posted by December 11 at 9:48 AMon
“Crucial Car Ferry Likely Out for a Year or More”!! screamed a headline in this morning’s Seattle Times. “Drivers face a long detour to other routes,” a caption under the accompanying map added. The story explained:
It’s likely to be a year or more before car-ferry service returns to the Port Townsend-Keystone route after state officials on Monday recommended four aging ferries, sidelined since Nov. 20, should be scrapped, not fixed. […] The Port Townsend-Keystone route carries 778,000 passengers and 370,000 vehicles each year, according to Washington State Ferries. With the Steel Electrics out of service, the route is served by the passenger ferry Snohomish.
Three-hundred seventy thousand vehicles a year? Why, that’s… about a thousand vehicles a day! (By way of comparison, up to 320,000 cars use I-5 through Seattle every day.) The Times story also fails to mention that the Port Townsend/Keystone route is already served by passenger-only ferry, and that the ferry schedule was changed two weeks ago to link up to transit. There are free park-and-ride lots for cars on either side of the ferry run. Buses run every hour on the Whidbey Island side, and every 20 minutes on the Port Townsend side—more frequently, in other words, than lots of bus routes in Seattle. And for those who simply have to drive, the ferry system has added a third boat on the Edmonds-Kingston route.
I’m sorry if I sound unsympathetic—and I’m sure some people will be genuinely inconvenienced—but is it really the end of the world if a few suburban residents have to reorganize their schedules to get around by some means other than driving from home to work and back?