Traffic big concern among ferry terminal comments
MUKILTEO - Where should the Mukilteo ferry terminal go?
The state Department of Transportation heard dozens of comments last week at a public hearing at the Rosehill Community Center.
The DOT is choosing among four siting options for the terminal. The options are building a new terminal on the current terminal’s footprint, building a bigger terminal at the current location, building the new terminal east of its current location on the U.S. Air Force tank farm property or building the terminal in between its current location and the tank farm.
If the terminal is moved to the east, waterfront businesses such as Ivar’s would have to move.
The comments at last week’s public hearing suggested traffic concerns on the Mukilteo Speedway was more important than the cost of building a new terminal.
What is known is the ferry terminal has been neglected. It was built in the 1950s and has not received any major upgrades recently.
More than 75 people came to last week’s public hearing and about eight people spoke.
Many residents said they want ferry traffic moved off the Mukilteo Speedway. If the ferry terminal is moved to the tank farm property, it would put ferry traffic onto Front Street. That option is the most expensive to build. A handful of other residents said the state should build the terminal for the least amount of money possible.
Building on the site’s current footprint costs about $60 million. The other options eclipse $100 million to build. The DOT only has $90 million budgeted for the project right now.
Washington State Ferries said last week the agency would be in a strong position to get federal dollars to pay for any of the options.
WSF is a division under the state Department of Transportation and is in charge of operating the state’s ferry system, the largest in the nation.
Dale Townsend, who lives off Goat Trail Road, considers the Speedway’s ferry holding lane a fatal car crash waiting to happen. He said he has a frantic time getting onto the Speedway from his residential road. He wants the ferry terminal moved to the tank farm, and disagrees with the DOT’s less expensive options that keep traffic on the Speedway.
“It’s less expensive, but what’s the cost of having a safe environment?” Townsend said.
Mayor Joe Marine has his heart set on placing the terminal on the tank farm site to get cars off the Speedway. Most of the members of the Mukilteo City Council voted to support that option last summer.
Marine envisions turning the Speedway’s ferry holding lane into a bicycle and pedestrian lane, and resculpting the waterfront with walkways and mixed-use development.
If the state chooses to keep the ferry terminal at its current site, Marine will push legislators to have Seaway Boulevard connect to Mukilteo’s Front Street around Japanese Gulch.
That came as a surprise to Councilmen Kevin Stoltz and Steve Schmalz, who both support keeping the terminal on its current footprint.
The council plans to eliminate the Seaway-to-Front Street connection road from the city’s comprehensive plan, Schmalz said.
The more expensive option of moving the terminal won’t solve traffic problems, Schmalz said. The state’s money is everyone’s money, Schmalz said.
Some residents are unsure which option they prefer. Jim Metzger, who lives in Old Town, is one of them.
Metzger worries moving the terminal to the east could add traffic through his neighborhood.
Other residents want the ferry terminal moved to the tank farm to get rid of the tank farm’s ugly appearance. The city is working with the Port of Everett to transfer the tank farm over to the port some time this year. The city hopes to build temporary parking on the tank farm site.
Langley resident Terry Sankey said he’s concerned that moving the ferry terminal to the east would force businesses along the waterfront to move.
“If the state’s removing businesses, it’s not good in the long-term for Mukilteo,” Sankey said. “I’d rather see more people in than taken out.”
The DOT expects to have a terminal site selection made by mid-2013. The new terminal will be constructed by 2015.
The DOT is taking comments by mail and e-mail through Friday, March 23. You can send comments via e-mail at email@example.com or mail written comments to:
Washington State Ferries
Attn: Paul Krueger
2901 3rd Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98121
The full plan is available online at
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published Feb. 29, 2012