Acute congestion at Lopez ferry terminal August 16th – 18th

The weekend of August 16th-18th promises to be busier than an (even normally) busy mid-August weekend. Lopez Island will be hosting The Retreat, a skate and BMX event on Saturday the 17th, bringing an estimated 2,000 – 3,000 additional visitors to the island. Many folks will be coming to “Camp Skatelite” from Friday till Sunday. Two large weddings are also taking place over the weekend. In order to deal with the large volume of traffic the Lopez agents will be utilizing traffic management procedures that they use during the Fourth of July and the Tour de Lopez.

Our intrepid Lopez landing agents will be working very hard to manage traffic and keep things moving as smoothly as possible. The organizers of The Retreat have arranged for shuttle buses to pick up and drop off event participants, but the sheer number of walk-ons will easily overwhelm the capacity of the small drop-off lot at the landing. The Lopez dock agents will be controlling and limiting access to the lower lot in order to avoid gridlock. While the procedure will be different depending upon the time of day and traffic flows, the agents will be managing traffic with a combination of strategies:

  • When Lanes 3 and 4 are available, vehicles waiting to drop off or pick up walk-ons will be staged in those lanes and allowed down as quickly as possible.
  • When Lanes 3 and 4 are unavailable, either because they are full or while inter-island traffic is waiting to load, cars will be stopped further back up the county road and asked to wait until there is room available in the lower lot.
  • San Juan County Sheriff’s deputies will be on hand at some times to help with traffic flow, but they won’t be able to help with every sailing.
  • The ferry will not leave until all walk-ons are loaded.

In order to make this situation go as smoothly as possible, we are asking everyone to please be patient and understanding. In addition,

  • Leave plenty of time to drop off and/or pick up your guests. Although all walk-ons should be able to get on, it is best if you allow plenty of time as you WILL need to wait in order to have access to the lower parking lot.
  • Please drop off/pick up your guests as quickly as possible and leave to make room for the next people waiting.
  • The ferry dock agents will be working extremely hard to make sure people get to where they need to go and to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible. Please be patient and polite!
  • Pass the word. The more informed everyone is about the situation the better it will be.
  • Congestion will be an issue starting early Friday and lasting till late Sunday. Many people are coming from Anacortes, but The Retreat organizers expect a large number of people coming from the other islands so both east- and west-bound sailings will be affected.
  • If you have any questions please call the Lopez ferry landing at 360-468-4095.

Kathy, Shelly, and their crew are all awesome folks! Please remember to thank them for their hard work, skill, and consideration. And have a great weekend!


One thought on “Acute congestion at Lopez ferry terminal August 16th – 18th

  1. sjbrooksyoung

    Thanks for getting this information posted, Adrienne. We’re hosting one of the weddings. Guests have been encouraged to walk on whenever possible, but we didn’t have a clear picture of how they would be handled when they arrived at Lopez. This is very helpful.


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