The MV Kennewick ferry is shown at the Port Townsend ferry dock in August. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

The MV Kennewick ferry is shown at the Port Townsend ferry dock in August. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry route part of upcoming online conversation

Washington State Ferries webinar set for December

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry route is expected to experience more vehicle traffic growth than any other state ferry route through 2040, according to Washington State Ferries’ long-range plan.

The state ferries system will provide updates on what is next for the plan, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/PDN- FerriesPlan, and other information during a round of community meetings through an online webinar presented in December.

Those interested in participating can choose between two sessions: Dec. 7 at 9 a.m. or Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

During two live online community meetings, state ferries staff also will give a brief presentation with updates about 2019 accomplishments. Online participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments.

“We want to hear from the communities we serve because they are an essential part of our decision making process here at ferries,” said Amy Scarton, head of Washington State Ferries (WSF).

“I hope even more of our ferry riders and terminal neighbors weigh in with this exciting new format.”

The ferries system’s long-range plan through 2040 includes adding service hours to the Port Townsend-Coupeville route as well as working with stakeholders to determine the best solution for the challenges presented by the Coupeville terminal.

This terminal is perhaps the most difficult to navigate in the entire system and is the only one that cannot support Olympic Class vessels.

Vehicle traffic on the route is expected to grow by 49 percent from 2017 to 2040, the state ferries plan says — from 334,300 in 2017 to 498,200 in 2040.

The largest numerical walk-on passenger increase is projected to be on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route, which currently has the largest walk-on passenger ridership. The walk-on ridership in 2017 was 3.25 million passengers. That’s expected to rise to 4.59 million passengers in 2040, a 41 percent increase.

The first round of WSF’s 2019 community meetings in April and May saw nearly 530 attendees at 10 public meetings, one for each route.

With the new webinar format, members of the public can attend and participate in a conversation about ferries from a laptop, desktop or mobile device.

Each meeting will cover the same information. Participants must register in advance.

Registration is available online at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-FerryUpdates. Each participant must provide a name and valid email address and have access to a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.

Once registered, participants will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to log in to the webinar.

Meeting materials and recordings will be available online after each meeting.

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