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Washington State Ferries Simulation of New Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal

Mukilteo by 2020, assuming the state funds the second and last phase of the actual $129 million construction, will have a new multimodal transit terminal that’ll be a net gain.  For one, Mukilteo’s waterfront will no longer have unsightly abandoned US Air Force fuel tanks and the pier they were on that served Paine Field (aka KPAE) when Paine Field was a US Army Air Corps & US Air Force base defending the Pacific Northwest & training WWII P-38 Lightning & P-39 Aircobra pilots.  Mukilteo will also happily lose “four percent of the remaining creosote-treated timber piles in Puget Sound” (SOURCE) on its shoreline.  The Mukilteo waterfront will also no longer have a significant walk between the Sounder North platform and either the State Ferry Terminal or the bus stop.  With Mukilteo-Clinton being the busiest Washington State Ferries (WSF) ferry run in sheer demand with over 2 million vehicles per year & almost 4 million total riders per year, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) decided the time was right to start replacing a seismically deficient & disruptive WSF terminal with something out of the 21st Century that is environmentally friendly.

I decided to write about this project because as my Flickr followers or browsers of the Seattle Transit Blog Flickr Pool may have noticed, I use when able Sounder North to make connections between Everett Station & Mukilteo – mostly in the late afternoons.  Not too happy about the bad connections that a 1,850 foot walk entails as per page 6 of this PDF discussing Multimodal Connections.  In fact, here’s the existing terminal status quo versus the changes that will happen if Phase II, the actual building of the new Mukilteo terminal occur:

ST to WSF passenger building Bus to WSF passenger building Bus to ST
Existing terminal* 1,730 190 1,850
Project (New terminal)* 745 225 970

*Distance in Feet

So I decided to reach out to Laura LaBissoniere Miller, a WSDOT communications consultant who according to her bio, “supports a range of public involvement programs, specializing in implementing community engagement for NEPA/SEPA environmental review processes. … A skilled communicator, Laura also handles citizen correspondence for some of the most controversial projects.”  Having worked with her on this report, tend to concur.

For instance when asked about putting TransitScreen into the new terminal after this great Frank Chiachiere post Laura promised, “it’s certainly something the design team, Sound Transit and Community Transit can look into. Thank you for the suggestion! ”  Considering Sounder North, multiple Community Transit & Everett Transit routes and a very-high-demand Washington State Ferries run all will be serving this terminal… hope TransitScreen happens.  Especially if perhaps somebody waiting on a bus can walk off the ferry or Sounder North could dive into the terminal, pick up something from concessions and/or use the restroom and make their connection…

As part of my Paine Field commutes these days involves the bus stop along the Mukilteo waterfront, also was happy to hear buses would have their own lanes through to the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal.  Currently buses have to make a turnaround right in the thick of the WSF terminal traffic flow.

Noting heated waiting for bus passengers

One thing also noticeable in reviewing the voluminous documentation of the project library is that the new terminal will provide a covered, heated place with restrooms for transit users to make our connections in health & frankly basic human dignity.  The below is the current status quo as I pictured around 5:30 PM 10 November 2014:

2014-11-10 Mukilteo Transit Experience

If you browse through the pictures, you’ll notice some construction in the background.  It’s the expansion of the Mukilteo terminal for Sounder North which according to the Sound Transit website, “includes a second platform on the south side of the tracks, a pedestrian bridge over the tracks connecting the two platforms, permanent passenger shelters and public art”.  Sharon Salyer, an Everett Herald Writer noted in her write-up the project is costing $11 million dollars and, “Currently 280 people board the train at Mukilteo Station each day, part of the 1,100 passengers traveling between Seattle’s King Street Station and Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett.”  A review of the WSDOT project library notes the plan is to design multiple walking paths for Sounder North users to/from the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal.

Ultimately, if the state legislature can please fund the construction of the actual Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal – it’ll greatly improve the transit connections from here to/from Whidbey (assuming Island Transit financial condition doesn’t further worsen) but also Everett to the north and Mukilteo, Lynnwood plus Seattle & points further south.  The Puget Sound environment will also be greatly improved by the removal of harmful abandoned docks & petroleum infrastructure along the Mukilteo waterfront, and ST3 can help provide even more high quality transit connections to this new transit hub. Plus with much improved transit service to Paine Field, this terminal could be a great hub for transit connections to the many tenants

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