Campaign ideas worth pursuing: Ferry parking in Kingston | Editorial

This is the third in a series of editorials exploring ideas from the campaign trail.

One of the most controversial ideas to come out of the campaign for Kingston Port commissioner is ferry parking.

But it’s an idea that should be explored.

Jerry Kirschner said there are a number of underutilized paid-parking lots in Kingston that could be leased by the port to provide parking, particularly during summer when the ferry line snakes almost to George’s Corner.

A possible solution to those long ferry lines on State Route 104: He said the port and Washington State Ferries should develop a system whereby customers could buy their tickets on 104 and park in those port-leased parking lots. Then, they could get out of their cars and spend time downtown until it’s time to board the ferry, rather than sit in their cars and wait with no amenities and no restrooms.

An idea like this could cause traffic chaos downtown, as motorists converge onto State Route 104 from various lots when ferry loading begins. But there could be a way to make it work, and Kirschner suggests the port and Washington State Ferries put pencil to paper and figure out a system.

Perhaps — this is us talking now — those lots could be priority parking for motorists who bought their tickets online. Let’s say there are 300 parking spaces. The ferry system knows how many tickets it’s sold for a ferry; so, the first 300 tickets purchased get the parking spaces and they are the first to load onto that ferry. Or the parking can be reserved for motorists who show up, say, two hours early for the ferry. When it’s time for that ferry to load, Lot A would load first, then Lot B, then Lot C, then the line up 104.

This is a tough one to figure out. But we are convinced it can be figured out. WSF, the port, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses should meet on this. The payoff for the brainpower would be more people in Kingston instead of in a car in a ferry line on 104. If we can connect people with downtown businesses and amenities — and restrooms — that would be a great thing indeed for the local economy, and for the ferry passenger’s experience.


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