Weekly update

Read the weekly update WSDOT Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello, the head of Washington State Ferries, sends to staff, colleagues and stakeholders.

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If you have suggestions or comments about the WSF Weekly Update, email WSFWeeklyUpdate@wsdot.wa.gov.

Each January, there is a special edition recapping the previous year. View the 2022 Year in Review (PDF 1.7MB).

Here is the latest edition of the WSF Weekly Update:

March 16, 2022

Service restoration update

Now that our Edmonds/Kingston route is considered fully restored, our focus has shifted to the next run in our Service Restoration Plan (PDF 794KB), the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth “Triangle” route. On Monday, we started running the following weekday sailings when crewing allows:

  • 11:15 a.m. existing Southworth to Vashon will load Fauntleroy traffic
  • 11:50 a.m. Vashon to Fauntleroy
  • 12:15 p.m. Fauntleroy to Vashon (continues to Southworth)
  • 7:35 p.m. Fauntleroy to Southworth (currently to Vashon)
  • 8:10 p.m. Southworth to Vashon
  • 8:30 p.m. Vashon to Fauntleroy
  • 8:55 p.m. Fauntleroy to Vashon
  • 9:20 p.m. Vashon to Southworth
  • 9:35 p.m. Southworth to Vashon (Fridays only)

Sign up for our rider alerts to get email or text notifications on any service changes.

Aerial photo of Vashon terminal with two ferries at the dock
We started adding midday and evening sailings on our Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth run this week to fill gaps in the weekday two-boat schedule.

In our recent update to the Plan that lays out a timeline for restoring the remaining routes (PDF 1MB), we expect to begin a trial of pre-pandemic three-boat weekday service on our “Triangle” route in April. Once the run reaches 95% reliability, we will consider it fully restored (as was the case prior to the pandemic, there may still be some sailing cancellations due to crewing or vessel repairs).

Women's Transportation Seminar gala

In celebration of Women’s History Month, several colleagues and I attended the Women’s Transportation Seminar Puget Sound Chapter Awards and Scholarships Gala on Tuesday at the Westin Seattle. In addition to the opportunity to network with other transportation professionals, we auctioned off a tour of a ferry and our new Colman Dock terminal in Seattle to raise funds for WTS scholarships for women pursuing engineering and transportation degrees.

Nine people posing for a photo while sitting at a table in a banquet setting with several other people at tables in the background
With Bridge Engineer Naomi Sandberg, Major Construction Projects Communicator Diane Rhodes, Chief of Staff Nicole McIntosh, Community and External Relations Manager Hadley Rodero, North Regional Operations Manager Jules Schultz, Safety Officer Jessica Reed, Operations Department Program Assistant Bahar Suseyi and Senior Operating Program Budget Analyst Ann Garman at Tuesday’s WTS event.

New online medical preferential loading application

Our medical preferential loading system will move online next week. Starting Monday, March 20, we will no longer accept faxed applications and customers will need to work with their health care provider to submit a form on our website. Once submitted, both the customer and provider will receive a confirmation email. A printed copy of this confirmation email must be presented with an ID when traveling. There will be a 90-day grace period when applications faxed in prior to March 20 will be accepted through their expiration, but not after June 18.

Yesler Way exit closures at Seattle terminal

Plan for possible delays after arriving in Seattle if you’re leaving the terminal in a vehicle. One of the two Yesler Way exit lanes may be closed weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Tuesday, March 28, for city of Seattle sidewalk work along Alaskan Way. Both lanes will be closed and all vehicles must exit at Marion Street from 8 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Monday, March 20, through the morning of Friday, March 24.

Map of Seattle's Colman Dock
There will be periodic weekday lane closures of the Yesler Way exit at our Seattle terminal and nighttime full closures of the exit over the next two weeks.

Join the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group

The Washington State Transportation Commission is seeking feedback on Washington State Ferries. Casual, recreational and regular riders, as well as those who are interested in ferry issues and management are encouraged to join the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group. Sign up to be included in an upcoming survey and all future surveys. Thanks for your participation and input!

Orcas caught on video during sailing on Mukilteo/Clinton route 

There are some perks to working on the Salish Sea. One of them is seeing marine wildlife. Chief Mate Graham Dewitt spotted a pod of orcas on Sunday. To share the amazing sight with others, he recorded video while Kitsap was stopped so the killer whales could safely pass by during the Mukilteo/Clinton route sailing. What a treat!

Two orca whales breaching the surface of the water
Riders aboard Kitsap were lucky to have a close encounter with orcas Sunday on our Mukilteo/Clinton route.

Update on construction at Seattle’s Colman Dock

Our Colman Dock project construction crews are working inside our Seattle terminal’s new entry building located along Alaskan Way. They’re installing bathroom fixtures, lighting, turnstiles, guardrails, wayfinding and signage. This means we're getting closer to our spring opening of the entry building and the elevated walkway that links it to the terminal building. We’ll share more information as we get closer to opening the full facility. Once the entire project is complete, there will be a mix of up to 10 food and retail businesses located throughout the terminal and entry buildings. These will open after the vendors have been given time to finish their spaces.

Aerial view of Seattle's Colman Dock
View of entire Colman Dock project, from the entry building on Alaskan Way to the elevated walkway leading to the terminal building and on to the ferries.
Refrigerated self-serve vending kiosk with various foods and drink inside
Our food vendor Sodexo Live! recently installed a self-serve fresh food kiosk inside our Seattle terminal building at Colman Dock.

Mukilteo terminal wins architecture award

The American Institute of Architects recently named our Mukilteo terminal as one of 16 projects to receive a prestigious AIA Architecture Award. The 2023 award program celebrates the best contemporary architecture regardless of budget, size, style, or type, and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives. Congratulations to everyone involved with the project, which was completed in 2020.

Mukilteo terminal building with a ferry at the dock
Our Mukilteo terminal is now the most award-winning project that architect LMN has ever worked on.

Washington State Ferries March Madness

Which one of our ferries is your favorite? Now through April 3, you can vote on our Twitter page in our March Madness-style WSF Tournament, with vessels seeded by class size, then alphabetically. Number 14-seed Salish was the big winner last year!

Customer kudos

“To the Staff at the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock -- thank you for holding my purse for me so that I could get it back [and for the Kittitas crew for promptly turning it over when found on board].”

-Fauntleroy/Vashon customer

Patty Rubstello
Assistant Secretary, WSDOT/Ferries Division

Slow down – lives are on the line.

In 2022, speeding continued to be a top reason for work zone crashes.

Even one life lost is too many.

Each year about 670 people are killed nationally in highway work zones. In 2022, Washington had six fatal work zone crashes on state roads.

It's in EVERYONE’S best interest.

95% of people hurt in work zones are drivers, their passengers or passing pedestrians, not just our road crews.