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Angel ask WSF to ‘sit down and discuss’ routes

District 26 State Rep. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard) sent a letter to the state’s ferries division stating she was disappointed by the “open house” meeting held last month concerning the Southworth/Vashon/Fauntleroy ferry routes.

The open house was Oct. 29 at Harper Church near Southworth.

In Angel’s letter dated Oct. 31 to David Mosley, Washington State Department of Transportation assistant secretary of the ferries division, she stated South Kitsap residents who use the ferries would be affected by the changes proposed and residents didn’t feel they are being allowed to be part of the process.

“The Southworth folks always get the short end of the stick,” Angel wrote in her letter. “They are not being heard! It sounds like you are having meetings for meetings sake.”

Angel said residents are asking for another meeting to “sit down and discuss the routes.”

Angel stated that in Fauntleroy, ferry boats are leaving the docks half full because cars in line can’t get to the ferry and end up driving around instead of waiting for the next ferry. She said cars at the Southworth dock get left behind because a portion of the boat is reserved for Vashon Island riders.

“Let the people be heard, we are losing revenue,” Angel said.

She said the survey results need to be analyzed and that it reflects the broad spectrum of residents who rely on the ferries. An online survey is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Ferries/Service/ScheduleProposals.htm.

In 2012, WSD reported total ridership was more than 2.8 million on the Southworth/Vashon/Fauntleroy routes, including 419,484 walk-on passengers and 792,814 vehicle passengers.

Washington State Ferries (WSF) officials are looking to change the triangle route schedule to accommodate additional vehicle capacity when the 124-car Cathlamet replaces the 87-car Klahowya next fall, along with improving reliability and reducing delays, and planning for future demands.

WSF stated that the challenges of scheduling include:

• What is most important to our customers?

• What are the effects from the increase in vehicle capacity on loading and unloading?

• How can service be deployed for current and expected travel patterns?

• How do we improve on-time departures when so many factors affect schedule reliability?

Rex Nelson, chair of the Southworth Ferry Advisory Committee, said the December meeting will deal entirely with the Fauntleroy bottleneck.

“The consensus is that no schedule will work well until there is some resolution of loading and unloading problems,” Nelson said. “Many riders at both Vashon and Southworth want no change until the Fauntleroy mess is resolved.”

He said more Southworth riders are asking for more direct sailings.

“That is difficult to accomplish if you can't get the cars off Fauntleroy Way and onto the boat,” Nelson said. “Whenever I use the 4:20 p.m. ferry, it leaves with empty car spaces, and that’s with one of the smaller Evergreen State boats.”

The next public meeting will include some schedule discussion. The next schedule proposal should be available in January.

State law directs WSF to work with Ferry Advisory Committees to develop ferry schedules, resolve customer problems and understand regional issues. Twice annually, WSF hosts a series of community meetings throughout our service area to discuss current ferry system issues.

The next meeting is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Harper Church, 10384 SE Sedgwick Rd.

 

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