CHOKEPOINTS

New Mukilteo ferry terminal has opened to passengers

Dec 29, 2020, 5:39 AM | Updated: Apr 21, 2021, 5:35 pm

For 63 years, the Mukilteo ferry terminal has served passengers heading back and forth to Whidbey Island. The old terminal closed early Tuesday morning, and the new terminal opened hours later.

Photos: Mukilteo gets a new ferry terminal

The old terminal did its job, but it just can’t properly handle the second busiest ferry run in the state anymore. More than 4 million people went through this terminal last year, and there were just tiny bathrooms, which most people didn’t even realize were there. Walk-on passengers had to board the ferries on the same ramp as the cars.

It was time for an upgrade.

The new terminal opened a third of a mile to the east, to the old Air Force tank farm. It has all the bells and whistles, including real bathrooms and an overhead walk-on passenger ramp, though that ramp did not open Tuesday with the rest of the terminal.

The ferry system’s Diane Rhodes said the new terminal gives a nod to the local tribes that called this place home.

“It was designed to honor the tribal history of that land,” she said. “The passenger building itself is built in the form of a Coast Salish longhouse, and it is filled with Coast Salish cultural motifs.”

Passengers will see the first of this great art on the entrance to the terminal at the toll booths.

One of the key upgrades to the Mukilteo terminal is the fact that it’s a third of a mile away from the old one. That should pull some of the congestion off Highway 525, which is the main route into Mukilteo.

On any given weekend, the ferry line can stretch more than a mile long, choking off neighborhoods and restricting access to the waterfront businesses, the park, and the boat launch. But Rhodes said the new terminal won’t eliminate all of the congestion.

“It takes some of that traffic off the side of Highway 525, but I can’t lie to you, it doesn’t take it all off,” she said.

The new terminal has seven, 700-foot long holding lanes, slightly more capacity than the old terminal.

The one downside of the terminal moving is riders will be further away from the waterfront businesses. You won’t be able to grab a quick beer at Diamond Knot or a cup of Ivar’s chowder while waiting in line, unless you want to run. You’re going to be just too far away. The ferry system is considering a food cart in the ferry holding area to give travelers a snack option.

Beachgoers and Mukilteo residents spotted ferries going back and forth across the water all day Tuesday. Those were practice runs for the ferry captains, allowing them to get used to the new approach to the terminal.

The first ferry from Clinton to the new Mukilteo was the 5:35 p.m. run Tuesday, Dec. 29. The toll booths in Clinton opened at 4:30 p.m. The first ferry out of the new terminal was the 6:10 p.m. sailing. The toll booths at Mukilteo opened at 5 p.m.

There was no official opening ceremony because of the current COVID restrictions. Instead, Gov. Inslee, head of WSF Amy Scarton, and others shared remarks and cut a ribbon in a virtual grand opening video.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

Chokepoints

wood plank, sr 169...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT archaeologist solves mystery of structure under Maple Valley Highway

The Maple Valley Highway finally reopened to all traffic Wednesday after an unexpected discovery pushed a weekend culvert project out three days.
1 day ago
WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT accounts for 21% of state employees fired over vaccine mandate

Of 1,887 state employees that lost their jobs over the vaccine mandate, the largest group was from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
3 days ago
Maple Valley Highway...
Chris Sullivan

King County crews find mystery structure under Maple Valley Highway

You never know what you'll find when you dig in this corner of the country. Road crews found that out this weekend when fixing a culvert under Highway 169.
3 days ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Chris Sullivan

Getting to Climate Pledge Arena 101: Prepare to ditch the car

The old ways of getting to the arena in downtown Seattle have intentionally been made more difficult so that public transit is a more palatable option.
8 days ago
I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Why there are bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle (and when they’ll go away)

When KIRO Radio's Dave Ross asks you to update something for him, you do it. So what's with those annoying bumps on I-5 SB out of downtown Seattle?
10 days ago
I-90, grooves...
Chris Sullivan

Why are portions of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass so ‘groovy’?

Another question from Chris Sullivan's recent driving: What's with the horizontal grooves on portions of I-90, east of Snoqualmie Pass?
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
New Mukilteo ferry terminal has opened to passengers