Seattle’s new ‘front door’ opens to public at Colman Dock

Aug 3, 2023, 5:04 AM

A new look at Colman Dock for ferry passengers. (Chris Sullivan) View from new elevated plaza (Chris Sullivan) A new look at Colman Dock for ferry passengers. (Chris Sullivan) View of Marion St bridge to be open in late September. (Chris Sullivan) A ferry at Colman Dock. (Chris Sullivan)

It’s a new look at Seattle’s Colman Dock for ferry passengers this week, as the “front door” to the terminal has finally opened to the public.

Passengers are getting a look at the new 20,500-square-foot open space that connects the new entry building on Alaskan Way to the new terminal on the waterfront. No more running around trying to find an elevator or walking through the narrow temporary bridge over the car deck.

More on Colman Dock: Remodeled Colman Dock reopens with ‘vast’ improvements

“We’re really excited to open this up for the public,” Washington State Ferries terminal engineering director Dave Sower said. “They’ll be able to use the elevators here that we’re opening up, the stairwells, and obviously enjoy this open concourse, as they connect from the main terminal building to Alaskan Way.”

On a glorious sunny day, passengers will be greeted by great views of the waterfront, new ticket and information booths and once that temporary bridge is down, unobstructed views of the stadiums.

“This facility is really a crowning achievement for Washington State Ferries,” Sowers said. “It’s our contribution to the redevelopment of the waterfront for all the city, and we’re just excited to be building this project.”

It’s nice in August. What about a rainy January? I asked Sowers why this concourse wasn’t covered.

“In the concourse here, there [are] some covered spaces, and then behind you there’s also some covered spaces,” Sowers replied. “There are places to get out of the rain. I think people are pretty resilient here in the Northwest, and they’ll manage it.”

But building this $489 million project wasn’t easy.

“There were some things along the way,” Sowers chuckled. “You throw a pandemic in there and then a concrete strike and a few other things that have made it more challenging than we would have liked, but in the end, as you can see, it’s a beautiful facility. We’re really excited about it.”

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The biggest achievement might have been playing real-life Tetris on the dock during construction. It’s not easy to build a whole new terminal while keeping it open to the public. “It’s really been an incredible feat,” he said.

And it’s not all done. The City of Seattle has yet to finish the Marion Street walkway that will carry pedestrians over Alaskan Way to the terminal. That should come in mid-to-late September.

“We have the old clock tower that used to sit at Colman that we are refurbishing to put inside and then there’s going to be retail coming into both this facility and the main terminal building,” he said.

What about drivers using Colman Dock? That confusing loop-de-loop to get into the ticket booths will be ending soon. Direct access from Yesler should return next Tuesday.


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Seattle’s new ‘front door’ opens to public at Colman Dock