A passenger uses the overhead walkway to board a ferry at the Mukilteo terminal on Monday. It was the first day for the new service, as opposed to the previous method of boarding by way of the car deck ahead of loading cars. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A passenger uses the overhead walkway to board a ferry at the Mukilteo terminal on Monday. It was the first day for the new service, as opposed to the previous method of boarding by way of the car deck ahead of loading cars. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Two legs or four: All welcome to board Mukilteo’s ferry ramp

The new overhead gangplank opened Monday. Four months after the terminal opened, traffic safety has improved.

MUKILTEO — In with the “pickle forks” and out with the “zebra stripes.”

That’s some of the lingo when talking shop with state officials about progress at the $187 million ferry terminal that opened in late 2020.

The “pickle forks” are those protruding prongs that secure the ferry to the overhead boarding walkway to ensure passengers crossing the gate don’t topple into the sea. The walkway was put into service on Monday, four months after the terminal’s first sailing on Dec. 29.

Traffic issues on Highway 525 should improve later next week when a black-and-white “zebra striped” pedestrian crosswalk at Second Street is moved to a site uphill from the fray, after months of public safety issues.

“We’re getting really close to getting all these elements done,” said Diane Rhodes, Washington State Ferries spokesperson.

For the first time in 64 years, walk-on passengers on the Mukilteo-Clinton route have their own boarding ramp and don’t have to use the car deck. That’s the way it had been since the old terminal was built in 1957.

They now also get an Instagram-worthy photo op.

“It opens up the views,” Rhodes said. “You get this stunning view over the water that you’ve never had before. At the end, there’s a solid glass area that looks out at Whidbey Island. It’s a nice place to linger.”

By linger she means snap a pic, not stand around eating an ice cream cone.

As vehicles disembark below, passengers use the new walkway to leave the ferry. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

As vehicles disembark below, passengers use the new walkway to leave the ferry. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The walkway is only accessed by a turnstile on the second floor of the terminal. Getting there requires using the stairs or elevators at both ends. Tickets can be ordered online or purchased at a kiosk or window.

The walkway is dog friendly.

“It’s wonderful,” said Mona Thomas, who was taking her little dog Flower to visit family members on Whidbey. “I like this better than the other way.”

Flower seemed pretty jazzed to strut the breezy gangplank.

Commuter scooters are allowed on the walkway. Bicyclists must board on the car deck, though unicycles are OK.

A walk-on passenger uses the overhead walkway to board a ferry at the Mukilteo ferry terminal on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A walk-on passenger uses the overhead walkway to board a ferry at the Mukilteo ferry terminal on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

“If you have a disability or you’re in a wheelchair it’s a lot easier to go on that nice wide walkway to go onto the vessel versus having to go on the car deck,” Rhodes said.

There are four ADA drop-off spots on the east side of the terminal, she said. A kiss-and-go lane allows for passenger drop-off and pickup.

The Mukilteo-Clinton route has about 2 million vehicles and 4 million riders each year. Boats leave every half hour for the 20-minute sailing.

Getting to the Mukilteo terminal is getting easier.

Road paving that started last week has opened one lane in each direction on the straight shot to the toll gates, replacing the winding road that had been used. Crews are still paving the two other lanes, which, when finished in mid-May, will provide four-lane access.

Attendant Robby Davidson raises the new gangplank at the Mukilteo ferry terminal on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Attendant Robby Davidson raises the new gangplank at the Mukilteo ferry terminal on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Second Street crosswalk has been an ongoing problem with foot and car traffic since the new terminal opened, Rhodes said.

“We’ve thrown everything at it to try to make it safer, but people are just not stopping for pedestrians in that crosswalk,” she said.

The crosswalk will be moved up the hill to the Fifth Street intersection that has a traffic light until the new crosswalk at First Street is complete. Crews also are building sidewalks on First Street.

The warm weather and longer hours of daylight increase ferry traffic, especially after a winter of confinement.

“We still suggest people go during off-peak hours if they can,” Rhodes said. “And we still do have COVID restrictions in place. Limit travel to essential travel only.”

Some people consider a ferry ride essential.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Everett
Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Members of Casino Connect line up to stow luggage Tuesday morning aboard the Adventuress in Everett on August 9, 2022.  The teens will go on a four-day sailing trip where they learn about maritime skills and environmental science. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Casino Road teens on tall ship Adventuress set sail for 4-day voyage

The Everett at Sea program offers outdoor, on-the-water lessons that “underserved youth” might not get otherwise.

Jason Moon, new member of Mukilteo City Council and the first Korean American. He was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Joe Marine, who was elected mayor.
(Submitted photo)
Free food, fun at Korean American Appreciation Day in Mukilteo

City Councilmember Jason Moon organized the Aug. 13 event to connect people of all cultures.

Most Read