The San Juan Islands Partnership Group met last Thursday. Comprehensive meeting notes will be distributed soon and we will post them here once they are available. In the meantime, a critical decision was announced during the meeting. Lopez and Shaw Islands will not be subject to eastbound reservations. Westbound reservations for all islands are still on the table as are eastbound reservations for San Juan and Orcas Islands.
John Whetten, Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) rep for Lopez wrote the following letter to David Moseley of WSF and agreed to share it here.
I have not attended the last two San Juan Partnership meetings because Carol and I spend most of the winter in Park City, Utah. I plan to attend the March meeting in Friday Harbor, and, I hope, most of the meetings thereafter.
Despite my absence, I have kept close track of what is going on. It has become quite apparent from the meetings and from talking to residents of Lopez and other islands that different islands have very different needs, and I want to express my gratitude to you and to WSF for recognizing this. I am sure that your decision to remove Lopez and Shaw from consideration for eastbound reservations was difficult and will create additional problems, but I think it was the right decision. My understanding is that you used mostly economic reasoning for the decision; I see the limited terminal space and the overwhelming wishes of the Lopez residents as being the main consideration. Regardless of which argument you view as the most important, I think the decision was the right one, and I am very grateful to you, WSF, and the Partnership for making it. Thank you!
As the Partnership moves on there will be significant challenges–designing a “hybrid” system whereby some islands have reservations and some, I assume, will be given vehicle allocations. I will certainly do whatever I can to help make such a system workable and of benefit to WSF and its many customer-types. I would again offer the suggestion that a phased approach to reservations, starting with the highest-demand ferries westbound from Anacortes, would benefit virtually all of WSF’s customers and would be the cheapest and easiest to implement. Once a process for westbound reservations was in place, then a move to eastbound reservations from selected island terminals would follow.
In closing, I want to reiterate the main point of this note: Thank you very much for listening and for responding to the needs and wishes of island residents. I am very appreciative of your decision.