Paul B. Demitriades is a former Medina city council member and served on the Trans-lake Washington
SR520 Executive and Advisory Committees. He's been advocating recently for Passenger-only Ferries on Lake Washington, and we think that it could certainly reduce the pressure to pave over certain Eastside neighborhoods. Here is an essay that he recently put forth:
Passenger-only Ferries on Lake Washington—Let’s Make our Transportation Dollars Work More Effectively
Paul B. Demitriades
Recently the King County Transportation/Metro Transit Division completed a Waterborne Transit Policy Study (August, 2005). This informative study available on CD and/or on-line examines the feasibility of passenger only ferry service across Lake Washington, linking Kirkland with the University of Washington campus, and Renton with Leschi. It also studies ferry service on Elliott Bay.
A Lake Washington Kirkland to the University of Washington route could help relieve congestion on the SR-520 Evergreen Point Bridge. WSDOT/Sound Transit are currently involved in the SR-520 bridge replacement and HOV project–preparing the Draft EIS and supporting studies for no action, 4-lane, 6-lane, bridge/road alternatives at an estimated build cost of $2B.
The King County study includes preliminary cost estimates of $6.2M (vessel and terminal) for the Kirkland/UW crossing. Farebox cost recovery is estimated at 19%–requiring a public fare subsidy. WSDOT, in recent publications, identifies 59 2003 Nickel Projects—not one ferry project is included. In it’s listing of 2005 Transportation Partnership Projects–85 Highway, 6 Rail, 12 Freight and only 1 Ferry Project (Fauntleroy Terminal) included.
It appears feasible to seriously consider public/private passenger-only service on Lake Washington–detailed route/cost/fare studies/ferry terminal locations must be completed. WSDOT/Sound Transit should add this alternative now to the SR-520 road only alternative solutions under study for the Draft EIS.
WSDOT’s slogans–“It’s your nickel watch it work” and “making every dollar count” can apply to Lake Washington passenger-only ferry service!