Ferry Feasibility

This is a transit project that I bet a lot of folks would like to see made real just for the fun factor:

Just a quick reminder that the brown bag presentation on the recent
Willamette River Ferry Feasibility study will be held next Tuesday.

River in Focus Brown Bag Lunch at City Hall

Grab your sack lunch and head to City Hall for lunch with the River
Renaissance team. We are hosting a presentation about the Willamette Ferry
Feasibility Study that was published in June at the request of the River
Renaissance Initiative. The study was conducted by Nelson/Nygaard
Consulting Associates, and will be presented by Thomas Brennan. Here is a
PDF link to the study:


As the feasibility study determined, creating a seasonal central city
circulator ferry may be possible through a private/public partnership.
Developing a local ferry system along the Willamette River could be an
excellent way to connect Portlanders and visitors with the river, and foster
river-oriented business and neighborhood development. Come learn about and
discuss this exciting opportunity for creating a recreational water-based
transit alternative in the heart of Portland.

Who: Free and open to the public
What: Lunchtime presentation, please bring your own lunch
When: Tuesday, August 15, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Lovejoy Room

“River in Focus Brown Bags” are held as a public education forum to inform
citizens about important current River Renaissance issues, and how the City
of Portland is working to revitalize the Willamette River.

6 responses to “Ferry Feasibility”

  1. thanks for the heads up about this. Having a little ferry system would be a great addition to our town – getting people from Omsi to St. Johns to Oak Bottom if it could go that far. When I was in Vancouver BC I was impressed with their little ferry system. I know there was a ferry during the Modern Zoo project in St. Johns a couple years back, and I’d love to see some folks make this happen.

  2. Ferry System in the Willamette and Columbia Rivers has been discussed a lot. Most say it would be fun but question its net positive effect on anything other then having some fun. We have a lot of problems and if private enterprise want to do some Ferry System experiments let them do it. My problem is confusing these type of efforts that cloug up the agenda with projects that will result in very little or NO net gain.

    C-Tran has an express bus route coming from 134th transit center and jumps on I-5 and flows directly into downtown Portland with little or NO stops. People can count on it and use it. If they were forced to take a bus from this transit center to Lght Rail Transit station the total travel time would double. When ridership asked if that was important, they infered that it would be intolerable. A ferry ride that does not compete would not be acceptable either.

  3. Most Clark county residents who work in Portland do not work downtown and get zip from C-Tran, but that is the nature of express buses…very nice to those who get the ride but worthless to those who need to get to intermediate points such as Swan Island.
    Back to ferries…the only thing that this study suggests could work is more along the lines of a river taxi type service across and along the river from around Centenial Mills in the north to maybe Ross Island in the south. Commuter type service is way beyond feasible.
    Peter Wilcox and Co. have the boats and is hot to trot, but it will take some public investment to make it fly or should I say float. Fares will never cover operational costs.

  4. People in Clark County still get much more from C-TRAN than they would if last years’ ballot measure failed.

    I highly recommend any C-TRAN express route over any other method of available travel, and unscientifically consider 164-Fishers Landing Express to be the best bus route in the entire metro area, on any transit system. On any of the expresses, once the bus gets on the freeway, getting to where you’re going is just as fast as driving – and, you’re not contributing to the gridlock caused by single occupancy autos. ;)

    Lenny, has there been any talk about reviving the 191-Swan Island Express? I’ve understood the $3 one-way fare (or $105/mo. Express Pass) almost fully covers the cost for C-TRAN to operate their express bus services. Even then, the info. on the Arcihve.org page says the service was subsidized by the local business association.

    (C)ould a ferryboat carry two MAX cars?

    I bet the weight of a fully-loaded MAX car would probably be enough for the ferry to sink. Additionally, how could a ferry be accurate enough to line up to the tracks on the other side? How would MAX either have power from overhead lines, or get off the ferry under its own power?

    A ferry could probably work either permanently or temporarily given the right circumstances/event/etc., but probably only to transport autos, bicycles, pedistrians, and maybe a transit bus… unless there’s some new innovation in light-rail-to-ferry technology, I don’t think that would work too well.

  5. Ummm… I don’t mean to sound dismissive (but yes, I do intend to _be_ dismissive), but why on earth are we discussing putting MAX cars on a ferry?

    If some particular project can’t afford to build a new bridge, we do have a couple of existing bridges which can accommodate MAX. Why slow it down even further? The Steel Bridge is bad enough.

    We don’t live on Puget Sound, or on a nation of islands… we have the ability to bridge over most of the gaps that separate us. (In fact, we’ve been building great bridges here for more than 100 years.)

    I can just see someone coming to this blog for the first time, and then running away bewildered because there is a discussion of running MAX on a ferry!

    OK, maybe it would be a fun discussion purely in a “what if?” sense, but it’s right up with there with balancing angels on the end of a pin in terms of practical application.

    (This is not meant to attack anyone personally, but, I mean, wow…)

    – Bob R.

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