FERRIES: Fauntleroy Community Association’s early stance on terminal replacement; WSF public meetings this week

Two notes tonight about Washington State Ferries:

(File photo)

FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LETTER: With planning gearing up for replacing the Fauntleroy terminal/dock later this decade, the Fauntleroy Community Association has sent WSF a letter spelling out its early concerns:

You can read the letter above, or here. Key points are that the FCA supports raising the dock a few feet above its current level, to cover expected sea-level rise, but not further, and that it opposes a larger footprint for the dock. WSF has not made a specific size/design proposal but has noted that the terminal’s small holding zone – 80 vehicles, while the ferries on the route hold up to 1`24 – is a challenge.

REMINDER – WSF PUBLIC MEETINGS: The Fauntleroy terminal is one of many issues/projects WSF is likely to mention during its spring systemwide community meetings this week. The same presentation is planned for both – 11 am Tuesday (May 25th) or 6 pm Wednesday – plus Q&A time. Whichever you want to attend, you need to register to get the participation info; RSVP links are in the meeting announcement.

33 Replies to "FERRIES: Fauntleroy Community Association's early stance on terminal replacement; WSF public meetings this week"

  • Jort May 25, 2021 (12:28 am)

    Did the neighborhood group explain why they don’t want the deck raised higher than 2-3 feet? I read the letter and couldn’t find a reason. Why would they decide to call that out specifically? Hmmm?

    • WSB May 25, 2021 (9:28 am)

      Because one of the many possibilities is adding overhead walk-on loading. The walk-on traffic is nowhere near what it is downtown, where they have separated loading, but so far in early discussions WSF has not ruled anything out.

      • Jort May 25, 2021 (2:52 pm)

        Yes, I understand that, but why are they opposed to that?  Is there something specific about a greater height that they don’t like? I would hate to make an assumption, but could it be that the property owners don’t want to have their ocean views interrupted?  Which … I can understand! Just be honest about it. 

        • Ferry May 25, 2021 (5:35 pm)

          I totally agree Jort, it’s fine for people to advocate for their own self-interests, but be forthright about it. A taller or wider dock means smaller views for the people who wrote this letter. A simple Google search will tell you that. So what’s more important, moving thousands of people around Puget Sound or the views of a dozen homeowners? 

          • Joe Z May 26, 2021 (2:17 pm)

            Don’t underestimate the ability of this group to have a disproportionate influence on the design, anyone can hold up these projects for years with lawsuits and EIS challenges. Those in favor of expanded facilities needs to speak up at every available opportunity, public comment, etc. and make it known that they will not tolerate WSF caving to a small group of people near the terminal. 

  • Melissa May 25, 2021 (8:20 am)

    It’s interesting – and perplexing – to me that although there’s general annoyance and botheration over the loooong ferry lines and the inconvenience they cause, folks don’t want to reduce that inconvenience by expanding the footprint of the dock. 

    • Auntie May 25, 2021 (10:44 am)

      Not sure how they would expand the footprint without taking property from the private owners on the side of the ferry access lanes and dock. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Somehow I doubt they would try eminent domaine takeover of those very expensive properties.

      • Ferry May 25, 2021 (3:24 pm)

        Cove Park on the north side of the ferry dock is not privately owned, so dock holding space over the water could be expanded without taking private property.

        • Salmon May 25, 2021 (4:07 pm)

          Please don’t build further into the sound for car storage or car travel.

          • Ferry May 25, 2021 (5:46 pm)

            I get your sentiment, but what’s the alternative? Is it better for the environment to have cars idling and slowly creeping along Fauntleroy Way and through a small dock, or sitting with engines off on a bigger dock? Is it better to move a full, on-time ferry or to have people decide it’s faster to drive their gas guzzlers south and across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? There’s an argument that it’s environmentally friendly to improve ferry travel (mass transit), even if it means a bigger dock.

          • Jort May 27, 2021 (4:07 pm)

            Ferry, there’s an alternative: make it harder and more expensive for cars to take the ferry so that more people are encouraged to walk or bike on board, instead. When the costs of driving increase beyond the point of convenience, changes happen.

      • Brian May 26, 2021 (10:55 am)

        Eminent domain seizures are blind to parcel value. 

  • John Leary May 25, 2021 (10:03 am)

    I’m looking forward to the dock and area becoming a destination with a few restaurants and shops that reflect the needs of the community and its diverse population. 

    • Auntie May 25, 2021 (11:05 am)

      Although that is a lovely idea, not realistic – where would said restaurants and shops go? I doubt the private property owners on either side of the dock are interested in giving up their property. Also, if you’ve ever tried going to Lincoln Park during the summer, you know that (in the lots or on the street) parking around there is at a premium.

      • Troy Amoas May 25, 2021 (7:21 pm)

        I was told that the dock was going to be modernized to meet the diverse needs of the greater community and the possibility of building up is an option.

      • Brian May 26, 2021 (10:56 am)

        Nobody said they needed more parking. People can walk and bike if they want (or these supposed restaurants can service the people already there for the ferry).  Not everything needs to have parking. 

  • Tim Carson May 25, 2021 (10:25 am)

    Will there be a place to get coffee and a sandwich at the new terminal? 

  • Joe Z May 25, 2021 (11:36 am)

    Nothing in the letter is a surprise…they are trying to protect their homes the same way that others in the path of elevated light rail are advocating for a tunnel or gondola. In theory it’s up to government agencies to weigh the costs vs. benefits and decide on the option that is most beneficial to the region as a whole. In reality, if WSF proposed even the smallest expansion of the dock they will get hammered with EIS challenges and lawsuits and will either have to scrap the plans or write checks to everyone in that neighborhood in exchange for compliance. That’s just how it works. 

  • Ferry May 25, 2021 (3:13 pm)

    The letter ends with “The FCA will…ensure that not only Fauntleroy but all of West Seattle interests are vigorously represented.” I know Fauntleroy homeowners next to the ferry station don’t like the ferry, but I’d argue that West Seattle as a whole wants the ferry station there. It provides customers for businesses and a convenient portal to the Olympic Peninsula for us. This is a case of a very small number of loud homeowners trying to preserve their views at the expense of the greater good–commuters from Southworth and Vashon, and West Seattleites who want and use the ferry station. It’s ok to advocate for your own self-interests as a Fauntleroy homeowner, but don’t try to paint a picture that you’re speaking for West Seattle or even the entire Fauntleroy neighborhood, because that is disingenuous.

  • WS Resident May 25, 2021 (5:45 pm)

    The bigger the dock the bigger the ferry WSF will eventually bring in.  The bigger the ferry the more cars on Fauntleroy Way and on the WS Bridge when we get that back.   Most ferry riders head through WS and out over the bridge. They don’t bring much business to our local businesses.  Starbucks at Morgan Jctn. being the exception. 

    • Ivan Weiss May 25, 2021 (6:39 pm)

      “They don’t bring much business to our local businesses?” Maybe you have some data to back up that assertion?

    • Vashon resident May 25, 2021 (9:10 pm)

      I live in Vashon and enjoy coming over to West Seattle for shopping and dining, sometimes as a destination.  But often I do shopping, pick up dry cleaning, and run errands in W Seattle on the way home from further destinations.

  • anonyme May 26, 2021 (6:22 am)

    Maybe it would make sense to do away with this terminal and combine the water taxi and Vashon terminals?  Seems like there would be more space and less disruption at the water taxi location, as well as a direct connection to downtown.  Just a thought.

    • Ivan Weiss May 26, 2021 (10:13 am)

      Maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe it has escaped you that by law, the ferry system is an integral part of the state highway system, and that state highways are not relocated in such a cavalier fashion.

      • WS Resident May 26, 2021 (2:51 pm)

        It should be noted that the Fauntleroy Terminal is the ONLY WSF terminal in the state that is NOT on a state highway.       Fauntleroy Way is an SDOT road.  There are numerous problems at Fauntleroy because WSF and SDOT and SPD do not communicate well with one another around this particular ferry landing   WSF bring traffic to Fauntleroy but refuses to do anything about managing the ferry line.  They say that is for SPD and SDOT to handle.   SPD got out of the traffic business in Fauntleroy and so now WSP does it, but they ONLY unload the boat.  they don’t effectively direct the rest of the traffic nor do they patrol the line to make sure people don’t block driveways or bulge out around parked cars.  This is a fiasco because WSF takes no responsibility for the mess they make beyond the end of the dock.

        • Ferry May 26, 2021 (6:30 pm)

          A bigger dock would solve this problem. 

        • Jort May 27, 2021 (4:53 pm)

          Why on earth does it require a fully-trained sworn peace officer from the Washington State Patrol to direct traffic out of a ferry terminal? This is what people are talking about when they say that the police need major reforms.

          • WS Resident May 28, 2021 (11:28 am)

            Agreed.    A properly trained WSF employee could do it, but WSF takes no responsibility for it’s impacts to the neighborhood.  Also WSF says they don’t have the money.   yet they pay the cop.   so…   I don’t get it either

  • Marfaun May 26, 2021 (7:41 pm)

    1.  Raising the dock 1-3 feet is WSF plan, not Fauntleroy residents’.  Residents just support WSF.2.  Extending the dock is WSF plan, not residents’.3.  WSF and SDOT numbers show that widening the dock will not alleviate traffic congestion along Fauntleroy Way, or at the SW Wildwood-45th Av. SW intersection.4.  Traffic congestion is infrequent.  South-bound traffic backups to ferry dock occur weekday afternoons, from about 3-ish to 6:30-ish p.m., and periodically on weekends when there is an event (like sheepdog competition or strawberry festival) on Vashon.  East-bound weekday morning congestion occurs when ferries pull into Fauntleroy dock, 0800-ish to 0930-ish during drive times.5. Protectionism of homeowner views is irrelevant — for those of you who imagine some sort of NIMBY-ism in the area.  The dock has been there for almost 80 years, and its character has long been incorporated into everyone’s visual perspective. 6.  The dock is the east end of State Route 160.  Fauntleroy Way is a city roadway.7.  It’s unlikely WSF will build a passenger loading ramp because passenger traffic surges follow the same infrequency as vehicle traffic surges.   When WSF remodeled the Vashon and Southworth docks, they didn’t add passenger access ramps, so they must know something about the cost and utility of these items at low-traffic docks.8.  Expanding the dock to the north is challenging, because King County Metro upgraded its pumping station next to the tollbooths there in 2015 for more than $1 million, plus another $950K for buying the property next to Cove Park, which Seattle owns.  Interests of several King County, city and state agencies need to be reconciled to expand the dock.  9.  Opposition to ferry dock expansion and opposition to West Seattle light rail are unrelated.  It was an odd comment.  Two different groups are involved in these two very different projects.  Anyone who wants to learn about the gondola vs. light rail issue should visit the SkyLink site:  https://www.westseattleskylink.org 

  • Salmon May 27, 2021 (8:21 am)

    Downscale car ferry services, upscale passenger ferries/water taxis, encourage biking – make it more accessible, fast track gondola and light rail transit around the city, improve existing bus services.

    Consider living, working, and shopping more locally.

    Please reduce impacts on our waters.

  • bolo May 27, 2021 (11:18 pm)

    OK but I used to work on Vashon, commuted via bike on the ferry. That first hill is a killah…

    Try it, you’ll see.

    • Salmon May 28, 2021 (8:19 am)

      Oh I have, it’s quite a hill. But things are as hard as you make them out to be. With a big hill, you can get off your bike and walk when you need. You can also choose to put your bike on a bus and get a ride uphill (you can also bring your bike on light rail, ferries, future gondolas, fyi). And, ebikes now make most hills rideable for many, regardless of age or fitness level.

      Who said everything in life was supposed to be easy? It certainly isn’t easy for the salmon!

    • reed May 28, 2021 (9:10 am)

      No, not really, unless you are riding a fixie. 

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