By Mellow DeTray

A boutique potential hotel, community shuttle, the fast ferry and more were discussed at the Des Moines City Council meeting on Thursday night, Dec. 1, 2022.

Potential Hotel Development
Community members showed concern during Public Comments regarding potential development of a boutique hotel at the Des Moines Marina, and asked for more meaningful community engagement on the issue. One suggested that locating the new hotel downtown instead of on the water would better support existing businesses, and many pointed out the ways that a waterfront hotel would impact current users of the Park & Marina.

On Jan. 26, 2023 there will be a Study Session for Council to discuss Marina redevelopment. During this session, there will be a presentation on what the development could involve, and then time for community feedback. No decisions have been made regarding hotel development, but the Council wants to explore options and consider the best use of the area.

Metro Community Shuttle
After a three-year pilot program, during which ridership goals were met, Metro is making the Des Moines community shuttle a fixed route. This route runs from the Angle Lake light rail station, to the business park and then to the marina, and will be paid for by Metro.

Fast Ferry Pilot Project
The passenger ferry pilot project had a very successful run, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback both from riders as well as business owners, who noticed and appreciated the extra business they were getting by people coming to Des Moines to use the ferry and staying to enjoy local restaurants. The project cost the city around $220,000, much less than had been allocated, and brought in a farebox revenue of 41% of the cost, far higher than public transit normally redeems from riders. Nearly 15,000 passengers made use of the ferry, four times the number predicted in a 2020 demand study. Around 30% of passengers were Seattlites coming to spend time in Des Moines, with the rest using the ferry to get to Seattle.

Council voted 5–2 to move forward on bringing this program back for a second season in 2023. Riders can look forward to extended service days and hours that will facilitate commuting, a possible partnership with Maritime High School, and a season that runs from Mother’s Day through the end of September. This schedule will coincide with Farmer’s Market. The location of service in Seattle could change to one more convenient and central to downtown. The $10 fee is likely to remain unchanged. The program may also include customer service representatives, who can answer questions and enhance the quality of experience for riders. It’s likely the same vessel will be secured. This boat accommodates 60 passengers and, being built for use in Alaska, can handle just about any weather. Council will still need to approve the final program in the future, once more research is done and details are clarified.

Read our previous coverage of this issue here.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at the Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.