King County considers expanding ferries across Lake Washington

Sep 2, 2015, 9:20 AM | Updated: 11:17 pm

Kirkland ferry dock, 1936 (King County Archives, Item 93.1.0118)...

Kirkland ferry dock, 1936 (King County Archives, Item 93.1.0118)

(King County Archives, Item 93.1.0118)

Our waterways may be the final frontier for easing traffic congestion.

Some King County council members are considering adding passenger-only ferries to Lake Washington, according to KING 5.

Related: SDOT doing something about ill-timed bridge openings

“We can’t build enough bridges and highway lanes to move people on a consistent basis,” said committee chair and King County council member Rod Dembowski. “One of the last places without congestion is our waters.”

Ferry service across Lake Washington ended in 1950 when the economic landscape changed and the state took over the system. Also, commuters were relying on the floating bridge that opened 10 years earlier.

The county transportation committee is reviewing a preliminary report that reintroduces the idea. Dembowski argued that the amount of growing traffic, light rail to the University of Washington, and density on shorelines is what makes this proposal different.

“Whether it’s cost effective is something we really need to keep a close eye on,” he said. “We have to get these numbers dialed in to see if it makes sense.”

Tell us about what slows you down

Three routes under consideration are: Kirkland and Kenmore to UW and Shilshole Bay Marina to Seattle’s Pier 50. The study found that the infrastructure and machinery for those potential ports would cost $20 million.

The council will receive a final report in November.

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King County considers expanding ferries across Lake Washington