Mark your calendar!
Washington State Ferries will present plans for our Kingston-Edmonds route at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Edmonds senior center. This will include specific proposals for reservations, fares, service and transit improvements.
Please come and speak up. The Edmonds location was requested by the Edmonds City Council. If Kingstonians don’t show up, the Edmonds City Council’s input may be the last public input on our ferry run before WSF finalizes its proposed plan.
Edmonds’ South County Senior Center is located on Railroad Avenue south of the ferry terminal, to the right as you get off of the ferry and halfway down the block.
When ferry traffic squeezes local traffic off Highway 104, some justifiably frustrated Kingstonians have stepped in to direct the traffic to the shoulder. Please resist the urge; there’s a working group looking for a more legal solution.
Kingston’s holding area is often under-used. Examples include: unnecessary “coning off” of available lanes, holding cars back at the toll booth while loading, and the late opening of the toll booths in the morning. Kingston’s terminal managers are committed to correcting these problems. If the booths are not open by 4:40 a.m. or if you see the holding lot not fully used while cars are waiting in town, please tell the manager in the building on the dock or contact us, your Ferry Advisory Committee, with the time and date.
Three issues will require WSF to consider revising Kingston-Edmonds ferry schedules:
• Ferry traffic has taken an unprecedented jump this year. For example, after the 10:50 a.m. sailing, our ferries have only been able to remain on schedule for three of 13 days. Schedules need to reflect this reality.
• The U.S. Coast Guard has decided that WSF may no longer schedule “touring watches” or “double backs.” According to our expert Rex Carlaw, these are a swing-shift watch with a short night off, followed by an early day-shift watch, followed by a day-and-a-half off. This is repeated five times, followed by five days off. Crews love it and sleep on the boat the short night. It’s crucial to Tahlequah and San Juan schedules. Our Puyallup uses it but Spokane does not because of the variations her in start time through the weekend.
• Port Townsend has requested a ferry from Edmonds during the six-week Hood Canal Bridge closure in May 2009. In 1979, when the bridge sank, the Spokane served Port Townsend while smaller boats served Kingston-Edmonds. Now there may not be enough boats for that approach, so Port Townsend has proposed that one of the evening Kingston boats be diverted to Port Townsend.
No schedule changes will happen without a public meeting. First the ferry advisory committees will be meeting with WSF this month … stay tuned.
Ferries for sale
There were no bidders on the eBay auction for WSF’s steel-electric ferries. All offers are still being considered. How about a ferry for the Poulsbo city hall? It comes with parking and can be towed away!
In September, WSF will convert our left-hand tollbooth for the automated processing of pre-ticketed cars to reduce labor costs and open the possibility of a traffic lane for pre-ticketed cars.
The toll taker’s travail
Scene: The 1970s at the Edmonds terminal. The last boat had left and the toll taker was closing up. The other tollbooth had closed earlier so he was the only ferry employee left on the dock. Two men approached to ask about the schedule. They didn’t have a car but said they were headed to Port Townsend nonetheless. When informed the next run would be in the morning, one of the men pulled out a gun and, after taking the toll taker’s wallet, demanded that he drive them to Port Townsend. Our nervous toll taker readily agreed.
Now this toll taker was widely read and up to date on political issues. In the course of the long ride around, he discovered his passengers were activists for a cause about which he was not only knowledgeable but also sympathetic. A friendship grew and blossomed. The gun, however, remained drawn.
When the trio arrived at Port Townsend to the toll taker’s inestimable relief, the two riders got out of the car and bid him a cheerful farewell. As an expression of their gratitude they gave the toll taker $20 for gas money … but kept his wallet.