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Access challenges at new ferry terminal | Reality Check

Residents facing issues in getting to WSF facility


Last updated 1/27/2021 at 11:18am

The new Mukilteo ferry terminal has been open for almost a month now and while there are many things to like about the new terminal, the project is far from finished, and is resulting in some significant challenges for all.

This month we’ll discuss the current issues and when we can realistically expect a resolution. Then next month, we’ll discuss some significant problems we’re bound to see in the near future if the city doesn’t “stop it already!”

If you’re driving or riding a bike to the new terminal, Sounder, or pickup/drop off area, you’re supposed to use the ferry holding lane to the right to access all those areas. Currently there are no signs indicating that through. There are police officers at the temporary intersection/road Monday-Thursday 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and Fri 2 p.m.-7 p.m. to help route traffic through the backup. The alternative for non-ferry traffic is to go straight, turn right on Front, turn right on Park and then turn left on 1st Street. Currently, the signage on the Stop Sign says no turns but that’s supposed to be changed by now. 

Traffic headed to or from the waterfront areas including Lighthouse Park will have to stop on both sides of the temporary intersection, while traffic going to or from the new ferry terminal area doesn’t stop. This will continue to be the configuration until the permanent intersection on SR-525 is completed in the next three months or so. 

If you’re on a bike, the best alternative is to avoid the temporary intersection/road altogether and instead use Mukilteo Lane across the Mount Baker crossing and into the east side of the terminal. There’s a kiosk where tickets can be purchased at ground level and then you can walk on with your bike.

Pedestrians have other concerns. If you’re going down the bridge, NEVER go down RH side with traffic to your back. Not only is that sidewalk closed, but you’ll end up crossing the temporary intersection/road on the right where all vehicle traffic is allowed to go in and out of

the ferry terminal area without stopping. Instead you’ll want to use the temporary crosswalk at 2nd Street to cross SR-525 and walk down the sidewalk on the Lighthouse Park side of the bridge facing traffic.

Unfortunately, the crosswalk at 2nd Street isn’t working as intended. Although there are flashing strobe lights, drivers often aren’t yielding to pedestrians so some improvements and/or enforcement is needed. In the meantime, pedestrians need to be extra vigilant when crossing here. The reality is, unless you’re headed to Lighthouse Park, using Mukilteo Lane (despite its ongoing issues) is much more “comfortable” for pedestrians.

Because neither the overhead loading or the elevators to the passenger terminal are working yet, passengers who are unable to go up and down stairs will need to use the kiosk on the ground floor on the east side of the terminal (the same place suggested for the bike passengers). The temporary ADA signs will direct passengers to the proper area.

On-site parking is limited to 15 minutes, and there is still no overnight parking available near the Mukilteo waterfront area except for limited permit parking. Day parking is allowed in the Sound Transit lot in any available spots remaining after 10 a.m.

Locals wishing to access the waterfront promenade at the ferry terminal area can walk along the sidewalk along the ferry exit lanes to meet up with the promenade, which passes through the new ferry terminal building and towards Edgewater Beach Park to the east. 

Finally, you may recall from last month a council motion that proposed closing the Mount Baker crossing thereby eliminating one of the two public access points we have to the waterfront. Former councilmember Steve Schmalz posted the action to social media and the city received an earful. The city’s new proposal is equally troublesome and fortunately, the Tulalip Tribes (who own the property next to Edgewater Beach Park) has requested the city to hold off, for now.  

Only one current council member, Riaz Kahn, has exhibited a true passion to address a lingering part of the Mukilteo Lane problem with an easy short-term fix, installing speed humps. His fourth attempt via council motion almost succeeded, but then the city induced council aversion to reality kicked in and his fifth attempt failed 6 to 1.  

Next month we’ll be doing a deep dive to better illustrate the many ways the city and council may be on a road to making an already bad situation worse. 

Drop me a note at [email protected] if you have ideas for future columns or additional information you’d like to share.


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