New Water Taxi dock proposal: What it would look like

August 16, 2007 at 8:52 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Transportation | 24 Comments

wttuesday.jpgCoincidentally, even before last night’s big announcement, we had been planning to try a Water Taxi/bus combo to get into the heart of the city this morning. More on that experience later (pros & cons from the perspective of someone who usually just drives out to help clog the road). Right now, however, we have the promised link for you to see what the WT terminal/dock area at Pier 2 would look like.

24 Comments

  1. This is SOOO COOL! AND it has a possibility of happening relatively soon! Where do I sign up? What can we do? Who can we email? Yay!

    Comment by T — 8:58 am August 16, 2007 #

  2. I would like to know something about this committee. Who is on it? How long has it been meeting? Also curious when the street end next to the Saltys restaurant will revert to the park (not parking lot) it’s supposed to be.

    Comment by Dis — 9:11 am August 16, 2007 #

  3. This is really exciting though I hope the design for the terminal they’ve got pictured is just a placeholder. Seems like this would be a great opportunity to do something modern and beautiful.

    Comment by Christopher Boffoli — 9:32 am August 16, 2007 #

  4. I totally agree with you, Christopher. What an exciting idea. The more ways we have to stay connected with downtown, the better.
    Not sure what your concerns are about the design, but I’m certain that there will be some good thought put towards a quality design.
    MW

    Comment by MW — 10:58 am August 16, 2007 #

  5. As WSB noted, this will go through lots of permutations (and design reviews) before it ever gets built. It’s a fine idea though and I too would like further information regarding who we contact to condone the plan.

    Comment by The Velvet Bulldog — 11:47 am August 16, 2007 #

  6. I’m absolutely for this. But, there have to be better commuting options once the Water Taxi reaches downtown. More people would ride the Water Taxi NOW if they could easily get to their downtown offices on 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.

    Comment by Kmac — 11:58 am August 16, 2007 #

  7. Wait, your complaint is that people might need to walk from the waterfront to fourth instead of being transported by internal combustion engine? Good grief.

    Comment by t — 12:40 pm August 16, 2007 #

  8. We will touch on this in our post later about our morning commute test but you do need a little practice to climb a few of those hills. By no means a dealbreaker (though we’d hate to try it on those few icy winter days, when the WT goes year-round) unless you use a cane, wheelchair, etc., but we promptly nicknamed it the “cardio commute.”

    Comment by WSB — 12:53 pm August 16, 2007 #

  9. You betcha. If I spend time doing my hair and dressing professionally for a job, I don’t want to look rained-out (or sweated out) because I had to walk several blocks uphill to get to Columbia and 5th. Maybe it’s the girl in me…..

    Comment by Kmac — 1:08 pm August 16, 2007 #

  10. There are free buses within the downtown area-maybe more could be added.Also-what about the streetcar-can’t remember what it’s status is-I know it wouldn’t hold tons of people-but it could help.You know sometimes it’s just not possible to get to your exact destination–walking would have to fill in.One more thing-did anyone else get the brochure from Metro about the “special new bus service for West Seattle called RapidRide”?It was in todays mail and says they’re looking for people to be on their advisory panel.According to the brochure-buses will run frequently for most of the day 7 days a week.”Smart” traffic signals & priority lanes will allow buses to move faster.Buses will have low floors & 3 doors and a faster fare-payment system.The buses themselves will be hybrid-diesel-electric.There will also be better shelters at bus stops.Info is at:
    http://www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/transitnow
    follow the links to RapidRide
    Sounds interesting.

    Comment by Anne — 1:15 pm August 16, 2007 #

  11. Are they planning on enhancing public transit on the West Seattle side ? The shuttle route is not very well thought out…

    Comment by JT — 1:22 pm August 16, 2007 #

  12. It really seems silly to have 500 parking spots in such prime industrial/port/park land. I know the spots will be used if built, but taking the shuttle to the taxi is a breeze. Most of the major bus lines in W Seattle connect to the shuttle line. I usually catch the shuttle near Alaska and 35th where the 43 and 22 come by. The 21 is just around the corner. They may need to expand shuttle times, but that shouldn’t be that difficult.

    Comment by JumboJim — 1:25 pm August 16, 2007 #

  13. I think the 500 parking spaces already exist. I’m a fan of the shuttle too but it’s not that easy using it with the current route. I just don’t have time to get up 30 minutes earlier to walk 20 minutes to get the shuttle! 6am is about all I can handle ;)

    Comment by TeaLady — 1:32 pm August 16, 2007 #

  14. Regarding the shuttle route, we have a question out to Dow C on that (on behalf of a reader) and he has promised a reply soon, or maybe he will just post it here.

    Comment by WSB — 2:00 pm August 16, 2007 #

  15. Does anyone know if they’re planning on running it earlier? My hubby works downtown 6-3 and would LOVE to avoid the drive, but the watertaxi doesn’t presently run early enough. Thanks for the info!

    Comment by Melissa — 2:10 pm August 16, 2007 #

  16. The problem with the hill(s) up to the main part of downtown isn’t the exercise. It is arriving at work soaking wet from the sweat. If I walk up and down hills on my own time I can shower at home.

    I am not prepared to bathe in the sink at work, and bring an extra set of clothing to change into. If the boat arrived at Colman Dock, that would be in an area that is set up for pedestrians.

    The icy days of winter would be about the right temperature to climb the hill.

    Comment by Gina — 5:02 pm August 16, 2007 #

  17. I think Seacrest or points north are a way better option than using Jack Block. The water taxi should tie in better with Alki Beach, and to move the docks even further away would be unfortunate. Plus, that far south is still pretty industrial (excuse me, RAIL LINES?!), and it smells like garbage.

    If the problem is parking, go ahead and add parking in Jack Block, have a little tram from from the lot to the docks, whatever. But don’t make things less accessible for those of us that decide to hoof it or use transit to get down there.

    Also, it seems a little dishonest, in the before and after pictures of the proposal, to show the present situation as though the current water taxi doesn’t even exist.

    Comment by Jeff — 7:23 pm August 16, 2007 #

  18. So far, the Water Taxi is good for only those living on Alki, or in the Admiral or Alaska Junction areas. That’s about one-third of the population of West Seattle. I’d also like to point out that the maximum daily traffic on the Water Taxi (800+) is about 40 percent of the expected daily traffic for the now defunct Green Line at the Morgan Junction station. In order for the Water Taxi to be a real and true alternative, there has to be only one transfer, from shuttle to Water Taxi. As it stands now, I’d have to take a 21 or 22 and transfer to the shuttle and then to the Water Taxi. Hardly a savings of time (actually a significant loss if I’m heading downtown). And, the frequency must match that of the bus system – which here in West Seattle is on 30 minute centers. Bottom line – the Water Taxi is not an alternative for most of West Seattle and won’t be unless there’s some serious and rider-oriented discussion. Oh, it is a nice ride if that’s all one is looking for. My wife tried it over using the usual two buses she takes to get to her job at Harborview – bottom line – it was 30 minutes longer. Not an option according to her.

    Comment by chas redmond — 7:46 pm August 16, 2007 #

  19. by the way, by comparison here’s the Vancouver Seabus schedule – note the 15-minute service throughout the day on weekends: (this is the North Vancouver to downtown side only, the reverse schedule is the same frequency, time-shifted by about 8 minutes)

    These two double ended catamaran ferries can seat up to 400 passengers at a time. There are two terminals: Waterfront in downtown Vancouver, which connects with buses, SkyTrain and West Coast Express; and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, which connects with an extensive network of North Shore buses. Crossing time is 12 minutes.

    Frequency
    Departing Lonsdale Quay
    Monday to Friday
    6:02 a to 6:32 p
    15 mins
    6:32 p to 12:32 a
    30 mins
    Saturday
    6:02 a to 10:02 a
    30 mins
    10:02 a to 6:32 p
    15 mins
    6:32 p to 12:32 a
    30 mins
    Sunday
    8:02 a to 11:02 a
    30 mins
    11:02 a to 6:32 p
    15 mins
    6:32 p to 11:32 p
    30 mins

    Comment by chas redmond — 8:06 pm August 16, 2007 #

  20. One final comparison – distance from Lonsdale Quay to the downtown Vancouver dock is about 7,000 feet. Distance from Seacrest Park to the Pier 55 landing is about 8,000 feet. North Vancouver residents also have two bridges they can use to get downtown – West Seattle residents only have one bridge. So, when we start raving about the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, let’s keep things in perspective – right now it’s on a par with the Seattle Center Monorail – an alternative, “yes,” but a viable alternative, “no.”

    Comment by chas redmond — 8:13 pm August 16, 2007 #

  21. Slightly OT, but here’s how to get to 3rd Ave sweat-free from the water taxi: walk down to Colman Dock (3 blocks on the level), use the pedestrian overpass to get to 1st and Marion. Enter the Exchange Building on 1st and take the elevator to 2nd. Cross 2nd heading east and Marion heading north, and take the covered outdoor escalator up to the Wells Fargo lobby on 3rd. From there you can connect to lots of bus routes.

    Comment by herongrrrl — 9:01 pm August 16, 2007 #

  22. I really appreciate all the comments. Our effort to get a permanent and high capacity service at Pier 2 is community based, so your input is really valuable. Keep it coming, I read everything posted on the WSB.

    I have a few points that I would like to add to the discussion. The need for 500 “park and sail” spaces may be somewhat of a philosophical issue (the classic transit vs. car debate), but to us it is pragmatic. Our first priority will always be for people arriving on foot, biclycle or shuttle, but we want everybody to use the service. A seventy year old with a hip replacement parking her car should feel as comfortable as a 25 year with a carbon fiber bicycle using the service. West Seattle is a large geographic area, some areas will never be easily accessible by public transportation. If we can get people to leave their cars on this side of the bridge in any shape or form, that is a major accomplishment.

    The location is also critical to making the service accessible to more people from more parts of West Seattle. Major arterials such as Delridge and 35th will have easy access to the new facility without disruption of the Alki community. More people using the service will mean more frequent service, which in turn will attract even more commuters… critical mass is essential for public transportation.

    I should add that a side benefit of the plan is that Alki would have a place to divert some of the disruptive summer beach traffic, especially with a well integrated shuttle service from the parking area.

    Stay tuned for more coverage of the proposal on KUOW and the Seattle Weekly (maybe the Times as well). I know that many reporters read the WSB, so your comments get good exposure here.

    Comment by Vlad Oustimovitch — 11:12 am August 17, 2007 #

  23. Bravo!! Thank you for your energy and all encompassing view of the potential of the Water Taxi service.
    This service could and should become an even greater West Seattle transportation option. We need to be realistic about providing parking at the dock. While ideas about utilizing methods other than private vehicles should continue to be encouraged, there will always be situations where parking could be the deal breaker — better to have the user park a car on this side than to be one more in the road clog on the bridge. One only needs to look up and down streets adjacent to California Ave. near any of the businesses to realize that parking is key to success.

    Comment by Dalai — 3:51 pm August 19, 2007 #

  24. There’s another easy way up to 1st Avenue and the Market from the Water Taxi besides Colman Dock.
    Head over to Harbor Steps at University St. and Western Ave. On the south side of the steps is an entry into the parking garage as well as a public elevator that will take you up to the 1st Avenue/Concierge level.
    There’s also an elevator from the Post Alley level of the Steps to 1st Avenue next to the Deli going up to Tacos Guyamas.
    Both elevators operate everyday from 7am to 7pm.

    I take the water taxi at least 2-3 times a week and would love to see a more efficient loading/unloading operation during commute hours. the increased passenger loads have been very encouraging but they are severely affecting the taxi’s schedule.

    As wonderful as the service is, it would be much better if we could once again count on a timely departure.
    I hope the new terminal plans get their due consideration.

    Comment by Kevin — 6:01 pm August 19, 2007 #

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