Ferry fight: Vashon residents plan to pack task-force meeting Wednesday in West Seattle

(WSB photo, Fauntleroy ferry dock, October)

The Washington State Ferries Triangle Route Task Force has been meeting for more than a year in relative serenity. But its next meeting, this Wednesday (December 12), is expected to draw a crowd.

The all-volunteer committee was originally launched almost two years ago to consider potential solutions to the problems that plague the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run, particularly during peak pm outbound periods, backing up traffic along Fauntleroy Way some days, while boats leave without full loads.

The task force’s current focus is on the first major change in the route’s schedule in years. WSF says a change is necessary for a variety of reasons, including an upcoming increase in capacity on the route’s assigned vessels, and faster growth on the west end of the route. After several task-force discussions, the ferry system published and sought comment on a draft revised schedule. But a Vashon citizens’ group is unhappy with the proposal – saying it has a better idea that’s been ignored – and it’s calling for a big show of island residents – and anyone else interested – at Wednesday’s meeting, set for 4:30-7 pm at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW). The schedule change is currently planned to take effect in March.

27 Replies to "Ferry fight: Vashon residents plan to pack task-force meeting Wednesday in West Seattle"

  • flimflam December 10, 2018 (3:56 pm)

    i haven’t ever used this ferry route but frequently use the Mukilteo – Clinton route and less frequently use the Edmonds – Kingston route. it sound insane that boats would leave without being full and i have not seen this on the routes i mentioned. i think there were a couple of times the ferry to Clinton left w/o being full over the last couple of years.what is so different about this route that is making boats leave without being at capacity so often, especially during peak hours? i apologize for my ignorance…

    • Layne December 11, 2018 (3:30 pm)

      One portion of the route can be really short (duration-wise), so waiting to fill boats can set the sailing time schedule off considerably–not that it doesn’t often get that way already. :I

  • Seaview December 10, 2018 (4:17 pm)

    I just thought of an idea: have the Vashon crowd line up along fauntleroy and have southworth riders line up along the SOUTH side of fauntleroy, up the hill towards endolyne. Essentially splitting the two groups into two separate waiting areas.  Then the ferry workers could pull from the lines as necessary to fill up those peak vessels. I know they are quite a way into talks but I thought I’d share. 

    • Laura December 11, 2018 (7:36 am)

      The problem with splitting lanes is that you would essentially block an entire lane on the road as there isn’t enough room on the south side of the ferry.

      • KBear December 11, 2018 (10:14 am)

        Yeah, that would be a traffic nightmare.

  • Rick December 10, 2018 (4:45 pm)

    I think the mere suggestion of that already has a neighborhood up in arms.

  • Question Authority December 10, 2018 (6:20 pm)

    I think the simple fact that you choose to live on an island makes you susceptible to problematic transportation needs, it’s the price you pay for island life and not on anyone else but you.

    • Progress December 10, 2018 (8:13 pm)

      Imagine if they reduced the WS bridge to 1 lane in either direction, and you heard someone say, “that is the price you pay for living on a peninsula, and it’s not on anyone else but you.”To accommodate growth in WS they are building a light rail. Vashon is growing too, slowly but surely. To eliminate and reduce transportation options (in this case ferry times) instead of working to accomodate island growth as well as population growth all over king county (WS and beyond), is a step back in time. 

      • Rick December 10, 2018 (8:51 pm)

        What needs to be done is to build the bridge from Olalla to Vashon,one lane or not, bringing in water and taking out sewage so your paradise can come into the current century.  WS has already dealt with 2 lanes in and and out. Maybe King county should separate from the island and save lots of money as I’m sure it(King County) won’t fail from the loss of income. 

  • Moving into the 21st Century December 10, 2018 (7:13 pm)

    How about just getting the cars on the boat first.  Then charging them while crossing.  They have these new fangled things called tablets and a fancy thing that can attach to accept credit cards.  I also heard each ferry has wireless that could be used by the tablets.  Cash could be processed on the dock or a designated cashier on each boat.  Or they could just not accept cash as I think Metro doesn’t either on the buses.  Passengers would be included in the fare, and if it is a big loss, then they can raise the car rate.  Or just pretend that they are supporting carsharing.Or they could put license plate readers on each ferry and charge like Way to Go does.

    • CAM December 10, 2018 (7:56 pm)

      Metro absolutely accepts cash on buses. Going cashless is all well and good for all those of us lucky enough to have bank accounts and credit cards. For those not so blessed cash is the only option. They still have to be able to buy things and get around. Ferries are public transit. 

      • Pay your way December 11, 2018 (9:46 am)

        The county allows you to drive your car onto a giant boat while subsidizing pricing and prioritizing your traffic access at the expense of West Seattle residents and the entire King County tax base, and you’re calling other people “lucky enough” to have bank accounts? I’m counting my blessings now. If Vashon residents want jobs and urban conveniences, they can either permit a broader business climate on the island or buy their own dang boats. Nice views and white privilege come at a cost. Live on an island? Pay your way or take what you get.

        • Kay December 11, 2018 (11:14 am)

          Washington State Ferry System is run by the state not the county…same folks who are replacing the viaduct.

        • Ivan Weiss December 11, 2018 (1:40 pm)

          Yet another know-it-all broadcasts his ignorance to the world, blissfully unaware that ferry passengers, whether in cars or on foot, are already “paying their way” at a higher percentage of operating costs than any other mode of public transportation in the state. Moreover, our fares, which are set by the state Transportation Commission have risen at a greater rate every year than any other mode. 

    • Chuck December 10, 2018 (9:12 pm)

      One of the best ideas I have ever read on the Blog. Friggin’ brilliant and if this is NOT part of the solution people need to lose their jobs. Bravo!!

  • THOMAS December 10, 2018 (10:16 pm)

    They need to move the Fauntleroy Ferry some where else the people are rude and disrespectful to West Seattle they dont stop for pedestrians,they park their cars in front of people homes,speed by the schools and the tickets will prove that then during the summer the traffic is just terrible and wont let me or my neighbors get into traffic they should move it to where APL use to be those docks have been empty for years

    • Sjwdude December 11, 2018 (6:12 am)

      Talk about privilege you live in a city in a well off neighborhood maybe we should move it to a poor area so you are not inconvenienced by traffic and people trying to get from one place to another. 

    • KM December 11, 2018 (7:12 am)

      Thomas, I hate to break it to you, but people are “rude and disrespectful” everywhere, and it’s perfectly legal to park in front of someone’s house on a public roadway.

    • pay your way December 11, 2018 (9:52 am)

      +1 to Thomas. The first Vashon ferry lets off around 6, and motorcycle riders rip up Fauntleroy at top speed and top volume. Respect earns respect. It’s not you, SJWDUDE and KM, but it’s your neighbors who cast the impression that Vashon people use Seattle, the Lincoln Park region specifically, as their toilet. Yes I paid a lot for my house, but that doesn’t mean I should have to be woken up every day by your inconsiderate neighbors. The lack of empathy is the contradiction of the “Keep Vashon Weird” meme. “Weird” means “selfish and inconsiderate” to those of us supporting your island oasis with our taxes, your noise, and constant traffic issues. If there was a vote to close the Fauntleroy dock, I’d mail my ballot in on day 1. The attitude that West Seattle owes you something is shockingly non-Vashon-weird, or maybe it’s exactly Vashon-weird.

      • KM December 11, 2018 (10:46 am)

        Haha, I live in West Seattle. Was it the reasonable expectations for living near a ferry terminal in a big city that threw you off? 

      • Ivan Weiss December 11, 2018 (2:06 pm)

        @ “Pay Your Way,” Unless you were living along Fauntleroy Way SW before 1927, that dock was there before you were. Your ill-informed complaints notwithstanding, the Vashon residents who will be meeting with Washington State Ferries Wednesday (including me) will be trying to make the situation better for you, not worse, as you imagine. A fuller explanation of the situation is at vashonsonlyroad.org.–Simply put, we are trying to have them adopt a schedule that would have every ferry that leaves Fauntleroy stop at Vashon, then Southworth, and every ferry that leaves Southworth stop at Vashon, then Fauntleroy — the so-called “pendulum route.” This instead of the schedule they would foist on us. –The effect of the “pendulum route” would be more, and more frequent, departures from Fauntleroy, which would keep the lines moving and get them off the street more quickly. We don’t like the situation any more than you do. We know it’s a safety issue. 

        • M December 11, 2018 (5:21 pm)

          Seems incredibly self-centered to want every boat to be direct (non-stop) for Vashon residents but indirect (layover at Vashon) for everyone else.  

  • WSsenior December 10, 2018 (10:35 pm)

    Moving into the 21st century. Can we draft you to run for local  office?  Pragmatic problem solving, refreshing and so needed!  Please?

  • Mickymse December 11, 2018 (9:45 am)

    Why is it that people insist on offering their opinions without bothering to educate themselves, attend a meeting, or do anything else? And do you REALLY just think that government workers are that dumb or lazy? (And, hey, pause for a moment before saying yes to think about whether you know anyone who works for a government agency.)NO, you can’t just let all the cars on to a ferry that is going to two different destinations… otherwise you would have to load everyone off at the first stop and then let those continuing on drive right back on. And if you just ran ferries to one destination, you have to figure out how to line up the people going to each destination.THAT is the problem WSF is trying to solve in their tiny little amount of dock space and feeder lane. How do you identify cars going to each destination or an easy way to pull the next one out of line. The problem isn’t what’s the easiest way to get people to pay for a trip.

  • Jort December 11, 2018 (10:02 am)

    And here we can see what happens when we design our entire lives around how we get our cars around.     Cars take up space, and while we’re not adding any more space, we’re certainly adding more cars. All the clever suggestions in the world won’t change the fact that we’re brushing up against the edges of capacity.        Perhaps it’s time to charge five or six times as much per car and provide free transportation to alternative transportation users like cyclists, pedestrians and transit-riders.      I assure you that if the cost of driving a car onto the ferry increases by 600 percent, fewer people will drive.

  • Moving Into the 21st Century December 11, 2018 (6:02 pm)

    First off, I live near Lincoln Park and have been stuck trying to get onto Fauntleroy Way at times until the Ferry traffic passes; and I also ride the Ferry to Southworth quite frequently.  The motorcycles in the morning annoy me, the line past the Kenney annoys me, and the quarter full boat returning from Southworth really annoys me.  But I can live with those petty annoyances.  But the people who nitpick on one small ommitance really annoy me.I know the Ferries are state run, I know they take cash, but it is a very small amount compared to the total revenue, and I know the price per trip for the ferries is high. My original statement was a foundation, that I hoped others could build.  So let me expand my thought:  Cars line up on Vashon for two ferries now without being directed by Ferry Staff.  At Fauntleroy the cars can still be divided on the dock and loaded separately as they are now.  Hand Held billing could be processed on the dock or the Ferry.  The bottom line is the choke point is the Tolling booths at the street.  If the dock is full (I assume 80 cars) that leaves about 50 cars on the street until the ferry starts loading.  How to get that many cars onto the ferry in the least amount of time is the issue to keep the ferries running efficiently.I will say the Triangle Ferry Staff work their butts off and  are creative with the resources that they have.  There are alternatives, but the State must be willing to fund resources to expedite the payment process.

  • rob December 12, 2018 (12:47 pm)

    get rid of the  west seattle ferry terminal and have it go straight to downtown seattle. With the viaduct coming down this would     help with other traffic coming  out of WS. 

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