FERRIES: See what WSF heard about fixing Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth woes

Traffic flow at the Fauntleroy ferry dock emerged as the top issue for people who participated in Washington State Ferries’ three recent meetings about what’s called the “triangle route.” We covered the start of the Fauntleroy meeting a week and a half ago; now we have the document WSF put together with all the comments it received at all three meetings, which it says were “the starting point for a community process to develop solutions by summer 2017.” Read the 400 comments from 120 people in this document:

(If you can’t see the embedded Scribd version, here’s the PDF version.) No time to go through the document? WSF’s summary:

… We received a diverse range of ideas, opinions and questions. Many of the themes we heard varied by community. For example, many comments from Vashon Island asked about a bypass lane on the Fauntleroy dock and revised ticketing procedures. Many comments from Southworth asked about specific schedule changes. And a large portion of Fauntleroy’s comments dealt with neighborhood parking.

Importantly, there was one area of broad agreement between routes: Improving traffic control, safety, and the flow in and around the Fauntleroy terminal. The feedback includes many different ideas on how to achieve these improvements.

Over the next two months, WSF will assemble a public task force to review these comments and available data, with the goal of identifying “quick wins” to improve service by next summer and exploring strategies for longer-term solutions. The task force’s meetings will be open to the public, and one of the first things they will consider is the feedback gathered at WSF’s listening sessions.

If you would like to be notified about updates, please sign up for notifications at WSFComms@wsdot.wa.gov.

Problems on the route came to a boiling point over the summer when vehicles headed for the Fauntleroy dock backed up past Morgan Junction, and when it was noted that ferries were leaving without full loads to try to stay on schedule.

17 Replies to "FERRIES: See what WSF heard about fixing Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth woes"

  • Mike November 7, 2016 (6:26 am)

    Enforcement of lane skippers.  I’ve only taken the Fauntleroy ferry 3 times in the 13+ years I’ve lived in West Seattle.  I have seen people lane skip numerous times as I go to Lincoln Park and surrounding areas.  One guy in a Subaru cut me off on the West Seattle bridge so close I just followed him, then I watched him get within 50 yards of the dock entrance and nearly hit a car cutting them off to skip into line.  People had been waiting in line for a long time, this guy spent less than 5 minutes going from the West Seattle bridge to getting onto the next ferry by being a jerk.  Enforce traffic laws, keep the neighborhood safe and allow those that do wait a chance to get on the ferry.

    • Delta in WS November 7, 2016 (11:08 am)

      These lane skippers need to be reported to the ferry dock personnel. It seems the dock people are pretty good about making the skippers go to the back of the line.

  • Gene November 7, 2016 (7:52 am)

    From what I have heard- if those already in line- report a violater – Ferry employees are pretty good about making them go to back of line.

    • Delta in WS November 7, 2016 (11:06 am)

      Seems like more people need to do this and get the “lane skippers” trained.

  • Eddie November 7, 2016 (8:06 am)

    Was there any serious consideration of eliminating the entire Fauntleroy dock/routes entirely?  Moving the whole kit and kaboodle downtown where the other ferry routes run. That’s my vote. West Seattle doesn’t improve by having all that pass through traffic to and from the ferry dock.

    • 56bricks November 7, 2016 (9:20 am)

      Yo Eddie, you’d have about as much luck trying to convince the state to build a bridge. And even then, people would still bitch about the traffic. It’s what we do.

      • John November 7, 2016 (2:02 pm)

        Oddly enough there was once a bridge to Vashon proposal and a route through West Seattle.  Remnants of the route can be seen in Puget Blvd. cutting across Delridge .

        Like other examples: mass transit & the monorail we Seattleites like to bury our collective heads in the sand rejecting our future in favor of the present.

        Who knows, if that wayward vessel had not hit the old low bridge, we probably would have rejected a new one?


        • Ivan November 7, 2016 (2:27 pm)

          Just stop with the “Bridge to Vashon.” The Port of Tacoma won’t permit it, and the U.S. Coast Guard has backed up the Port of Tacoma.

    • Mizliss November 7, 2016 (12:05 pm)

      For starters, there are over 150 kids who take the boat every morning and afternoon to attend school. It’s not just Vashon traffic, although there’s lots of that, it’s people coming from south King County and the southern part of Seattle, as well as others from further south, going to the Kitsap Peninsula. Also, have you taken a ferry from downtown during high season? There’s not the capacity for the Bremerton and Bainbridge runs + the Vashon and Southworth runs. 

  • sc November 7, 2016 (9:18 am)

    My husband and I saw someone cut in line a few cars behind us.  I told the person who was directing traffic and when the guy got up to that person he was immediately directed to turn around and get in the back of the line! 

    • Delta in WS November 7, 2016 (11:05 am)

      This is certainly a place to start. Keep up the good work.

  • Michelle November 7, 2016 (10:04 am)

    I think that completely removing the dock is a bad idea. There is a strong community connection between West Seattle and Vashon and the Kitsap Peninsula . .. commuters going south, WS students going to Vashon schools, family visits (my kids visit grandparents in Port Orchard frequently), etc…..also, downtown streets are already gridlocked, they can’t bear additional traffic flow. 

  • forgotmyname November 7, 2016 (10:21 am)

    Moving the route is never going to happen.  Nor should it.  

    Besides the nautical challenges (bordering on impossibilities) the route would present, adding that many boats, routes and traffic would have a huge, and incredibly negative, impact on service at the downtown dock and its users.

    Instead of demanding other neighborhoods in the city ‘improve’ West Seattle at their own expense, West Seattle is going to have to help bear some of the city’s transportation burden.  That includes hosting the most favorable geographic and logistical location for a ferry crossing to Vashon/Southworth.   

    • Mickymse November 7, 2016 (11:49 am)

      The ferries add scores of cars to your West Seattle Bridge traffic every single day… If West Seattle is going to “help bear some of the city’s transportation burden,” then perhaps WSDOT should look at spending some money on Fauntleroy Way and the Bridge — which are City expenses.

  • Pops November 7, 2016 (10:59 am)

    The state made it illegal to cut in line a few years ago. Wish WSP could be there to ticket violations. Yeah I’ve heard employees will send violators to the back of the line.

  • Ashley November 7, 2016 (4:51 pm)

    The ferry workers and ticket booth employees aren’t allowed to deal with the one skippers unless they see it in the process. I’ve been round and round with the Fauntleroy employees about this and get the stupid business card thrown at me every time with the number on it. I’ve also received an email stating all they do is give them a warning. There’s really no point in it :/ 

  • Kathleen November 8, 2016 (9:05 am)

    Would agree line skippers are NOT enforced. I frequently take the SW ferry and am frustrated that line skippers don’t feel the rules apply to them. The ticket agents can’t/won’t do anything and even reporting it is not only a cumbersome process but yields nothing more than a warning at best. 

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