Residents oppose plan to build new Lake Union ramp for Ride the Ducks

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SEATTLE - The city’s well-known Ride the Ducks of Seattle is asking the city for a new entry to Lake Union.

The proposal would put the ramp at Fairview Avenue North and East Newton Street, which is west of Eastlake Avenue and just south of Pettus Park. The area is also about 30 yards from the nearest houseboats.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Frank Field spoke with residents who are not too happy about the idea and hope it doesn’t go through.

Tanya Seligman has owned a houseboat on the east side of Lake Union for 16 years. She is worried plans to build a ramp for the duck boats to enter the lake will bring the raucous boats past her home. The ramp is just yards from her waterfront deck and would be worse during the peak summer months.

“It’s where we live, we like the quiet in the middle of the city and we would lose that,” said Seligman.

Currently, the boats use the ramp on the north side of the lake.

Residents nearby are worried the boats will be noisy, endanger runners and cyclists using the trail around the lake, and pollute the water with fuel and exhaust.

“We have beavers, we have otters, we have dozens of duck, different kinds of ducks. They’ll be obliterated. They will be poisoned and killed off by pollution. They’ll be driven away by the noise,” said Eastlake resident Melanie Markle.

Ride the Ducks owner Brian Tracey said he wants to be a good neighbor.

“We consider ourselves to be ambassadors of the city of Seattle. And the last thing we want is for people not to like us,” said Tracey.

Tracey said his boats are the most regulated vessels on Lake Union, and he has met with Eastlake residents and has promised to be responsive to complaints.

“They all have my personal cellphone number, so if there’s a problem, if a duck (boat) goes in too fast or it’s too loud, they can call me. They can call me directly and I can solve the problem,” Tracey said.

The area is zoned for industrial use, but residents are hoping to maintain the relative tranquility of their corner of the lake.

The city’s planning department does not have a timeline for making a decision on the ramp permit.