What’s big this week: Ferry hearing in Fauntleroy on Wednesday

(Photo by Matt Durham of MattDurhamPhotography.com)
We’ve mentioned it a few times before – now it’s just days away: Washington State Ferries is almost done collecting public comment on its Draft Long-Range Plan, which includes some potentially major operational changes, but there’s one last public hearing – right here in West Seattle, 6 pm this Wednesday night at The Hall at Fauntleroy. The community group responsible for the ferry system’s local dock, the Fauntleroy Community Association, says that plan could have far-reaching traffic effects on all of West Seattle, not just Fauntleroy – here’s one of the documents it’s circulating ahead of the hearing:

The Washington State Ferries’ hearing at Fauntleroy on January 21 is a very important meeting for West Seattle. It discloses their Long Range Plan (LRP) that affects our peninsula for 30 years and beyond. Some of the details of the plan will be presented at the meeting followed by an opportunity by any and all who wish to speak. The audience turnout is also crucial as it shows this is an urgent matter, dealing with our quality of life and effects on traffic and property values. Spread the word!

As this is a testimonial hearing, questions and answers with dialogue will not take place. Testimony, however, will be recorded and become a permanent part of the LRP presented to the Legislature for approval January 31. Reviewing the plan at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries reveals that some major points of conflict for discussion and rebuttal are apparent.

1. After years of seeing the LRP proposing to shift the Southworth route directly to Colman Dock, at the last minute the plan reversed that proposal and the Southworth traffic remains in West Seattle indefinitely.
This is unacceptable.

2. The plan cements in place the existing traffic and all future growth from Southworth at the Fauntleroy facility that is already operating at capacity.
This is unacceptable.

3. The projected combined population growth for West Seattle and Vashon Island will substantially increase traffic congestion both approaching and on the West Seattle Bridge in years to come. Continuing to route Southworth/Kitsap County vehicles here indefinitely means their population explosion will impact our transportation needs and livability of our neighborhoods.
This is unacceptable.

4. The plan to widen the Fauntleroy dock and erect an overhead walk-on loading ramp is detrimental to the environment of Fauntleroy Cove, shields and distorts personal property views and adversely affects local property values.
This is unacceptable.

5. On April 28, 1997, Seattle City Council Resolution 29566 stated that WSF initiate no expansion of the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock and to take all steps to reduce existing traffic.
To ignore that resolution is unacceptable.

6. A complex component of the plan is a Reservation Ticketing System that can add more traffic snarls, safety hazards and confusion around the dock and neighboring residential streets. (WSB note: Read more about that system here)

These and other details of the LRP are detrimental to businesses, residents and taxpayers of West Seattle. We are paying for their growth. Please express your opinion at this urgent meeting so your voice is heard before decisions are made. Notify our state and local elected officials of your concerns.

Also, attendance is crucial at this meeting. Share this flyer with friends, neighbors, co-workers and anyone you know living or doing business on the West Seattle peninsula and encourage their attendance. The deadline for comments is at this meeting of the Ferry Advisory Committee: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW, at 6 PM.

Gary Dawson, Chair
Fauntleroy Ferry Advisory Committee

Bruce Butterfield, President
Fauntleroy Community Association

10 Replies to "What's big this week: Ferry hearing in Fauntleroy on Wednesday"

  • s January 18, 2009 (11:08 pm)

    As a Fauntleroy resident, I think the ferry is a great asset to our community and am looking forward to the improvements. I love having such a convenient, cheap way to get out on the water for a quick roundtrip or over to the Olympic Peninsula for a day hike. And when I’m not on one, they are beautiful to watch from Lincoln Park. Ferries are a part of the character of West Seattle…keep them here!

  • LStephens January 19, 2009 (6:50 am)

    After reading the Fauntleroy Community Association letter, I’m left to wonder “What is acceptable?”

  • pigeonmom January 19, 2009 (8:40 am)

    Acceptable for the dock to leave I think. If they really want that, many WS businesses would suffer.

  • Meghan January 19, 2009 (10:07 am)

    As a West Seattle resident who regularly uses the Southworth ferry (and actually walks to it!), I would find it inconvenient (no, wait, “unacceptable”!!) to move it downtown. I’d have to drive or take a bus downtown. And wouldn’t that just add more traffic to the already congested waterfront, not to mention create a huge inconvenience for all the people who commute south from that ferry? (Oh, wait, that’s ‘acceptable’ – because it wouldn’t be our problem over here in lil’ old West Seattle – at least not for people who don’t use that ferry). My favorite part of the long “unacceptable” list is that adding a passenger ramp impacts “personal views”. God, I am SO sick of this attitude in West Seattle that your view is your god-given right and no one has the right to LEGALLY impact it! Selfish, selfish, selfish! And short-sighted…

  • Julie January 19, 2009 (10:37 am)

    I think an important big-picture question is: which is more carbon-efficient–to use a ferry to carry traffic downtown, or to let the cars destined for downtown off at Fauntleroy to drive through WS to downtown? I don’t see an answer to this question in the plan documents or the environmental impacts appendix. Perhaps it’s quite obvious to the people who work with this information daily–but it’s not obvious to me.

    Plan B does mention the possibility that a privately-run passenger-only to downtown option might relieve some of the vehicle traffic through West Seattle. The environmental impact appendix also suggests that increasing the difference between passenger fares and vehicle fares might reduce the number of vehicles.

  • s January 19, 2009 (11:08 am)

    Julie that is a valid point. Here are some things to consider.
    -What would be the added carbon cost of more than doubling the distance the ferry has to travel? (i.e. ferrying from Southworth or Vashon to Fauntleroy is a much shorter distance than ferrying to Downtown.) Those boats are huge and moving them gives off a ton of emissions. I assume that more than doubling the distance they travel would dramatically increase their carbon emissions.
    -Not all ferry users go downtown. I bet a lot go to SeaTac, Boeing, shipyards, etc. If the ferry goes downtown, then all those people would have to drive a lot further, which means more carbon emissions from them.
    I think it’s worth doing the math to figure out the carbon question. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fauntleroy option is more environmentally friendly.

  • HT January 19, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    Kitsap County commuters already have a Colman Dock ferry option; it’s called the Bremerton ferry run.

  • bud January 19, 2009 (12:42 pm)

    I disagree with the assertion that keeping the ferry in West Seattle is detrimental to business in our community. I know for a fact that many commuters from Kitsap regularly spend money in our community–restaurants, coffee shops, general shopping. Also, a lot of the summer ferry traffic is from tourists and Seattle residents who are travelling recreationally…that means big bucks for West Seattle shops and restaurants.

  • MAS January 19, 2009 (7:06 pm)

    With all of the support for keeping the Fauntleroy ferry run as-is here in the WSB, it seems natural to wonder who this association is that’s against it. So far, everyone posting is in favor of keeping the run.

    I really hope the association isn’t entirely made up of folks with property near the dock that would like to see it shut down for purely personal/property value reasons. If you bought while this ferry was in service, you should be prepared to live with it…

  • WSB January 19, 2009 (7:19 pm)

    It’s the Fauntleroy Community Association; we publicize their meetings all the time (and cover them as we do with every community group in West Seattle whose meetings we can possibly get to) — and all are always invited – if you ever feel a community group in your area has a viewpoint different from yours, their doors are all open and we have found them all UNIVERSALLY hoping for, and trying to attract, more community involvement. FCA sends mailers, posts flyers, even puts “table tents” at Fauntleroy’s restaurants in hopes of making sure everyone in the area, offline and on, knows what they’re up to. Government agencies’ outreach regarding meetings like this tends to just hit the minimum-required-by-law level, so volunteer community groups step in to fill the void.

    FCA meets monthly, 2nd Tuesday, 7 pm, Hall at Fauntleroy, and has an information-laden website at http://fauntleroy.net

    (2nd Tuesday is also the monthly meeting time for Admiral Neighborhood Association, 7 pm, Admiral Church, and alternate months, for Junction Neighborhood Association, 6:30 pm, Ginomai .. see the West Seattle Community Groups list on the right sidebar for even more groups … absent a few which don’t have webpages, which I need to fix by making default pages with basic contact info here)

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