Asphalt in the ferry holding lot has been replaced with pervious concrete, which is like regular concrete without the sand.
Now rain water, reindeer discharge, and vehicle drippings will go straight through the pavement into the 10 feet of beach sand below, where it will be a meal for bacteria that just love petroleum products. Currently, this stuff washes directly into the cove.
Lanes 1-5 aren’t being changed because of the extensive pipes and utilities under them. Kingston is WSDOT’s biggest — and coolest — pervious project.
Can I get on?
The “Approximate Spaces Available” display on Washington State Ferries’ webpage shows us the spaces left on the next ferry. If you’ve used it, as we have, to leave the house at the last possible moment, here’s some information to know.
To figure out the spaces available, WSF’s calculator subtracts the tickets sold from the boat’s capacity. That capacity is deliberately underestimated so not to over promise. For example, although the 144-car “Super” ferries load 144-154 vehicles, the calculator assumes a 139-car capacity. Hypothetically, this leaves room for 5 to 15 more cars when the calculator shows “0.”
In reality, there can also be less spaces available than what the computer shows because it doesn’t count the cars backed up at the toll booth. WSF recommends checking the online camera for backups, but Kingston doesn’t have cameras at the toll booths. When we pointed this out, WSF jumped right on it so stay tuned.
Since the van pools get pushed to the head of the line regardless of when they arrive — even if there’s space for you when you arrive at the toll booth — you could still be out of luck getting on during commute times.
Kingstonians Evan Stoll and Mark Libby met with WSF’s terminal managers and Washington State Patrol to go over the holding lot practices that cause those annoying backups that clog our intersections.
To make more lanes available WSF has been rearranging employee parking over to the holding lot perimeter. The number of lanes being left empty or partially empty also needs work. Instead of leaving a lane open for emergencies, traffic lights or lot attendants could direct emergency vehicles down the outbound traffic lane, as is done on the highways.
The lanes being held open for tall/long rigs could be reduced on holidays and weekends when there’s less commercial traffic.
Currently, lanes are left partially filled after the boat leaves to be a ”divider lane” between traffic beginning and ending locations. Traffic cones could be used instead.
Frequently, cars are held back at the toll booths after there are enough in the lot to fill the next boat or when the ferry is unloading/loading. This usually happens when there’s only one lot attendant. WSF has arranged to have two lot attendants on Saturday evenings to help with this problem, though the lot procedures still need work if we’re going to see improvement.
The cutback in state troopers to control downtown traffic when the tally slips are in use has crews keeping about 40 cars queued downtown to prevent the “line jumpers.”
We think prominently posting the line-jumper report number — 877-764-HERO — would be a better solution.
For nearly a decade now, Dave Wetter’s been pointing out how much more effective and less costly it would be to install an automated tally slip dispenser at Lindvog Road and electronic signs so the tally system could be activated with a flick of the switch.
Just think of how many more perps would be getting orange jumpsuits with all those troopers out on the prowl.
Have a Ferry Merry Christmas!
— FerryFare is written by Walt Elliott, chairman of the Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee.Contact him at email@example.com.