WATER TAXI ALERT: Colman Dock construction to interrupt service in August, followed by location, schedule changes

(WSDOT rendering)

You’ve probably heard about the big Colman Dock modernization project downtown. It involves the downtown dock for the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxis as well as Washington State Ferries, and it’s about to get going in a big way. As a result, the King County Department of Transportation is out with a two-part alert this afternoon for Water Taxi users. The biggest part is that the downtown dock will move to a temporary location for about a year and a half, with a revised schedule. And while that move is made, there’ll be a service interruption of up to 10 days. Here’s the official announcement:

Both routes of the popular foot and bike ferry service will be suspended while construction crews move the Water Taxi’s float at Pier 50 on the south end of Colman dock to the north end (toward the fire station and Ivar’s restaurant).

The temporary move is part of a larger project by the state to renovate Colman Dock. The Water Taxi will move back to a new King County owned facility at the south end of the dock in about a year and a half.

The new Water Taxi terminal will have a weather-protected waiting area as well as elevators and a pedestrian bridge to the new Washington State Ferries terminal and its amenities.

While service is suspended in August, bus riders in both service areas can expect to see heavier-than-usual passenger loads on trips to and from downtown.

Travel options

· Buses—Metro’s Rapid Ride C Line and routes 21, 37, 55, 56, 57, 120, and 125 connect West Seattle to downtown Seattle. Route 116 connects the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal to downtown Seattle.

· Light rail—Metro Route 50 connects West Seattle to Link light rail at the Columbia City Station.

· Ride sharing—Learn about Carpool, VanPool, and other ride-sharing options at kingcounty.gov/metro/rideshare or contact your employer.

· Telecommuting and alternate work schedules—If your employer allows you to work from home or flex your schedule to avoid peak commute times, you can both bypass and help reduce crowding on buses while the Water Taxi is out of service.

New sailing schedule for West Seattle

When the Water Taxi resumes service after its move to the north side of Colman Dock, the West Seattle route will be on a new schedule. [PDF version here] This will account for the time it takes to board and de-board the route’s growing number of riders, and allow for Washington State Ferries to cross the Water Taxi’s route when arriving and departing from Colman Dock.

Open house

To learn more about the move, new facilities, or the new West Seattle schedule, come to an open house on June 21 at Pier 50 (801 Alaskan Way on the Seattle waterfront). Look for the King County Water Taxi tent and drop in any time between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.

24 Replies to "WATER TAXI ALERT: Colman Dock construction to interrupt service in August, followed by location, schedule changes"

  • Jane June 16, 2017 (2:13 pm)

    Am I missing something or are there no specific dates listed for this closure?

    • WSB June 16, 2017 (2:17 pm)

      I can add that as a tag but – the dates are not specific yet because it depends on how construction goes.

  • alki mom June 16, 2017 (2:21 pm)

    no dates, no idea how long they need? And they could not prepare for that during week days in the winter, when there is no Water taxi service, they have to interrupt the summer service :( bad planning

    • WSB June 16, 2017 (2:32 pm)

      Up to 10 days (I’ve added that to the introduction line). Again, the exact date isn’t set yet because it depends on the state’s construction work. https://colmandockproject.participate.online/construction

      And this is not the only project happening on the waterfront

    • Mike June 17, 2017 (7:28 am)

      It’s a government run operation.  First you have to have  a meeting, then a meeting about the meeting, then you have talking heads that counter the need to spend money on it, then you have a meeting behind closed doors about it, then you tell the public they can voice their concerns but there’s only room for 10 people to do that since they really don’t care but are required by law to allow the public to say something, then there’s a meeting, then they open the project to bidding, there’s more meetings, there’s a few bids from friends of the highest elected officials, a mediocre bid is selected which says it costs less and will take less time but added caveats where they get paid extra for messing up (520 had this for each pontoon that didn’t work right, no joke), then there’s more meetings, eventually they announce that sometime in the future there will be a disruption of service and they don’t know when but it’ll happen and might take 10 days or longer, most likely longer but at least 10 days.  

  • MrsT June 16, 2017 (2:24 pm)

    That’s exciting! I am looking forward to using it!

  • newnative June 16, 2017 (2:27 pm)

    So the Water Taxi won’t operate for the whole month of August? Or for an unspecified time during August?  During our heavy tourist season when out of towners come to spend the day at Alki Beach or rent watersports equipment?!  That could be a heavy loss of income for our local economy. 

    • WSB June 16, 2017 (2:33 pm)

      Up to 10 days. I added that to the introduction a few minutes ago; it was in the “summary” part of the county announcement but not the main body so it was originally left out, sorry.

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 16, 2017 (2:50 pm)

    I believe the Metro Route 50 also stops about a block away from Sodo Station at Lander St.  This would be closer than Columbia City if someone was going downtown. 

    • Sue H June 16, 2017 (3:15 pm)

      Yes, that is correct. The 50 stops at Lander and the Sodo Busway before heading to CC.

    • MrsL June 16, 2017 (11:55 pm)

      The 21 also stops at 4th and Lander; only a block from the SODO light rail station as an alternative, especially if you’re heading to Capital Hill or UW.

  • sam-c June 16, 2017 (3:09 pm)

    Knock wood that they don’t have any major incidents while the water taxi is out of service.  It seems like the water taxi is the preferred alternative for bus riders when there is a major incident on the Viaduct or downtown.  (like an incident that closes off one of the main intersections DT and buses / traffic have to re-route)

  • Emily June 16, 2017 (3:12 pm)

    Unfortunately, it looks like we lose a trip during peak times.  I see only one trip out of West Seattle between 7-8 am and only one trip between 5-6 =pm out of Seattle.

    • West Seattle since 1979 June 16, 2017 (3:30 pm)

      I wonder why?  With more people moving here, you’d think we need more, not fewer runs.  

      • Jill June 16, 2017 (9:09 pm)

        I read it to mean that the reduced number of trips, though a bummer, is only while the water taxi is at its temporary location. The article mentions that they have to account for increased boarding time, and also that the water taxi will have to cross through the ferry route. I imagine the ferry gets priority and can’t hold up to let the li’l ol’ water taxi cross.

        On the other note about light rail, regular riders set me straight — to me it seems like, if you’re going northbound at least, say to the UW, taking the C to the Seneca St. station would be faster than taking the 50 to Columbia City or Sodo. But I don’t ride that route enough to know the insider tricks…

        • CAM June 17, 2017 (12:07 am)

          In my experience on the 21, it is actually faster to get to 4th and Lander during the morning rush than it is to get through 99 to Seneca on the C. It’s the backup on 4th that really slows things down, so if you are headed to the light rail either way it may be faster to take the local route. Than again…maybe I should be advising everyone to take the C so I don’t lose a seat in the morning? [Clearly sarcasm before anyone gets offended.]

    • anothernerd June 17, 2017 (5:30 pm)

      I noticed that, too.  Not just a more inconvenient location downtown (for me, YMMV), but fewer trips.  :(  I *am* looking forward to the new facilities, though.

  • Duwamesque June 17, 2017 (10:47 am)

    I spoke to a crewman on the Sally Fox and he mentioned the closure was expected to run Aug 3-10. That’s the expectation anyway. From Bertha to the Seawall to the Ferry Terminal redux the waterfront is starting to feel like one big construction zone.

  • Kathy June 17, 2017 (1:31 pm)

    Could the WT shuttle bus please continue when the Water Taxi is not operating? (minus the loop in Seacrest Marina.)

    Bus service is extremely limited in Alki and summer is a busy time down here with visitors..

  • KT June 18, 2017 (3:17 pm)

    Good question.

  • Mark June 18, 2017 (6:05 pm)

    Beauracrats need to review ridership numbers and schedule closure during low use times.  August is a high use time, thus a poor time to disrupt the service.

    • WSB June 18, 2017 (6:15 pm)

      This isn’t a bureaucracy thing, it’s a salmon thing. The county and state would probably do well to emphasize this more, but we reported it in previous coverage of the seawall construction. A Seattle Times story from a few years back summarizes it simply:
      “In addition to the summer construction stoppage, the city also faces state and federal restrictions to protect migrating salmon. Work can’t be done in the water between Feb. 15 and Aug. 1.” – TR

  • Mark June 18, 2017 (7:32 pm)

    Tracy thank you for the clarification

  • Mary June 19, 2017 (9:01 am)

    Do we know if KCM has looked at increasing/lengthening service on the 37 on Harbor Ave?  It is difficult to get to other bus routes if you live in that zone along Harbor.  Or, will they continue the DART bus service to get from Harbor to other bus routes downtown?

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