Washington State Ferries makes tough decision in cutting ferry runs

As sure as the salmon swim upstream, the Washington State Ferries will bring traffic chaos come this summer.

North Kitsapers, armed with the patience of saints, will sit (and sit) in traffic backups brought on by the loading and unloading of the ferries at the Kingston ferry terminal. The later the ferries, the more backed up traffic becomes. And the more traffic becomes backed up, the later the ferries get. Joseph Heller (may he rest in peace) would have loved this mess.

Late ferry runs creating traffic impeding the roadways is such an ingrained part of the Kingston culture that we’re just used to it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

This year, the WSF has taken a bold step to decrease late boats: Fewer traffic runs, which, presumably, will create less backup. Two fewer sailings a day from Monday through Thursday and on Saturday will cross the Sound and one Sunday run will be eliminated. Improvements also will be made at the Edmonds terminal.

Ferries Planning Director Ray Deardorf told Kingston residents Tuesday night that, because the ferries are often late anyway, they already lose sailings. This will make it official.

“We’ve got to get out of this cycle of having late boats, because it’s exacerbating the problem,” Deardorf said.

Many people — taxpayers, ferry riders and whatnot — have said they depend on those ferry runs for work, home and recreation, and would rather they run late than taking crossings away.

Traffic backups are an inconvenience, for sure, and something needed to be done.

Let’s hope this works.

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