Ahh, summer in Kitsap. Sunshine, beaches, special events, and vehicles in the ferry holding lane from downtown Kingston to Barber Cut Off Road and beyond.
We’ve editorialized about this before and it bears repeating. Having to wait in a ferry lane for a few hours without access to a restroom — men, women and children — is inhumane. They either have to walk a good distance to the nearest business with a public restroom — depending on where you are, it could be a good hike — or duck into the roadside greenery and relieve themselves.
First, walking on Highway 104 in 90-degree heat is not safe.
Second, relieving one’s self in roadside bushes has its own hazards, and is not an environmentally safe practice.
Third, when we raised this issue in 2012, Kingston Port Commissioner Walt Elliott — who is also chairman of the Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee — began looking at the possibilities of installing portable restrooms along 104. Two possible locations: At Lindvog Road and Barber Cut Off Road. We commended him on his initiative and recommended that the state do exactly that: install portable restrooms at Lindvog Road and Barber Cut Off Road.
Five years later, nothing.
It’s way past time for the state Department of Transportation to place portable restrooms at Lindvog Road and Barber Cut Off Road. The state could invest in a portable restroom trailer that has male, female and family restrooms. In the slow season, the restroom trailer could be stored or moved to another location for use.
How to pay for it? The easiest way would be a small surcharge on Kingston-to-Edmonds ferry tickets until it’s paid off. (Is it worth an extra 50 cents to have a clean restroom nearby when you’re waiting in that long ferry line? That’s a no-brainer.)
The responsibility of maintenance could be shared by those who benefit most from visitors: Washington State Ferries, Kingston Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Kingston. Each entity could share the cost of cleaning and maintenance. In 2012, Elliott said the restroom at Arness Park costs less than $100 a month to maintain. A small price to pay for a humane visitor experience. And we think visitors would remember that a decent restroom was available as much as they’ll remember sitting in a giant Adirondack chair.
The Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee needs to take up this cause with the state. If the powers that be need some convincing, here’s our recommendation. Talk about it over lunch and beverages. Then wish them well as they park their car in the ferry line for a three-ferry wait.