Ferry and Waterfront Access

Changes to Colman Dock Ferry Access and Alaskan Way

Through May 2015

Changing work zones for the SR 99 Tunnel and Elliott Bay Seawall projects have altered ferry access and traffic patterns on Alaskan Way near Colman Dock. See map for details on how this affects pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. 

Beginning Feb. 25, 2015

The Marion Street exit from Colman Dock has shifted to the north, between Marion and Madison streets. This relocation is required to make room for Seawall Project construction in the former driveway location. Click here for more information. 

Frequently asked questions about changes to ferry access and Alaskan Way 

  1. Why is access changing to Alaskan Way and Colman Dock?

Crews working to replace the Elliott Bay Seawall and build the SR 99 tunnel need access to the roadway along the downtown waterfront for construction. The Seawall project is led by the Seattle Department of Transportation and the tunnel project is led by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

  1. How will vehicles enter the ferry terminal?

Drivers will enter the ferry terminal at Yesler Way from either northbound or southbound Alaskan Way. There is no ferry access from westbound Yesler Way.

  1. How will vehicles exit the ferry terminal?

Drivers will continue to use Yesler Way as the primary exit route. When two ferry boats are offloading at the same time, cars will also be directed to exit at the modified Marion Street exit.

  1. Where will ferry access be located?

Most vehicles will be able to queue on Colman Dock. Vehicles waiting to access Colman Dock may queue in the right southbound lane of Alaskan Way between Spring Street and Yesler Way or in the left-turn lane on northbound Alaskan Way just south of Yesler Way.

  1. How long will this traffic switch be in place?

This phase of work will occur from January through May. WSDOT plans to implement an updated configuration along the downtown waterfront by spring 2015.  

  1. Will the shared-use path along the waterfront be affected during this work?

The shared-use path located to the west of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will remain open throughout much of construction. Temporary shifts and intermittent closures may be necessary to accommodate work activities.

  1. How will bicyclists and pedestrians access the ferry terminal during this work?

Pedestrians will access the terminal via the Marion Street pedestrian bridge or from the shared-use path to the west of the Alaskan Way Viaduct using a temporary pedestrian walkway through the construction zone between Columbia and Marion streets. The specific location of this access may shift from time to time to accommodate construction activities. Bicyclists will access the ferry terminal at Yesler Way.

  1. How will bicyclists and pedestrians access the King County Water Taxi during this work?

Bicyclists and pedestrians will access the King County water taxi on the south side of Yesler Way.

  1. Where will I be able to catch a taxi from the ferry dock?

Passengers will be able to find taxis in two places: underneath the viaduct on the east side of the street between Marion and Columbia streets and on Marion Street between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue.

  1. Where can I drop off or pick up someone from the ferry?

Passenger pickup and drop-off areas (including access for people with disabilities) will be located underneath the viaduct on the western side of the street between Marion and Columbia streets. The current three-minute loading/unloading restrictions will apply to these areas.

  1. Will the Marion Street pedestrian bridge remain open during this work?

Yes, the pedestrian bridge will remain open throughout construction. The location of the stairwell on the Colman Dock side of the bridge may change during construction, as well as the specific location of the bridge over the construction zone, but access will be maintained at all times.

  1. Will there be any changes to transit in this area because of this work?

No, buses will continue to run on nearby First and Second avenues.

  1. How will freight vehicles access the ferry terminal during this work?

Freight can access the ferry terminal via northbound or southbound Alaskan Way at Yesler Way. Trucks that are more than 40 feet long will need to access the terminal from northbound Alaskan Way only.  

  1. Which waterfront businesses will be open during construction? How will pedestrians be able to reach these businesses?

All of the vendors at the WSF terminal will be open throughout seawall construction, and they can be accessed via the Marion Street pedestrian bridge, as well via the multi-use path on the west side of Alaskan Way. North of Colman Dock, the Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises, the Great Wheel, and Pier 57 are all open as usual and can be accessed via the north end of Waterfront Park, near the entrance to the Seattle Aquarium.

  1. Will access to the fire station on the waterfront be affected by this change?

Prior to the start of seawall construction from Pike to Marion streets in October 2014, Fire Station No. 5 relocated staff and emergency response vehicles from the waterfront to other facilities in downtown Seattle and near the waterfront. Service from this fire station will not be affected by this change.

  1. Will the changes to Colman Dock access cause increased congestion on Alaskan Way?

People may experience increased travel times along the waterfront and delays getting to the ferry terminal. Travelers should allow for extra travel time, particularly during the Thursday and Friday evening commutes and during games or events at the stadiums. Visit our traffic highlights Web page for construction-related closures and links to Seattle traffic information.    

  1. What is being done to mitigate the increased congestion along Alaskan Way?

Project staff will monitor traffic patterns in the weeks following these changes. When appropriate, adjustments to signal timing and other changes will be made to ensure that travelers move as safely and efficiently as possible through this area.  

  1. Will parking along the waterfront and near Colman Dock change?

Street parking was removed from the area in front of Colman Dock in October 2014 to accommodate Elliott Bay Seawall Project construction. No additional street parking changes will occur with the January 2015 change.  

  1. Will parking garage and loading dock access be affected on Alaskan Way and nearby streets?

Increased congestion along Alaskan Way and nearby streets may cause back-ups in front of nearby parking garage entrances or loading docks. Project staff will monitor traffic patterns in this area and make adjustments as appropriate. Residents and employees should allow for extra travel time.