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Alert 9/7-13: No bikes allowed as construction makes Bainbridge Ferry walk-on only

Overhead photo of the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal with the old and new walkway locations noted.
Image from WSDOT.

(EDIT: I changed the headline because some readers thought the change was permanent. Bikes, along with all vehicles using the car deck, will only be disallowed during this construction period.)

Construction work to build a new elevated walkway at the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal will completely close off access to the ferry car decks. The good news is that Washington State Ferries (“WSF”) will maintain walk-on service. The bad news is that bicycles will not be allowed. From WSF:

We separate walk-on and ADA passengers from wheeled vehicles for passenger safety, which is why we cannot accommodate bicycles and electric scooters during the closure. With higher pedestrian volumes, it is not feasible or safe for us to mix pedestrians with bicycles and scooters both inside the ferry and in the terminal waiting areas. For those who want to store their bikes for use on either side of the route, the Kitsap Transit Bike Barn has 79 indoor and 33 outdoor bike parking spaces and we will provide a secure lock up area on the Seattle side or check into bike lockers. Another option is to walk on and use bike share in Seattle. 

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The closure is scheduled to begin 1 a.m. September 7 and go until 3 a.m. September 13. During this time, they will run single-boat service, though perhaps loading and unloading will be much faster without all the cars. They are also prepared to allow emergency vehicle access as needed.

It’s too bad that they are not accommodating bikes since biking could take a load off the limited car parking and drop off capacity on both sides of Elliott Bay. There are about 112 bike parking spots in the Bike Barn on Bainbridge, which may not be enough given how many people typically bike on board. The Seattle side will be a bit more interesting. WSF says they “will provide a secure lock up area on the Seattle side,” though they have not yet posted the exact details of how that will work and what the capacity will be. Typically, there is no publicly-accessible secure bike parking near the Seattle Ferry Terminal. WSF also suggests in the quote above that you should bike to a closer transit station, use secure bike parking there, then take transit to the ferry. This is a good suggestion if feasible.

In addition to all this, WSF will be running an extra boat of service on the Kingston to Edmonds route while the Bainbridge run in down to a single boat. People could also consider using the Kitsap Fast Ferry service from Kingston to downtown Seattle, which does allow bikes on a first come first served basis. Note that there is no Fast Ferry on Sundays. So if you really need your bike on both sides, this could be an option.

Bird picked a great time to launch their new e-bikes, which will provide more chances that walk-on riders will be able to find a bike share bike when they arrive in Seattle. Hopefully the bike and scooter companies are preparing to keep the Seattle Ferry Terminal stocked.

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12 responses to “Alert 9/7-13: No bikes allowed as construction makes Bainbridge Ferry walk-on only”

  1. bill

    I thought there are big problems with the Kitsap Ferry racks not fitting fenders, disc brakes, and wider tires.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      That’s the ferry to Bremerton. The Kingston vessel does not have that issue.

  2. Anthony Medina

    I attended a meeting with two WSF officials and Squeaky Wheels to learn about WSF plans for people on bikes during the temporary closure.

    WSF said that they will use the not-yet-opened bicycle holding lane under cover on the north side of Colman for commuters to lock their bikes overnight. This will give Kitsap county bike commuters the option of going over as a walk-on and then riding their bike to their destination on the Seattle side.

    WSF said that there is no path for walk-ons at Colman to roll bicycles to Alaskan Way from the passenger level at Colman.

    There is also no path for walk-ons on the ferry to roll bicycles to the car deck from the passenger level, and they will not have car deck crew on those runs because there won’t be any cars on the car deck.

    However, people with Bromptons can fold their equipment, walk on, and walk down the stairs to Alaskan Way to unfold their Bromptons and then ride.

  3. Art Valla

    Is the bike/ferry closure only during the temporary closure September 7 until September 13? Or is this closure for bike commuters permanent?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      The closure is scheduled to begin 1 a.m. September 7 and go until 3 a.m. September 13. Bikes will be allowed when car deck access resumes.

      1. Art Valla


  4. Peri Hartman

    I’m really confused. So, they are not allowing bikes to load on the car deck before or after other vehicles have loaded ? How are non commuters travelling from winslow to seattle supposed to get their bikes across ? What about commuters or others travelling from seattle to random points on bainbridge ? There is no transit. Maybe one ride share operator (and that’s expensive).

    I’m wondering if this violates laws regarding access to the state highway system.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      The car deck will be closed, so no other vehicles. Walk-on only. It’s only for this construction period.

      1. peri hartman

        Oh, wow

  5. Masha

    where did you find the information that it’s a single boat service? can’t find it on the website.

  6. Beth Dahl

    It’s a week.
    With ample notice.
    A week.

    Honestly. Some bikers are the vegans of transportation. Bikes are great. Certain bikers have blinders on. And for some reason they expect special treatment.

  7. don

    what about folders? can we carry them on? i don’t see any mention anywhere of that….

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