WSDOT said.

Workers will remove “yards of hardened debris and animal droppings by hand, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.”

WSDOT has to remove the debris by hand, unless it can “fully encase” the bridge to meet water quality standards. The full-encasement requirement is too expensive for WSDOT, the agency said, and cleaning the bridge is the affordable alternative that meets the Clean Water Act requirements.

Crews also will repair and patch the bridge and roadway, sealing joints, replacing rivets and repairing damaged rails and walkway railing. If possible, they will remove rust from the bridge, too.

Bicyclists and pedestrians will be “escorted” across the bridge while work is being done, and “accommodations” will be made for emergency vehicles.

While the Chilly Hilly bike route does not go across the bridge, those going to the event Feb. 22 should expect delays.

The work is done in February to avoid the peregrine falcon nesting period. The falcon is a protected species and have historically nested on the bridge. February also has less traffic than summer months.

Freezing rain and snow could delay work on the bridge, which hasn’t been cleaned since 1991. It is inspected every two years, requiring lane closures then as well. It was last inspected in 2013.

Help us rank the top 10 Islander stories of 2014

The tugboat Pacific Knight helps maneuver the state ferry Tacoma to the Bainbridge Island dock after it lost power while making the 12:20 p.m. sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge on July 29, 2014. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

We are asking readers to rank the top Bainbridge Islander stories from this past year in a survey. The top 10 will be posted on this blog.

You can take the survey here.

If you need to refresh your memory on a story,  they are listed below in no particular order with links:


Bainbridge police warn Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord, Civic owners

Due to a recent uptick in crime, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner is urging owners of older Honda Accords and Civics, as well as owners of Subaru Legacy cars, to ensure that their vehicle is locked when they park it near or at the Bainbridge ferry terminal.

Models of the vehicles from 1995 to 2005 are being targeted the most.

Investigators believe the suspect or suspects drive to Bainbridge in a stolen car, park the vehicle on the island, walk on a Seattle ferry as a passenger and return later to Bainbridge to steal a different vehicle.

Police believe the thieves are able to steal the Honda and Subaru vehicles with little trouble because of their knowledge of the cars’ equipment.

Hamner said owners of these car models who park within proximity of the ferry need to be especially diligent in locking their cars and aware of their surroundings.

“Sometimes a few simple steps to secure your belongings can be enough to deter theft,” said Hamner, who has strong leads in the case.

According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the Seattle-Bainbridge route in 2013 transported 6.3 million people, including 3 million walk-on passengers – more than any other Washington State Ferry route.

Friday preview: Bainbridge edition

Here’s the Friday preview: Bainbridge edition for Nov. 30. Feel free to give your events a plug in the comment section below. Above, Jeannie Passmore takes a walk through the Ace Hardware parking lot Tuesday with miniature horse Icey, Australian cattle dog puppy Howdy, and Scottish terrier JJ . (Tad Sooter photo)

Weather: The National Weather Service predicts rain showers through the weekend with temperatures in the mid 40s to low 50s.

Sports: Boys swimming hosts Ingraham at 3:30 p.m. Boys basketball plays North Kitsap at 3:45 p.m. in the Commodore Gym.

Girls basketball plays South Kitsap at 7 p.m. in the main gym. Wrestling travels to Kingston on Saturday for an 8 a.m. match.

See a full Spartans schedule here, and follow the Sun’s Prepzone on Facebook for updates.

What’s Happening:

  • Looking for a “loverly” night out? Ovation!s’ “My Fair Lady” opens tonight at the Bainbridge High School Theater. The show continues through Dec. 16; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.
  • Two holiday tours return to the island this weekend. The Winter Studio Tour marks its 29th year with more than 70 artists in 10 venues. The tour runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Christmas in the Country also runs Friday through Sunday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Bainbridge Brewing Company will be featured in the debut edition of “Cruising Kitsap,” a BKAT show highlighting popular hangouts around the county. “Cruising” premiers at 1 p.m. Saturday and can be seen at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. To suggest venues for upcoming shows, email
  • Pick up this week’s Islander for more event listings and tell us about your events in the comment section below.

Inside the Islander: Michael Moore goes behind the scenes of “My Fair Lady.”

The week in review:

Coming Up: Bainbridge Weed Warriors are educating the public about the dark side of a popular holiday decoration.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the week. Contact Bainbridge reporter Tad Sooter at

Meet the city manager, talk ferries in Winslow tonight

Civic-minded islanders have a busy dance card tonight. They can choose between a potluck and discussion with new City Manager Doug Schulze or a Washington State Ferries community meeting.

Discussion group VillageSpeak will hold a dinner forum with Schulze beginning at 6:30

p.m. at OfficeXpats in the Bainbridge Pavilion. The conversation will include opening remarks by the city manager, a moderated discussion and a Q&A session with the audience.

The event is free but attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share and a $5 donation. A standing reception will follow the discussion at 8:30 p.m. Schulze (pictured) joined the city on Nov. 5. He previously served as manager of Normandy Park.

Another meeting will take place across town at the same time. WSF brings its traveling community outreach tour to Bainbridge at 6 p.m. in the Art Museum.

Ferries chief David Moseley will discuss the upcoming legislative session, staffing issues and other topics. This is a good time for ferry riders to bring forward questions and complaints. WSF already held a meeting in Bremerton, where proposed service cuts are a hot topic.

Tad Sooter photos

Friday preview: Bainbridge edition

Here’s the Friday preview: Bainbridge edition for Nov. 16. Feel free to give your events a plug in the comment section below. Above, island artist Kristy Tonti paints a holiday scene on a Winslow Way shop window Monday. (Tad Sooter photo)


Weather: It looks like we’re back to our regularly scheduled fall weather. The National Weather Service predicts clouds and rain showers this weekend with temperatures in the 40s.

Sports: Spartans hoopsters don’t get much of a holiday. The boys basketball sees its first action at a South Kitsap High School jamboree at 7 p.m. Saturday.  The girls start their season at Bremerton Monday and wrestling visits North Kitsap for a tournament Wednesday.

See a full Spartans schedule here, and follow the Sun’s Prepzone on Facebook for updates.

Around the island:

  • The post-Thanksgiving weekend calendar is a little sparse, but there are a few events worth checking out around town. The Winslow Mall will debut a giant inflatable snow globe today (pictured sans snow), which shoppers can climb inside of. The attraction is a fundraiser for the July Street Dance and will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each weekend during the holiday season.
  • Pick up this week’s Islander for more event listings and tell us about your events in the comment section below.

Inside the Islander: Young Bainbridge filmmakers hope t0 make second season of their web-based sitcom.

The week in review:

Coming Up: Check the Kitsap Sun today for photos from the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the week. Contact Bainbridge reporter Tad Sooter at

WSF mulling options for taxis at Bainbridge terminal

As we reported earlier this month, the Bainbridge City Council wants Washington State Ferries to consider moving the taxi waiting area away from the front entrance of the Bainbridge terminal.

WSF is taking the request seriously.

Ferries director David Moseley plans to meet with city representatives to discuss congestion at the terminal, WSF spokeswoman Marta Coursey said in an email Tuesday. Coursey said ferry planners are evaluating a few options to share with the city.

The council asked WSF to consider relocating the taxi waiting area after hearing from islanders who said it was difficult to load and unload at the terminal. Taxis, shuttle buses and private vehicles share a narrow lane north of the building. Traffic crawls through the  zone during busy commuter hours and taxis queuing along the curb outside the entrance make it tricky to drop off walk-on passengers near the door.

“It’s something that I consider to be an obvious issue,” Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos said Aug. 16. “I mean, I don’t know where we’re supposed to park to pick up our grandmas.”

You can read a draft of the city’s letter to WSF here.

‘Welcome to Bainbridge’ park design unveiled

A newly-unveiled design image provides a good hint at what it will be like to walk through the ‘Welcome to Bainbridge’ park planned for the island’s busiest intersection.

Read more about the park planning effort here.

And head down below to see more of the park.

What do you think of the design?

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A buck will get you the state’s most celebrated ferry

So it’s come to this. The Kalakala, an iconic art deco ferry that once had its own swing band and full-service restaurant, is now worth less than a cup of drip coffee.

With no prospects for saving the ailing vessel, the owner has put it up for sale for only a dollar.

Retired its longtime Bremerton-Seattle run in the late 1960s, the ferry was shipped up to Alaska where it served as a floating seafood processing plant until it was abandoned. It returned to Seattle in 1998, whereupon plenty of hopes and dreams (but few dollars) were pinned on the beat-up and rusted vessel.

I’m not sure the Kalakala had more than a brief turn serving the Bainbridge-Seattle run, but the “Silver Slug” must have been a common site for south-enders as it glided by from Bremerton. It ran aground on Bainbridge in 1945 and 1951.

Parked in Tacoma for the last six years, the Kalakala has worn out its welcome. Its lease in the Hylebos Waterway has been terminated and the U.S. Coast Guard believes it’s in danger of capsizing. They want the holes patched, the hull fixed and a plan in place for towing it away by Dec. 19, the Seattle Times reports.

The $1 dollar price tag means the Kalakala is priced to move (how to move it is another question).

“The person who purchases this will be credible,” the Kalakala’s owner told the Times. “I’m selling it for $1 to the right person. Then it’s closed, it’s their story. The most-treasured world-class vessel will become one person’s yacht.”

After the jump are some early interior shots of the Kalakala (via

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Divers say they found SS Dix

A team of divers say they found a Bainbridge-bound ferry that sunk 104 years ago, claiming an estimated 39 lives.

The sinking of the SS Dix is considered the worst maritime disaster in Puget Sound, and stunned the small Bainbridge community of Port Blakely, a mill town where many of the Dix’s occupants lived.

Underwater videographer Laura James has been looking for the Dix’s wreckage for 20 years. This year, she teamed with wreck diver Scott Boyd and OceanGate, an Everett submarine exploration company, to conduct several dives that they say all but confirms that the wreck they found is the Dix.

“The deep wreck is clearly a wood-hulled passenger steamer from the Mosquito Fleet era and is in a location consistent with the last sighting of the Dix,” James said.

Propeller of the wreckage. Scott Boyd photo

On Nov. 18, 1906, the Dix and its 77 passengers and crew members had disembarked Seattle for Port Blakely.

About a mile north of Alki Point, the Dix struck the Jeanie, a three-masted schooner that had slowed almost to a stop to avoid hitting the smaller vessel. For unknown reasons, the Dix’s first officer suddenly turned toward the Jeanie, striking near its bow.

The collision tipped the Dix, allowing water to spill into its hull. The Dix vanished within minutes. Passengers on the upper deck escaped but those below perished, and are likely still entombed 500 feet below the waves.

When word of the sinking reached Port Blakely, the mill company immediately dispatched the steamer Florence K to bring home survivors.

Port Blakely’s mill and schools closed to allow community members to mourn.

Estimates for the number of lives lost range from 39 to 45.

There was an effort to raise the Dix after life insurance companies refused to pay out policies unless bodies were recovered.

The depth proved too daunting for salvage divers, and a later drag-line operation turned up nothing.

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Winslow Way and the Way Winslow became Suquamish

The ‘big dig’ is almost here
Believe it or not, but the Winslow Way reconstruction project is less than six weeks away.

Work on the street’s utility poles will begin this month. Crews will tear into Winslow Way by the middle of March.

For more about the project, and the small hiccup in its public relations stragegy, head over here.

Ravine rescue
The Bainbridge man was rescued from an Eagledale ravine this week. No big deal, but the TV news helicopters that came to catch the action sure did spark a lot of interest, especially because a body had washed up on Bainbridge the last time the heli-swarm descended on the island. The gentleman in the ravine was just fine, by the way, and so was his dog.

Ferry reform
Kitsap’s state legislators want to create a panel to reform the ferry system. The bill calls for a system-wide repair plan by next December.

“Serious declines in the amount and reliability of ferry service in recent years have damaged the economic vitality of many ferry communities. For these businesses and working families, recovering from the current severe recession depends on the rapid restoration of better ferry service,” the bill said.

Wall Street whoops
The Wall Street Journal had a nice article about the local geoduck industry yesterday.

The Journal uncovered a key fact that many of us here have failed to recognize: the Suquamish tribe’s 700 members live on Bainbridge Island.

I’m not sure how the reservation’s expansion could have passed under our noses without so much as a public meeting, a workshop or a charette, but I think we can expect the island to get a lot more exciting. Perhaps a Clearwater Casino satellite location in Island Gateway? Maybe a Benny’s Jets fireworks stand stretching across Winslow Green?