Followup: Will Water Taxi keep a spot at state dock downtown?

(Photo by Travis Tyler, t_ravtyler on Flickr, via the WSB Flickr group pool)
Two weeks ago, West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott sounded the alarm about the state’s proposal for renovating the main ferry terminal downtown, Colman Dock, without a spot for passenger ferries, including the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxis that now dock on its south side, at Pier 50.

Tonight there’s an update: Word from 34th District State House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon is that the House has a “proviso” in its supplemental transportation budget – other news organizations had pointed out this was in the works – requiring WSDOT to continue to accommodate passenger-only ferries at its dock. That language is NOT in the State Senate’s budget, so, talks are under way between Senators, House members, and WSDOT to work something out before it all gets to the governor. Rep. Fitzgibbon says he worked on the “proviso” as a member of the House Transportation Committee. Fitzgibbon says it’s not just a matter of making sure the passenger ferries have someplace to dock – it’s a matter of making sure “that our state’s most important ferry terminal continues to connect with our passenger ferries and King County Metro buses.” Whatever winds up in the final plan, Colman Dock renovations are expected to start in about two years.

You have two more weeks to tell the state what you think about its future – as explained here.

9 Replies to "Followup: Will Water Taxi keep a spot at state dock downtown?"

  • Nate February 28, 2012 (2:26 pm)

    As a local resident (born and raised) I commute via water taxi and ferry weekly and I hate it. Get rid of this old system and spend the money on modern transportations! Take a look at other developed areas. Grow up Seattle! Time to get with the times. Traveling by ferry/boat was great in 1912. It’s 2012.

    • WSB February 28, 2012 (2:29 pm)

      Do you mean more-modern boats, like hydrofoils, or – planes? bridges?

  • realist February 28, 2012 (3:27 pm)


  • Ex Vashonite February 28, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    Other places still use ferries. NYC has a great ferry system. So do a few scandinavian countries, CA and Alaska. Not exactly ‘1912’-era metropolises.

    Besides, what other ways are there to get around? Unless you want to drive an extra 3 hours from Bremerton to Seattle every day (effectively forcing people to either quit their jobs or increase their cost of living 200-300% by moving to mainland Seattle), ferries are the only option. No one is going to build a bridge all the way across the sound. The cost and ecological damage would be too much.

    I will admit though, Vashon is at a breaking point. Its going to have to decide on either building a bridge, or urbanizing itself and allow zoning for more businesses and supplies. The island is slowly becoming a rural version of Mercer, unaccessable, elite and ‘conveniently’ exclusive of the things the cities around it have to deal with, Ie affordable housing and transportation.

    The surrounding cities are getting less and less forgiving of Vashon as its been able to dodge the problems of urban sprawl. Losing the convenience of the foot ferries is the first sign.

  • Chris February 28, 2012 (3:48 pm)

    It would be nice to see the Washington Street Boat Landing refurbished and turned into the passenger only facility. It needs to be repaired anyway, and it preserves a piece of local history. To me it would seem like a natural match for a passenger only terminal.

  • raincity February 28, 2012 (4:56 pm)

    I commute by water taxi everyday. With the exceptions of a few break downs, it has been reliable compared to the bus where you could wait for long times without knowing why your bus is delayed. Also – you never sit in traffic on a water taxi. The current water taxis are multi-hulls and are much faster than the previous sightseer or admiral pete (although they were alot of fun).Until they give us jet packs – its the most fun I have commuting except for my bicycle.I think a holistic solution that could be multimodal would make the most sense rather that separate solutoins that are developed independantly. Imageine incorporating a light rail stop?

  • Aman February 28, 2012 (7:24 pm)

    Good point Nate! How about a transporter?

    A transporter is a teleportation machine used in the Star Trek universe. Transporters convert a person or object into an energy pattern (a process called dematerialization), then “beam” it to a target, where it is reconverted into matter (rematerialization).

    “Beam me up Nate!”

  • jc February 29, 2012 (11:54 am)

    Nate, Well, considering the transportation debates of the last 20 years, it’s not likely that Seattle will grow up during our lifetimes. But it’s heartening that a native remains optimistic. ;) Also consider that we already HAVE the water taxi and ferry, both of which I love taking, by the way. I found the proposal to not accommodate the walk-on boats in the remodel, without a proposal for a non-single-occupancy-vehicle alternative (I admit I’m assuming based on experience that no alternative was proposed), mind-bogglingly regressive.

  • moneaux February 29, 2012 (12:21 pm)

    I live on Harbor Ave and walk about a mile to take the water taxi. With the proposed ending of the #37 bus route (that goes along Beach Drive and Harbor Ave), the water taxi will be the only way to get downtown without driving. Please keep a docking place for the water taxi!

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