Revamped dock at Pier 50 offers new accessibility features
It took two years for a full rebuild, but as of August 2019, the new passenger-only ferry dock at Pier 50 has reopened, to include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements for those with mobility issues. Travelers taking regional ferry service to West Seattle, Vashon, Bremerton and Kingston can now wait under a fully-covered dock with inside seating. A tactile path and tactile signs also guide the way forward to the boat and a new ADA assistance station.
The new dock even includes an elevator that will connect to a new pedestrian bridge for the Washington State Ferry terminal and restrooms.
Though a tactile path can often look ornamental, each shape of the tile can tell a story for those who are blind or visually impaired. The straight “along” lines on the ferry’s path indicate that it is safe to go forward. The tiles begin at Alaska Way entrance and continue to the office within the terminal. There are plans to continue the pavers through the Marion Street overpass to be in place by 2023.
Once inside the new facility, brail signage can be used to locate a dedicated “mobility assistance station” for information. With the press of a button, a light comes on and staff from the office or vessel crews can provide assistance.
The new dock also has a float built to accommodate varying ramp angles to make it easier to board. Once aboard, the vessels have plenty of room to maneuver and ADA restrooms that can accommodate a wheelchair.
Later this summer, the facility also will feature an observation platform overlooking the bay at the west end.
The new facility has capacity to hold up to 500 people with large garage-style doors that can be opened or closed depending on the weather.