Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Water shuttle, transit are options during Hood Canal Bridge closure

We’re often asked, “Why are you closing the bridge for six weeks?” Safety concerns, its age and the need for improvements are understandably overshadowed by travelers’ need to get across the canal.

I know where they’re coming from. I lived in North Kitsap for nine years while I worked at the Herald and headed over the Olympic Peninsula fairly regularly – to camp and hike or celebrate a special occasion by donning a clown wig and eating fine cuisine at The Ajax CafĂ© in Port Hadlock. The region’s isolation is truly part of its unique charm. Like folks say in Port Townsend, “We’re all here because we’re not all there.”

Indeed. But they still have to get across the canal and to the “east side” every now and then.

When the bridge closes for six weeks in May-June 2009, you won't be left high and dry. There are several options to help you get to your destination on either side of the Hood Canal.

You can find the fare-free transit schedules and connecting water shuttle service schedule between South Point in Jefferson County and Lofall in Kitsap County on-line at http://www.hoodcanalbridge.com/.

Of course, timing water shuttles and catching the bus means thinking outside the box and planning ahead.

As a recent transplant to Gig Harbor – actually living on the land my great grandfather and namesake Joseph Goodman homesteaded after the Civil War – I’ve been taking the bus to and from work in Tacoma. All that hiking in the Olympics must’ve paid off as runs and all-out sprints to catch the 102 have become the norm. You’d think someone who caught ferries out of Kitsap for so long would know better.

While the bus/water shuttle might work for some people, others might opt to take the car ferry out of Port Townsend, fly out of Port Angeles, take a boat, drive around – it takes awhile but is about as scenic as it gets – or stay put and shop locally. If you can, I’d recommend the latter, and the Ajax while I’m at it – their pork chops are to die for.

The bridge may be closed for six weeks but, rest assured, your favorite businesses will be open.

Map your route now, see if the fare-free transit will work for you and then share your plan here to help others plan ahead. The water shuttle/transit option is definitely less expensive than driving around on US 101 and might just make a bus rider out of you.

6 comments:

Cal & Linda said...

Kitsap Transit's customer service says they are not doing the transportation, some other company is.

I wanted to know if you got on the bus to Kingston will there be stops between the shuttle and Kingston Ferry Dock. My office is a half block for a regular transit stop and it would save me having to have a car in Kitsap.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

That is true. Kitsap Transit is no longer offering service in conjunction with the bridge closure. However, the bus runs will remain the same in that the Lofall-Kingston ferry terminal bus will be express with no stops along the way.

Frankc98376 said...

How will I be able to get into downtown Poulsbo during the closure?

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

The Poulsbo stop is at the transfer station on SR 305, adjacent to 8th Avenue and between Lincoln and Hostmark. From there downtown is just a walk away down Lincoln. You can also catch Bus No. 43, which will take you to the Historic Downtown Business District.

Anonymous said...

When will the park & ride lots be open to leave our cars? We transit the bridge every weekend and will need to leave a car on each side during the closure. Will the lot on the Jeff Co side be open the Sunday before the closure? Will my car be safe there all week?
thx.

irwinj@wsdot.wa.gov said...

The park and ride lots in Port Gamble and at Shine Pit are scheduled to open on Wednesday, April 29. Security will be provided 24/7 from then until the bridge reopens.