Gary Dawson with the Fauntleroy Community Association, who is the group’s lead on ferry-related issues, reports big changes in the Washington State Ferries plan for the future of not only the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth “triangle” route, but of the Fauntleroy terminal itself. He writes:
Monday, the 17th, the Washington State Legislature Joint Transportation Committee met in Seattle in the Puget Sound Regional Council conference room.
The entire agenda was dedicated to Washington State Ferries Long Range Plan, Legislative bill ESB5328, Ferry Finance Study, Customer Survey report, and other items related to WSF.
Of note to West Seattle was the portion of the LRP related to the Vashon/Southworth/Fauntleroy route, known as the triangle.
For the last few years WSF has proposed that to accommodate population and ferry user growth in south Kitsap County, the Southworth to Fauntleroy service would be rerouted to downtown Seattle at Colman Dock sometime in the next few years. A rebuild of Colman Dock including an additional ferry slip for the Southworth operation was to be part of that plan.
Yesterday it was revealed WSF no longer plans to enhance Colman Dock for additional growth, but to continue the triangle route as is. At some time later WSF will dedicate one of their ferries to operate between Southworth and Fauntleroy only, and two vessels between Vashon and Fauntleroy.
In addition the plan calls for expanding the Fauntleroy dock holding to accommodate the equivalent of one vessel’s amount of vehicles. Also, it is planned to erect a passenger overhead walkway on the dock as well to all walk-on passengers to proceed directly to the passenger deck on the ferry.
Rerouting Southworth traffic directly to downtown would eliminate about 40% of the current ferry traffic on West Seattle streets, not including future growth that is predicted to double in 20 years. The newly proposed WSF plan forces that traffic to continually be a part of the West Seattle commute.
The plan in its entirety can be found on the WSF website, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ click on Ferry Financing Legislation under Planning, and under Nov. 17, 2008, Preliminary Draft ESB2358. Pages 17 and 26 highlight the triangle route plan. [Editor’s note: direct link to the document is here]
The Fauntleroy Community Association will be challenging this plan, and anyone interested in finding out more or providing FCA support can contact the FCA at Fauntleroy.net or:
Chair, Fauntleroy Ferry Advisory Committee
This is also notable given that the Fauntleroy paving proposal we’ve been discussing – including a major stretch traveled by ferry commuters – is in jeopardy because of city budget changes (we should find out more about its status tomorrow morning, when the mayor officially announces next year’s paving plan at a media event). According to the WSF info page Gary points us to, public hearings on the system’s long-range plan are set for next month, before a proposal is finalized “going into the 2009 legislative session.”