Kingston foot ferries receive wave reviews

KINGSTON — People had the opportunity to speak their minds on the proposed foot ferries plan this week and those who spoke were all in favor of connecting Kitsap County to Seattle in more ways than one.

Numerous residents stepped into the Kingston Cove Yacht Club Sept. 18 to learn more about Kitsap Transit’s plan for adding a passenger-only ferry in Kingston and continuing the runs to Seattle from elsewhere in the county. While the idea is fairly popular, it is wholly dependent on the passing of a ballot measure this November.

Kitsap Transit is asking voters to approve a 3/10ths of 1 percent sales tax and a 3/10ths of 1 percent motor vehicle excise tax to fund the public portion of the proposal. If passed, the plan would purchase 14 foot ferries to go to Seattle from Kingston, Southworth and Bremerton. Washington State Ferries discontinued its Bremerton passenger-only run Sept. 19.

“I think it’s the future,” said resident Bobbie Moore. “It’s the way we are going to move people around the Sound.”

Even so, she said she doesn’t think it will sail with the rest of Kitsap County.

“Voters need a really good reason to raise taxes,” Moore said, noting that she felt Kitsap Transit has done a poor job convincing folks who don’t use foot ferries to support the plan.

People who are not going to be foot ferry users haven’t been informed what the positive impact will be to them, she said. It will help alleviate traffic in areas that are constantly jammed at rush hour, such as State Route 305 and Bond Road when both the Kingston and Bainbridge ferries unload, Moore provided as one example. By doing so, the non-ferry users will be able to get around the county easier.

Others said they felt the proposed system will allow them to enjoy the surrounding areas more.

“We think it’s great because it’s easy access to the opera, symphony, theatre, visiting family,” said Kingston resident Cheri Calahan.

“We won’t have to fight I-5,” added her husband Jim Calahan.

“We very much support it,” said resident Jim Chrisman. “It opens up Kingston to the rest of the world.”

Jim and his wife Renae use both the Kingston/Edmonds and Bainbridge/Seattle runs often.

“We like Seattle. A quicker way to Seattle is good for us,” Jim said, adding that that putting foot ferries in the hands of local groups helps the effort. “Since we live in Kingston, we’re only minutes away from the ferry.”

“Just getting it away from the state and into Kitsap Transit and private sectors helps,” Chrisman said, noting the tax increase seems fair to them.

“I’ve been looking for this for 10 years,” said Fred Oswald, a local farmer who lives just outside of Kingston. While he’s trying to sell his 10 acres of farm land, Oswald said he also sees how it would be beneficial for others who live in Kitsap but work in Seattle.

Besides, the wait at the ferry terminal gets to him.

“Nothing burns me more than having to wait at the ferry dock, especially with animals,” he said with a chuckle.

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