Thursday, June 6, 2019

Mukilteo open house provides look into the future ferry terminal

By Diane Rhodes

As the sun poured through the expansive windows of Mukilteo's Rosehill Community Center on May 23, residents from both sides of the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry route streamed in for an open house showcasing our MukilteoMultimodal Terminal project. It's safe to say people are interested in this project. Staff, including project designers, engineers, and those overseeing construction, were on hand to chat one-on-one with attendees.
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We invited the public to an open house to view progress of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal.

Catching you up
This project has come a long way since it began in 2010 with environmental review and presentations to the City Council followed by public meetings and community outreach starting in 2012. Design began in 2014 and removal of the old U.S. Air Force fueling station and pier began in 2015. Then came the start of construction of the trestle and underground stormwater utilities in 2017.

New transit and safety features
At the open house, we zeroed in on the features of the new terminal designed to improve safety, transit connections, and the overall experience by passenger mode -- bike, walk, and drive-on customers. Safety improvements include overhead passenger loading to reduce conflicts between walk-on and drive-on passengers, ADA improvements, separate bike lanes and priority loading, and a terminal built to today's seismic standards. Passengers who rely on transit will have easy access and close proximity to Community Transit, Everett Transit, and the Sounder train. Passengers who wait inside the terminal will have more room to roam, sit, or work at a stand-up laptop counter overlooking the water.
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WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton, foreground, chats with Island County Commissioner
Helen Price Johnson during the open house.

Reducing traffic backups
For residents of Mukilteo's old town, we focused on how the new terminal's location and holding lanes are designed to reduce traffic backups along SR 525 and Front Street and how the new promenade opens up the waterfront to residents. Land that formerly held 10 fuel storage tanks and a 1,360-foot long fueling pier will soon be a walkable place where people can enjoy the natural environment again.
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After the open house, attendees stayed for a public meeting to learn about WSF's Long Range Plan, fare increases,
and ask questions. Everyone was encouraged to submit comment forms.

What about parking?
We fielded a number of questions at the open house, some of which you might also have. Parking was a top concern. While earlier plans included a parking structure for the new terminal, it was nixed after funding was cut. The City of Mukilteo is pursuing other options and, while we aren't part of that, we're on board to work with our partners on solutions.

Other issues brought up that we've made changes to address:
  • Food service inside the holding area: Based on public input, we redesigned the space to make room for two food carts to be set up at the east end of the holding lanes, near the maintenance building. Restrooms are nearby.
  • Perimeter security fencing: The new terminal will have perimeter fencing for passenger safety and security with an exit that includes a turnstile and ADA gate plus two more emergency exits.
What's next?
Currently construction on the upland buildings – passenger building, toll plaza, holding lanes, maintenance building, the new First Street, and waterfront promenade – is moving quickly toward our goal of opening in fall 2020. In May we awarded the marine contract to build the vehicle transfer bridge, overhead pedestrian walkway, and structures needed to land the ferry along with the work to demolish the old terminal and nearby fishing pier and build a new fishing pier. That work will begin in fall.