Submitted by SJC Ferry Advisory Committee
Washington State Ferries will be holding open house events next Wednesday, May 2 in Friday Harbor, and on some interisland ferry runs, to gather input for the 2040 Ferries Long Range Plan. This effort has been underway for about a year, heading for a preliminary report in June and a complete report by year’s end.
This plan will shape ferries for the coming decades and is important to all ferry riders, particularly islanders. If you think the ferry service can be improved, then it is important to share ideas at these open houses.
The day will start with an open house on the 9:30 a.m. ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor. The WSF team will then shift the open house to the interisland ferry departing Friday Harbor at 11:35 a.m. with stops at Shaw at 12:20 p.m., Orcas at 12:40 p.m., and Lopez at 1 p.m., returning to Friday Harbor at 2 p.m. They will then set up at the Brickworks, at 150 Nichols St., from 3:30-6 p.m.
This long-range plan looks forward to 2040. The current plan was drafted in 2009 with a horizon of 2030, and focused on making better use of existing resources and replacing aging vessels and terminals rather than system expansion. Much of what was outlined has been accomplished: New vessels have been built, replacing many of the oldest vessels; replacement terminal projects have been started for Colman dock in Seattle and Mukilteo; and reservations have been implemented on our routes and Port Townsend.
Yet, much work remains to be done. Due to funding constraints, the new vessels were replacements, not additions, leaving WSF critically short of spare boats.
More information on the WSF open houses, including online comments, can be found at wsflongrangeplan.com.WSF’s Long-Range Plan home page is at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/planning/long-range-plan.