Editorial: Our Coupeville ferry terminal

Whidbey Islanders usually hate to give up their traditions, but changing the historic name of the Keystone ferry terminal to the Coupeville ferry terminal actually makes sense.

The state Transportation Commission made the decision Tuesday at the urging of Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard and others, who came armed with written support from Whidbey towns and chambers of commerce.

Commission members were surprisingly supportive, saying that almost all other ferry terminals are linked to a nearby town, and pointing out that Sea-Tac International Airport is miles away from both Seattle and Tacoma.

For any islanders who love the name Keystone, which was devised by local promoters to take advantage of the 1909 Alaskan-Yukon Pacific Exposition, all is not lost. We still have Keystone Harbor and Keystone Spit. Coupeville already has its own harbor, and chances are slim the town will want a spit named after it. What would tourists think?

Meanwhile, tourists looking at Google maps won’t have to wonder where Keystone is in relation to Port Townsend and the mainland. In time, they will see the Coupeville ferry terminal and know where it leads. It will literally put Coupeville on the map in another place, and make it clear that the Port Townsend ferry leads to an interesting destination on Whidbey Island.

Signs will need to be added and an informational kiosk built to better take advantage of the change in coming months. At present, the state directs traffic from the Port Townsend side of the ferry route to Coupeville via Highway 20. That’s a roundabout nine mile trip that makes drivers feel like they’re backtracking. The direct route, less than four miles, is down gorgeous Engle Road past Fort Casey, stunning views of Admiralty Inlet and the Olympic Mountains, and splendid farmlands. When tourists are directed in the correct direction, they will indeed feel they are entering a magical place called Coupeville.

It’s an inexpensive change that will help local businesses by attracting more customers, and no one is harmed. All involved deserve the community’s appreciation for their hard work.

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