King County Water Taxi 341 results

West Seattle Water Taxi shuttle to serve Morgan Junction part-time

Some years back, the King County (then Elliott Bay) Water Taxi shuttle bus ran all the way south to Morgan Junction, in addition to the current route between Alki and The (Alaska) Junction. This year, according to word we just received from Susan Whitmore with the King County Department of Transportation, the shuttle will run to Morgan Junction part of the time again. Specifically, she says, it will include Morgan Junction in the midday time period on weekdays – a time when ridership otherwise is low. And it’s not so much about getting to the Water Taxi itself, Whitmore explains, it’s about getting people around the area: “We were able to extend service without increasing our current budget or impacting the shuttle schedule. This extension allows us to provide midday transit service to residents around Morgan Junction. Ridership on the route extension will be evaluated during the summer.” Exact details on the schedule aren’t out yet, but the route it will follow is shown on this map (partly shown at right). As previously noted, the Water Taxi starts its season next Monday, April 5, with a new West Seattle dock, different downtown dock, new vessel, and new fare structure – note that there have been changes in the passes that will be accepted, too. The season-opening celebration is planned for the following Sunday, April 11, with free rides all day. ADDED THURSDAY: Here’s the Route 773 schedule.

King County Water Taxi’s parent agency gets a new boss

March 29, 2010 3:25 pm
|    Comments Off on King County Water Taxi’s parent agency gets a new boss
 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

From the King County Ferry District, which runs the Water Taxi (whose West Seattle-to-downtown run resumes a week from today, April 5, with a celebration on April 11) – a new KCFD executive director has been chosen. Read on for the official announcement:Read More

@ the Parks Board: Celebration set for Water Taxi’s new dock

March 25, 2010 7:06 pm
|    Comments Off on @ the Parks Board: Celebration set for Water Taxi’s new dock
 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

7:06 PM: Also at the Seattle Parks Board meeting downtown: This hasn’t been announced by the county yet, but Superintendent Tim Gallagher has just told the board that a celebration at/for the King County Water Taxi’s new dock at Seacrest is set for Sunday, April 11, noon-2 pm – that’s the first Sunday after the Water Taxi season starts on April 5. 9:49 PM UPDATE: This is now on the Water Taxi/King County Ferry District website too. Free rides!

West Seattle scenes: Eagles; blossoms; more Water Taxi dock pix

Another double-eagle sighting! This time, in Arbor Heights. Thanks to John for the photo from 104th/California. Then from SW Dawson … Nick sends a photo so full of cherry blossoms, they take up the whole frame:

And while we were out enjoying the sun, we stopped by Seacrest for more of a look at the newly complete King County Water Taxi dock, after getting Alki Kayak Tours‘ photo of the “finger piers” yesterday. Here’s a look down the ramp to the dock:

Then a view of the full dock:

And the gangway that’ll take you to the boat, which will pull up perpendicular to the dock (and can be boarded from either side) rather than nosing in alongside, as in years past:

Less than a month now till opening day, Monday 4/5.

Alki Kayak Tours reopening, with Seacrest dock work done

Greg Whittaker from Alki Kayak Tours shares what he says is the first photo of a kayak in the new “finger piers” that are part of the King County Water Taxi dock upgrade at Seacrest – work we’ve been tracking here. And with the work done, he says Alki Kayak Tours is ready to reopen. From his announcement:

Alki Kayak Tours, one of the 2009 recipients of the City of Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award, will be reopening for the season this weekend at its location at Seacrest Marina in West Seattle.

… Alki Kayak Tours has prepped its sea kayak fleet and will be offering guided sea kayak tours of Elliott Bay, exploring the natural history and human history of Puget Sound. Migratory waterfowl are prevalent this time of year along with sightings of marine mammals including the California sea lion, harbor seal, and occasional grey whale and porpoise!

Alki Kayak Tours also offers “other outdoor adventure gear,” plus inline skates, beach cruiser bikes, longboards and Stand Up Paddleboards. As for the Water Taxi – it’s still on track to start the season exactly one month from today, Monday, April 5. (Did you see our stories with a sneak peek inside the new boat and the first look at it with the official paint job?)

West Seattle’s Water Taxi: Gangway’s here; training soon

We’ve been tracking work on the new King County Water Taxi dock at Seacrest – next step, the gangway. Its components arrived at the end of the week, after the concrete dock was towed in (see our previous story/photos here) and secured. And you may soon see the new vessel on the West Seattle-downtown run, the Rachel Marie, because King County Transportation Marine Division communications manager Susan Whitmore says it’s being brought into Puget Sound this week, after leaving the Ballard shipyard where it’s been getting ready for its new role (see our “sneak peek inside tour” story here). Whitmore says the crew – county employees, now that the service is no longer operated by Argosy – starts work two weeks from tomorrow and will be training until the new season begins on April 5. 6:48 PM UPDATE: Seems the Rachel Marie didn’t wait till next week – we’re told it was seen out and about today, and Zack sent this photo of the RM docked at Pier 50 this evening, now sporting the KCWT branding, next to its counterpart Melissa Ann, which makes the Vashon-downtown run:

9:31 PM UPDATE: The explanation comes in comment and on our Facebook (WS Blog) page – the Rachel Marie will fill in on the Vashon-downtown run because of mechanical trouble that took the Melissa Ann out of service.

King County Water Taxi: Next phase for new dock

With a little over five weeks to go till the new season starts for the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle-Downtown Seattle run, construction of its new dock at Seacrest has entered the second phase. After the new pilings were finished earlier this month, the site was quiet for a while, but now the concrete dock itself is going in – the photo above is from about an hour ago. The first day of the new season is scheduled for Monday, April 5th; last Friday, we brought you a close-up sneak peek on board the boat King County has leased for the run, the Rachel Marie (see our story =here). It’s currently at a Ballard shipyard getting freshened up, with the county branding outside, and new seats (among other things) inside – this shot from our Friday tour looks toward the bow on the main deck:

You’re likely to see West Seattle’s new Water Taxi out on training runs starting in a week or two. Meantime, here’s a little more background about the new dock; other changes for the new season include fares and the downtown dock location, which moves south to Pier 50 (which the other county run, Vashon-Downtown, already uses). ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: Thanks to Brenda C for photos taken as the concrete dock floated in, earlier in the day:

Sneak peek aboard West Seattle’s new Water Taxi, the Rachel Marie

When you step on board the 77-foot catamaran Rachel Marie – which will make the West Seattle-Downtown Seattle run of the King County Water Taxi when this year’s service starts April 5 (new date) – you may feel a little smarter. That’s because the boat used to carry rocket scientists. True! As explained by Robert Patronsky of Four Seasons Marine, which owns the RM and its sister ship Melissa Ann – the Water Taxi for the Vashon-Downtown Seattle run – this one made shuttle runs in the Western Pacific for many years, to a US military missile-testing site. A photo inside the vessel is testimony to this:

So are signs in English and the Marshall Islands’ language, Marshallese.

More recently, the RM was on a foot-ferry passenger project in Honolulu. But we digress. The reason we asked the King County Ferry District for a sneak peek on board the Rachel Marie, which is currently at a Ballard shipyard, is because many WSB’ers asked for more details when we first reported on the Rachel Marie (with photos) last month. Ask, and we’ll do our best to make sure you receive. “Is there an outside deck?” some asked. Here it is – room for about 40 people topside, stern – a one-minute tour of where you can sit/stand outside:

There’s an inside deck upstairs, too – keep in mind, this eventually is meant to run year-round – and then, the main deck:

While the Rachel Marie is capable of carrying more than 200, Susan Whitmore with King County says it will be certified for up to 150 – any more, and they have different crewing and security requirements. Right now, they’re finishing hiring the crew – they’ve got their captains, who will be in a wheelhouse you can watch through windows at the front of the top interior deck:

Some other notes: No concessions; the county might look at that later as a revenue measure, says Whitmore, but nothing’s planned when the season starts. You can bring your own food/drink, though, and there are some tables in the main-deck seating.

(A few power outlets, too, if you just can’t stay off your laptop during the trip across the bay.) And as you probably noticed in the video clip, interior bike racks – enough to hold 18 total, no extra charge. Though the Rachel Marie has the ability to run faster than its predecessors, they’re keeping the same schedule for now – while looking for the “sweet spot” between fuel efficiency and speed. The basic fare is higher if you’re paying cash, as reported previously; Whitmore says they’ll keep taking cash “for a while,” but the farebox will be at the dock, along with an ORCA transit-card reader, and they hope eventually to install credit-card-capable ticket machines at the docks (remember, on the downtown side, they’ll be switching to Pier 50, just south of Colman Dock). Again, the new Water Taxi season starts April 5; that’s a Monday, so Whitmore says they’re not planning the kind of festivities with which they kicked off the season in past years, but might have an open house at some point. Meantime, the new dock at Seacrest needs to be finished – and then this summer, county leaders have to figure out the funding that’s needed for the service to run year-round as hoped.

“Meet” the King County Water Taxi vessel you’ll ride this year

(Photo of MV Rachel Marie provided by KCFD – 2nd photo added 8:12 pm)
Kris Faucett from the King County Ferry District says its Board of Supervisors — King County Council members – approved a lease today for downtown-West Seattle service by the M.V. Rachel Marie, sister ship to the M.V. Melissa Ann, which is now on the King County Water Taxi’s other run between downtown and Vashon. (added 11:42 pm, from this document) Monthly cost: $32,000. (end of add) Also today, Faucett says the new fare schedule won approval today too, plus there’s word that West Seattle’s one-year Councilmember Jan Drago has been elected to chair the Ferry District Board. Read on for the Rachel Marie’s stats:Read More

West Seattle’s Water Taxi: Dock pour today; fare hearing Monday

Thanks to WSB’er “kmo39” – who has shared updates before on the progress of the King County Water Taxi dock project at Seacrest – for sharing that photo taken this morning: Now that the pilings for the new dock are in, concrete pouring is under way. The Water Taxi is scheduled to start running again in April, and if funding is finalized over the summer, its year-round operations could start this fall; the dock project is a prelude to that, since the previous wooden floating dock – shaky even in summertime – didn’t suit rough-weather operations. Also a reminder – the King County Ferry District board (King County Council members) is scheduled to take up the new proposed fare structure (including a 50-cent increase if you pay cash) on Monday (1:30 pm, County Courthouse), with a public hearing – here’s our story from last week.

King County Water Taxi proposes 50-cent fare hike – for some

If the King County Ferry District Board – aka King County Council – says yes, the KC Water Taxi‘s West Seattle run will charge 50 cents more for adult passengers who pay cash, starting this spring. A new fare schedule is up for a public hearing when the board meets January 25th – including Seattle-Vashon Water Taxi fares:

Reasons cited for the rate increase – which would be the first in three-plus years – include wanting to encourage transit-pass use. The meeting on January 25 is at 1:30 pm in County Council chambers at the County Courthouse downtown; you can read related documents by following links from this page on the Ferry District website. Next Water Taxi season is scheduled to start April 4; work is under way at Seacrest right now to improve its dock in hopes of year-round operation, which will require additional funding that the county’s hoping will be worked out this summer. P.S. We just asked spokesperson Kris Faucett if there’s been a decision on which boat the county will lease for the new season (since Argosy is no longer running the service) – she says there should be news about that “soon.”

West Seattle construction: Water Taxi dock, Denny-Sealth updates

Though we just updated the King County Water Taxi dock work at Seacrest Pier early this morning, it’s worth another note: The county announcement last week had said the fishing pier was expected to stay open, it was CLOSED when we were over at Seacrest a little while ago. The crane/barge work is so close that it’s easy to see why. So in case you were thinking of going fishing (or view-enjoying), take note, it may not be accessible if you go while this is happening. We’re checking with the county to see if there is any more predictable information to share on that. Fascinating work to watch, though, and thanks again to kmo39 for high-level views like the ones shared earlier today.
(added 3:33 pm) Update from Susan Whitmore at KCDOT:

I just got back from Seacrest Dock and want to update you on the status of the fixed fishing pier. It isn’t officially closed, but when the crane is working over the pier (off and on for the next few days) the construction supervisor is suggesting that folks don’t go out on the pier. They are making good progress and have already started hammering in the piles and have three in place already. The supervisor mentioned that they will also ask folks not to use the fixed pier for a day during the week of Jan 18th when the concrete pumping truck is on site pumping concrete.

(back to original 2:51 pm story) Meantime, some new construction photos from the Denny International Middle School construction/Chief Sealth High School renovation work:

Pauline Sugarman, Seattle Public Schools BEX Program Community Outreach Assistant, shares that photo of the topping-off ceremony celebrated at the Denny site just before Christmas, and this aerial of the entire project site:

(Scroll through the Denny-Sealth coverage archive to see previous aerials.) We asked if there’s an update on whether the new Denny is likely to be occupied midyear 2011-2012 or not till the start of the 2011-2012 school year; Sugarman says that the final decision hasn’t been made yet, but the latter may be more likely, as Denny work might not be done before March 2011. Chief Sealth, though, remains on track to reoccupy its permanent campus this fall, after two years in temporary quarters at the former Louisa Boren Junior High School on Delridge.

Update: Water Taxi dock work begins at Seacrest Pier

Thanks to WSB’er “kmo39” for that photo of work getting under way at Seacrest Pier for the King County Water Taxi‘s new dock, as the county said it would. A new floating dock and other improvements are going in with a look ahead to facilitating year-round service as soon as this fall, providing the extra money for it is nailed down by summer; this WSB story from last week shows how the new dock will be configured. The county explained a week ago how the project will proceed, including saying that the construction company will for starters “move barges and containment booms into the area between the fixed fishing pier and the shoreline. In the first stage of the project, the aging gangway, floating dock and pilings will be removed. By mid-January, installation of new pilings will begin, which requires using a large vibratory hammer to rattle the pilings into the ground.” The county hopes to have the work done by the end of February; the Water Taxi’s West Seattle-to-downtown run is scheduled to resume in early April.

Closer look at the new Water Taxi dock for Seacrest

December 30, 2009 1:49 pm
|    Comments Off on Closer look at the new Water Taxi dock for Seacrest
 |   King County Water Taxi | Transportation | West Seattle news


In the comment section following yesterday’s update on impending King County Water Taxi dock construction at Seacrest, there was a request for a closer look at the plan, to find out more about how divers might be affected. We asked the King County Department of Transportation for an image of the latest rendering – all we had was our photo of what was up on an easel at a meeting early last year – and what you see above is what they sent today. (Click the image, or here, for a larger view – you may have to click “zoom” if your browser allows it, once the new image comes up.) Most of the components are being built off-site to minimize the amount of time people are affected at Seacrest, but piles will be driven and so neighbors are warned of noise and other construction-related inconveniences. The first day of this year’s Water Taxi season is scheduled to be April 4, but whether it continues year-round from that point on – as the new dock is meant to facilitate – depends on the results of a search for funding, since the county budget crisis last fall led to the King County Ferry District cutting back on the taxing authority it was using.

Followup: Water Taxi dock work starts next week at Seacrest

As reported here last weekend, the construction permit’s been issued for the new King County Water Taxi dock at Seacrest, and this morning we have more information from the King County Department of Transportation on when the work starts and what effects it will have on people who use Seacrest:

The project begins the week of Jan. 4, when Manson Construction Company will move barges and containment booms into the area between the fixed fishing pier and the shoreline. In the first stage of the project, the aging gangway, floating dock and pilings will be removed.

By mid-January, installation of new pilings will begin, which requires using a large vibratory hammer to rattle the pilings into the ground. The pile installation has the potential for increased noise especially underwater. Residents around Seacrest Park may also notice increased noise levels during working hours Monday through Friday.

The fixed fishing pier is expected to remain open to the public throughout construction, but fishermen will experience increased noise and in-water disruptions. Also, recreational diving will be interrupted at and around Seacrest Dock between mid-January and mid-February of 2010.

The pile installation is scheduled to take two to three weeks. Once it’s completed, a new dock and gangway will be installed. No increase in noise levels is expected during this construction phase; however, the work could continue to be disruptive to divers in the area.

The current construction schedule shows the project being completed by late-February, 2010.

The Water Taxi’s next season between West Seattle and downtown is scheduled to start in April. Whether it continues year-round thereafter, as has been proposed, depends on funding issues. Since the service is no longer being contracted out to Argosy Cruises, next season will bring a dock change (Pier 50 downtown, where the county’s Seattle-Vashon foot ferry now lands) and vessel change (the county’s leasing one – no final decision yet on a specific vessel).

West Seattle Water Taxi update: Permit granted for dock work

(WSB photo from June 2009)
As previously reported, the dock at Seacrest used by the West Seattle-to-downtown run of the King County Water Taxi needs major upgrade work before the service can go year-round. This week, the construction permit was granted for the dock and piling replacement project (here’s the notice on the city website), as outlined in this rendering shown at a meeting earlier this year:

While Seacrest is a city Parks Department facility, the Water Taxi service is run by the county, which is responsible for the dock-upgrade project. When government offices reopen next week, we’ll check to see when the major work is scheduled to begin. Meantime, there are still financial issues to settle before long-term year-round service is guaranteed, as the footnote on this King County Ferry District webpage underscores. The service is scheduled to restart “seasonal” operations in spring, no matter what (likely April 4, according to the “work plan” adopted with the Ferry District budget in November). As the county is now running the service instead of Argosy, the boat and dock are scheduled to change as well – with a leased vessel running between Seacrest and Pier 50, south of Washington State Ferries‘ Colman Dock.

Water Taxi scores record year – and dock expansion work begins

As the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle run sends out the official announcement of another record-setting year (which ended on Halloween), we also have word that work has begun on the expansion of its Seacrest dock – which will enable the foot ferry to go year-round starting next spring. Word from King County Executive-elect Dow Constantine‘s office is that work on the dock components already has begun offsite, and the 12-week expansion project will start onsite within a few weeks. Now, as for that recordsetting traffic – here’s the official announcement:

The King County Water Taxi West Seattle route broke the 200,000 rider mark in 2009, as the 12-year-old passenger ferry connecting West Seattle and downtown Seattle increased its annual ridership by 21 percent over 2008.

During the 2009 summer season:

—The West Seattle route served a total of 203,229 riders;

—Set individual monthly ridership records for each full operational month: May 2009 (31,557), June 2009 (33,865), July 2009 (46,861), August 2009 (43,981), and September 2009 (26,603);

—The 46,861 riders in July set the mark as the top ridership month in the history of the King County Water Taxi West Seattle route;

—August 2009 was the second highest ridership month in West Seattle route history (43,981 riders) and just the third month ever with 43,000 or more riders (43,020 people rode in August 2007), and

—Over the past five years, ridership on the West Seattle route has increased by 90 percent (from 106,316 riders in 2005 to 203,229 riders in 2009).

In the election’s wake, King Co. Ferry District/Water Taxi sails on

This almost got lost in the flood of news that surged in Monday, with the vote count that settled the mayor’s race, among other things: After action taken by the King County Council sitting as the King County Ferry District Board of Supervisors, the district lives on, but with the reduced tax levy that was announced in July as a bus tradeoff – that means the West Seattle and Vashon routes continue, but there will be no “demonstration routes” elsewhere in the foreseeable future. Read on for the county’s official announcement:Read More

Reminder – King County Water Taxi (WS) is docked till spring

Thanks to David Hutchinson for that Saturday shot from Seacrest, as the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle-downtown runs were in their final hours of the season. The county website says simply it’ll be back in the spring – but much is in play till then – tomorrow’s election, for one, since County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison has criticized the King County Ferry District (including the Water Taxi); then there’s the district’s budget for next year – according to this notice, a public hearing is set for one week from today; see the budget here – it lays out the plan for the Water Taxi to resume service next April as a year-round operation. But first, those Seacrest dock improvements recently signed off on by the city need to be made, too.

Extra Water Taxi service (and traffic alert) for Sounders tomorrow

From Linda Thielke at King County Department of Transportation:

The Seattle Sounders soccer team will open up the post season with a playoff game against the Houston Dynamo on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Qwest Field.

The game could disrupt traffic as thousands of fans in green-and-blue scarves are expected to descend on Pioneer Square and the Sodo area. Expect traffic congestion during the afternoon and evening commute. Also, bus passengers who are traveling through the downtown area Thursday afternoon may experience some delays in transit service.

For fans wanting to beat the traffic and travel to the game by bus, use Metro Transit’s Trip Planner to plan a route most convenient for you. And, West Seattle Water Taxi passengers should be aware the Water Taxi will operate a Friday night schedule on game night, with the last sailing from Seattle to West Seattle at 10:30 p.m.

And a reminder, Saturday is the last day of the season for the Water Taxi – which is scheduled (pending election and budget variables) to go into year-round operation after Seacrest dock improvements are done early next year.

Transportation notes: Viaduct-closure signs; Water Taxi end date

VIADUCT CLOSURE THIS WEEKEND: Looking ahead to this weekend’s Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure, WSDOT wants to give you a heads-up about two signs you may have seen: They’re not entirely accurate. Kristy Van Ness explains why:

We’ve placed two variable message signs as you head north from West Seattle toward downtown, alerting drivers of this weekend’s closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. But… there’s a character limit on those signs, so they state that the viaduct is closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We are still going to open the Viaduct at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, so those heading to the Sounders game can use the structure if needed, but just couldn’t fit those extra characters on the sign!

(added 1:52 pm) By the way, a big ceremony is scheduled this Saturday morning for the signing of the tunnel agreement approved by the Seattle City Council earlier this week. The media invite hasn’t gone out yet but we got the tip from Chas Redmond, one of the West Seattleites who are on the “portal working groups” hashing out what will be happening AROUND the tunnel. WSDOT tells us those groups may not reconvene for another month or so.

WATER TAXI REMINDER: King County just sent out a short reminder that, as scheduled all along, the Water Taxi route between West Seattle and downtown is still scheduled to end its season on Halloween. (Just this week, the City Council gave its approval to the plan for dock work to be done in the offseason, looking ahead to planned year-round operation of the route; we’re checking to find out the timetable on that.)

Election 2009: Is West Seattle “nowhere”?

If you follow @westseattleblog on Twitter, you know the side conversations are numerous. One of them involved a musing (see it here) three days ago about a campaign commercial online (see it here, “cued up” to the reference) in which King County Council Chair/County Executive candidate Dow Constantine is accused of spending money on “ferries going nowhere,” while an image of the King County Water Taxi is shown. We wondered aloud if that was meant to suggest West Seattle is nowhere. The ad apparently subsequently hit the airwaves, which led Joseph Brick to wonder the same thing and send the question to us and The Stranger, which quickly pursued responses and just sent us links to their resulting Slog posts. Short summary, with the links: The person who produced the “ferries going nowhere” ad (whose funding is noted here) notes it’s an “independent” production and that “the (Susan) Hutchison campaign hasn’t seen it” and explains they were referring more to plans to expand the foot ferries; the Constantine campaign contends it’s evidence of an “anti-Seattle campaign” by Hutchison “and her allies.” No published comment from the Hutchison campaign so far, but we are seeking one. (12:47 AM WEDNESDAY: Haven’t received a reply.)

Water Taxi will run late tomorrow for Sounders match

Someone asked us to check into this – we can’t find the original note but we did find the answer on the King County Water Taxi site: there WILL be late runs after the Sounders game tomorrow (as well as Sept. 3 Seahawks, and extra-late this Saturday night post-Seahawks if necessary). The schedule’s here.