As reported here a few days ago, this Thursday, the city Parks Board will get a briefing about the proposal to run the Elliott Bay Water Taxi year-round from Seacrest “temporarily,” till its permanent home is found. This is the next step toward final Parks approval of the plan, which then would enable county-funded dock improvements to be built later this year, to be in place for year-round operations to start in early 2010. The “briefing paper” that will be presented to the board is available online now; it says Parks staff recommends approval of the plan, and recaps “overwhelmingly supportive” reaction at the Alki Community Center open house last month (WSB coverage here), while mentioning a few more points:
*Final decision expected from the King County Ferry District by the end of June
*Project then would go out to bid in July
*Construction should be done sometime in December
*Divers’ ongoing concerns about Seacrest will be addressed – the briefing paper says:
Some divers would like to see mitigation at the park for increasing water-taxi service at the site. They have always had safety concerns about the shared use at this site, but we are anticipating that the improved dock configuration will be much safer for the divers as it moves the water taxi boat further from the diving area. A group of divers is going to work with King County Councilmember Dow Constantine on assistance in providing some amenities for divers at the site. In the past few years, a diver shower and safety buoys have been added as mitigation at Seacrest.
Public comment is not scheduled to be taken on this item at Thursday’s Park Board meeting (7 pm, parks HQ downtown); a public hearing is set for March 12, with a vote on March 26, and Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher getting the final say after that. Side note: This week’s Parks Board agenda has another item likely to be of wide West Seattle interest — a proposal for changing parks’ operating hours — that “briefing paper” is online now too, and we’ll write about it shortly. (Side note in another direction: While checking links for this item, discovered the King County Ferry District has a “blog” site now, and it was running a web poll asking what you think county-run passenger-ferry service should be called — Water Taxi? Water Bus? Foot Ferry? Passenger Ferry? The poll appears to be closed as of this writing, though.)