West Seattle, Washington
(Photo taken on a low-tide day during the Water Taxi’s recordsetting June)
Just in from King County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office:
The King County Water Taxi had another record month in June, with a total of 33,865 riders carried by the popular West Seattle-to-downtown passenger-only ferry.
The ridership represents an increase of 12.7 percent over June 2008, in which 30,046 passengers rode the Water Taxi. The year-to-date Water Taxi ridership is 85,784, as compared with 59,386 at the end of June 2008.
The Water Taxi also continued its MVP role for Mariners baseball fans returning home after games—a total of 410 people rode the four boats from Pier 55 to West Seattle’s Seacrest Park following the Mariners’ matinee (1:40 p.m. start time) win over the San Diego Padres.
“Mariners fans are a big part of our loyal Water Taxi ridership and we are happy to give them the opportunity to skip the traffic jams and take a relaxing ride home after the game,” said County Council Chair Dow Constantine, who also serves as chair of the King County Ferry District Board. “We will work to replicate the success of our West Seattle route as the King County Ferry District adds demonstration service on other routes on Puget Sound and Lake Washington.”
The King County Water Taxi will be running on a Saturday schedule on both Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4. This means the first sailing from Pier 55 will be at 8:30 a.m. both days and the first sailing from West Seattle at 9:00 a.m. The last boat will leave Pier 55 at 10:30 p.m. and West Seattle at 11:00 p.m. For a complete sailing schedule, visit www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Marine/WaterTaxi/WestSeattle-DowntownSeattle/Schedule.aspx
Just announced by King County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office – 20 percent more than last May — read on for the official news release:Read More
Remember that sunny scene when the renamed King County Water Taxi kicked off the 2009 season a month ago? Despite subsequent bouts of stormy weather, the West Seattle-to-downtown foot ferry carried 20,361 passengers during its first month, according to numbers made public today by King County Council/King County Ferry District Board Chair Dow Constantine, who said, “These numbers bode well for a successful move to year-round Water Taxi operation next year.” More numbers: 663 riders on the average weekday, 911 on the average Saturday, 1,406 on the average Sunday (including April 5, when 3,429 people took advantage of all-day freebies). This year’s season is scheduled to run through October, and Seacrest dock improvements — to facilitate year-round operation starting next year — are planned for the off-season after that.
That’s a little of what we used to call “raw video” in the TV business, where West Seattle-based broadcaster New York Vinnie and your editor here used to work together. NY Vinnie got that video behind the scenes on the field at Safeco today as Ken Griffey Jr. got ready for tomorrow’s Seattle Mariners home opener against the Angels; we’re using it to remind you about some traffic and travel notes: Game time is 3:40 pm; Vinnie notes that “if you are coming from West Seattle, leave extra time, as there is major road construction going on on 1st Avenue between Spokane Street and the ballpark.” The King County Water Taxi‘s an option, since it promises extra night runs to get you home from Mariners games (with late shuttle-bus runs too); see the schedule here (and find it atop the WSB Traffic page, any time).
One more photo from our 8:50 am King County Water Taxi (WSB sponsor) run downtown this morning … looks like tomorrow will be conducive to commuting via water, too.
(WSB photo from 8:50 am run this morning, looking back toward West Seattle)
3,429 riders yesterday, is the word we just got — “a new record,” per the Water Taxi’s announcement on Twitter. (Our coverage from Sunday, with photos and video, can be found here.)
ORIGINAL 12:20 PM REPORT: Huge crowd here at Seacrest for the season-kickoff party celebrating the return of the King County Water Taxi (which actually started its 2009 runs a few hours ago, as shown in our earlier coverage). King County Council Chair Dow Constantine – who’s got a touch of laryngitis – is speaking right now, joking that when they decided to start the season a month earlier, they figured the weather would be bad. Guess what!
That’s the big crowd on board as the KCWT left a few minutes ago. Free rides all day – lines are long – parking’s tough (“a nightmare,” one man complained into his cell phone as he walked by) – so take the free shuttle bus. (As Constantine is mentioning right now, the shuttles now have distinct numbers so you can tell which shuttle is going where – a point of confusion in years gone by, whether the bus was going to Alki or The Junction.) Free treats and live music down here, too, in addition to the free sunshine.
ADDED 1:12 PM: More from the party – here’s the fireboat putting on a show a few minutes ago:
Also just had a Coast Guard chopper flyby, though maybe just a coincidence:
And some video – County Council Chair Constantine with the weather remark we mentioned above:
Plus a photo from Constantine’s Twitter stream, as he walked down to get on board:
2:52 PM UPDATE: Party’s over, more photos to add – first, at the other side of Constantine’s round trip, he chatted with other riders as they disembarked:
Yet another megaline awaited the next sailing, with a reminder in the foreground that Seacrest is also home to Alki Kayak Tours:
At the head of the line, bottom of the steel ramp that meets the wooden floating dock, a feathered greeter:
Besides the rebranded Water Taxi and shuttle buses, you’ll see the new sign at Seacrest too:
The free rides continue till the last run of the night, which is at 7 pm; here’s the schedule. Then the weekday schedule kicks in tomorrow (and the weather is expected to be spectacular – we’re glad to hear it, since we have a couple stories to cover downtown in the morning – no need to take the car!).
4:18 PM: Last addition, a clip of the fireboat’s spray show:
And dozens more photos of today’s event are up on the Ferry District’s Flickr pages, here.
A shimmering morning at Seacrest Pier, as the King County Water Taxi arrived less than half an hour ago for the first time under that name and the first official time this year. Today’s big party is noon-2 pm, with giveaways and entertainment; free rides are all day (here’s the schedule); parking is already tight at and around the pier, so take the shuttle or be prepared for a walk.
This may be the second-to-last time we get our traditional “first arrival” video – next year, if all goes according to plan (including dock improvements after this season ends 10/31), the Water Taxi is supposed to start running year-round. P.S. You can find the Water Taxi schedule linked atop the WSB Traffic page.
We just couldn’t wait till tomorrow morning — went to the downtown waterfront tonight to get photos of the new trim and new logo on the newly rebranded King County Water Taxi. Tomorrow, of course, you can see it in person …
… free rides all day, and while the big party at Seacrest Pier (map) is noon-2 pm (with the fireboat Leschi scheduled for a spray show around 12:45), the Water Taxi sails its full schedule on day 1, which means you should see its first arrival at Seacrest around 8:45 am. P.S. If you’re trying to remember what the Water Taxi USED to look like, here’s a WSB photo from last fall:
Talking with King County Council Chair Dow Constantine at the Gathering of Neighbors today, we’re pretty sure he mentioned a new look for the shuttle buses too, so we’ll be watching out for that tomorrow morning as well. ADDED 11:07 PM: Well, we don’t even have to wait till tomorrow for THAT – turns out the King County Ferry District has a Flickr stream with an entire sequence of photos of the shuttle-bus rewrapping — see it here (as well as more pix of the Water Taxi’s new look).
As you’ve already heard here and elsewhere what may seem like a million times, the King County Water Taxi (WSB sponsor) opens its 2009 season this Sunday, with free rides all day and a noon-2 pm party at Seacrest. Just got word that the fireboat Leschi is scheduled to “greet” the Water Taxi during the party, when it arrives around 12:45 pm. Always a sight (especially if you have little ones, although some of us kids-at-heart find the spray a riveting sight too)
The King County Water Taxi is aboard the good ship WSB Sponsorship as of this week, and we’re now just three days away from the start of its 2009 season. A news release just came in with a few more details about this Sunday’s noon-2 pm kickoff celebration, including giveaway and music details – read on!Read More
Three reasons we’re starting the weekend countdown way early:
GATHERING OF NEIGHBORS: Think you know West Seattle tip to toe, Duwamish Head to Delridge Triangle, Herring’s House Park to Weather Watch Park? We bet you’ll still find someone, something, some group, some business that’s new to you, when you drop by the Gathering of Neighbors/Biz Expo (WSB sponsor) this Saturday, 11 am-3 pm, Chief Sealth at Boren. We’ll be there, which brings us to …
WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY SIGNUPS START SATURDAY: May 9th is the 5th annual WSCGSD — one day with garage sales all over West Seattle! more than 145 registered last year — and we’re starting registration earlier this year in response to suggestions made last year. First day of registration is this Saturday, and if you come sign up in person at the WSB table at the aforementioned Gathering of Neighbors, we’re offering a one-day-only, in-person-only discount from the regular fees (which are otherwise the same as last year, which in turn was a cut from the year before): That means if you sign up with us in person that day at G-o-N, it’s $10/individual sale, $15/organization-school-etc., $25/block. (Rest of the time it’s $12-$20-$30.) By the way, if you don’t have room for your own sale, we know of at least one place that will offer space for you to come set up a table – Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor), in the courtyard – more on that later this week.
WATER TAXI SEASON STARTS SUNDAY: It’s one of the best freebies of the year – the King County (formerly Elliott Bay) Water Taxi will be free all day on kickoff day this Sunday, plus Seacrest Pier will be in full celebration mode that day from noon-2 pm — music, speeches, surprises, general revelry. Water Taxi schedules and fares all await you here.
From the WSB Events calendar:
WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN LUNCHEON: 11:30 am at the West Seattle Golf Course. Guest speakers include 34th District Democrats chair Tim Nuse and West Seattle’s School Board rep Steve Sundquist; registration starts Registration will begin at 11:15 A.M. with the lunch/program beginning at 11:30 A.M. Cost is $10 for members; $12 for non-members. But call for reservations first: (206) 935-3216.
PARKS BOARD VOTE ON WATER TAXI DOCK: 7 pm at Parks Department HQ downtown (map). Tonight’s agenda includes a vote on whether to recommend that Parks support the plan to expand the dock at Seacrest so that the (newly renamed) King County Water Taxi can start year-round operations next year.
SOUTH DELRIDGE/WHITE CENTER COMMUNITY SAFETY COALITION: 6 pm, St. James Place, 9421 18th SW (map). Tonight’s agenda includes the continued discussion of a possible “alcohol impact zone” on both sides of the city/county line.
As reported here last Thursday, the Water Taxi is now the King County Water Taxi, no longer the Elliott Bay WT. With its April 5th season kickoff (remember – free rides all day!) now just a week and a half away, the county’s issued a new fact sheet with a reminder of some of the other changes – see it here.
**NOTE – SINCE THE SERVICE’S NAME HAS CHANGED, STORIES NEWER THAN THIS ONE ARE CATALOGUED IN OUR “KING COUNTY WATER TAXI” CATEGORY, HERE**
Since our Water Taxi update this morning, its website has been updated with all of this year’s information, including schedules – and you’ll notice one big thing: It’s not the Elliott Bay Water Taxi any more; it’s the King County Water Taxi. Online info starts here; note that the KCWT will now run till late evening 7 nights a week, among other changes.