Local Information

Moving day for walk-on Washington State Ferries passengers at Colman Dock

Friday, September 13, 2019 - 14:18

Hadley Rodero, communications, 206-818-3813

SEATTLE – People walking on or off a ferry at the biggest ferry terminal in the state will encounter big changes on Sunday, Sept. 15. That’s when Washington State Ferries will move all ticketing and walk-on operations out of the existing terminal building at Colman Dock and into the first section of the new terminal building to the south. Access will remain unchanged for people headed to the dock in a vehicle, bicycle or motorcycle.

This marks a major milestone in WSF’s work that began in 2017 to replace the seismically vulnerable terminal at Colman Dock. After the move, the building that’s been serving riders for 53 years will be torn down so the remainder of the new facility can be built in its place. When complete, contractor crews will connect the two sections to complete the new terminal that serves both the Seattle/Bainbridge and Seattle/Bremerton ferry routes.

“It’s a balancing act moving people and operations to a new building while keeping the ferry schedule unchanged,” said Director of Terminal Engineering David Sowers. “Nothing changes for people driving onto the ferry, but walk-on passengers will get on the ferry in a new location. We’re asking passengers to be patient through this move as we work rebuild Colman Dock as quickly as possible.”

Moving into a smaller space

Walk-on passengers will get a new modern building, but because it’s only part of the final structure, it will offer much less space. This first section of the terminal has limited capacity and 65 seats. Passengers should plan to arrive no more than 15 minutes before departure to avoid standing in line for long periods of time and should check the website for the latest information before arriving at the terminal.

The smaller facility and temporary connecting walkways will serve passengers until the project is complete in 2023.

Changes for walk-on passengers:

  • Terminal access – Starting Sunday, Sept. 15, people have several options to enter and exit the new building:
  1. Stairs on Alaskan Way near Columbia Street connecting the street to the terminal level.
  2. A pedestrian bridge between Colman Dock and the Marion Street Bridge on a new route along Columbia Street and Western Avenue.
  3. Stairs at the southwest corner of the dock near the new passenger-only ferry facility at Pier 50.
  4. ADA access will remain at the existing elevators on Alaskan Way until construction of the new elevators near the Pier 50 passenger-only terminal is complete.
  • New holding area for walk-on passengers – A new enclosed walkway connects the new Marion Street Bridge to the terminal. During busy times, people will line up and wait in the walkway, which is 24 feet wide with separate queues for Bainbridge and Bremerton passengers.
  • Purchasing tickets – To save time, passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets ahead of time online, especially for those planning to travel to or from the 3 p.m. Seattle Sounders FC home game on Sunday. A staffed ticket booth and self-serve kiosks are located near the upper level entrance to the terminal. Two ticket kiosks are also located in the new terminal building.

More work ahead

The move to the new terminal keeps contractors on schedule by allowing crews to do in-water construction during the annual fish window – when migrating salmon are less likely to be around – which runs from August to mid-February.

As crews demolish the existing terminal building they will also remove old piles and drive new ones for the northern part of the new facility. This work will be noisy and involve removing 70-year-old creosote-soaked wood pilings, which could produce odors in the area. Pile-driving of the new pilings will be limited to daylight hours, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and is expected to last through mid-February. 

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries nearly 25 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter.

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