Progress on Updating Lummi Island Ferry System: Level of Service

On Tuesday January 3, 2017, the Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC) will review the latest draft of their proposal to update the ferry ‘level of service’ (LOS) definition at their meeting at the Lummi Island Fire Hall (6:30-7:50 PM).  2017-01-03-lifac-agenda-and-draft-los-proposal.  The public is invited to provide input on the draft proposal during the comment period at the start of the meeting (3 minute limit per person), in writing including  email, and at the Protect Lummi Island Community (PLIC) annual meeting on January 17, 2017 at the Beach School auditorium.

After public input, LIFAC will finalize and vote on the LOS proposal. That proposal will then be presented to the County Council for consideration at the earliest possible date. This is the crucial next step in moving forward with plans to update the Lummi Island ferry system, including a new ferry, dock modifications (probably replacement) and ferry terminal improvements (e.g., parking).  The step after that will be to request funding from the Council for the detailed work, including financial estimates, needed to form a feasible action plan.

Background.  The past couple of years, LIFAC along with Whatcom County Public Works (Rob Ney and, since October 2016, Roland Middleton) have made progress on different aspects of the work needed to update the Lummi Island Ferry System. That work included working with the County Council to incorporate wording into the county’s comprehensive plan that explicitly includes the ferry system as an essential part of the county road system. That seems trivial but is important to ensure a reasonably high ranking to prioritize work and funding needed to design the new system. If LIFAC hadn’t wisely facilitated this, it would have been all too easy for the county to assign the ferry system’s many needed upgrades to low or no priority, aka political oblivion.

LIFAC’s work on long-range planning this past year also included collaborative efforts between LIFAC (especially Charles Bailey and Chris Colburn) and Public Works to collect, analyze and report on 2015 ferry usage data during ‘regular’ weeks at different times of the year, including holidays. They plan to continue data collection and analysis of usage through 2017 (for details, download LIFAC November 1, 2016 minutes here).

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