Tag Archives | Ferry

PBN: Would dredging return bustle to riverfront?

Last dredged in the 1990s, the river is now so shallow in places that even the Proud Mary has to dance around obstructions and can’t reach Waterplace Park at low tide. “I know where all those difficult places are, but north of Point Street you can run aground virtually any time,” McGinn said. “I just have to be careful and cannot go into Waterplace Park basin when it’s real low.”

Preventing the river from filling in with natural sediment requires periodic dredging, something neither the city nor state has been eager to finance in recent years. The federal government declined to tap a pool of funds set aside for dredging projects that maintain cargo shipping channels.

As a result, much of the center and eastern side of the river is too shallow for boats even at midtide and the WaterFire lightings must be planned around tidal schedules and closures of the hurricane barrier to keep water inside.

Now the depth of the river and role marine traffic should play in the revitalization of downtown has become a discussion point again as the state begins construction of new public spaces on the former Interstate 195 land.

What if traffic in the Woonasquatucket looked like this?:

“Amsterdam Canals: It’s busy on the Prinsengracht” © Peter Eijking

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News & Notes

Aberystwyth: The town without traffic wardens [The Telegraph]

“We’re disappointed, obviously. If you went around asking people about their pet hates, they’d probably all say ‘traffic wardens’, but here we had a chance to show that we could get by without them, and we seem to have failed.”

Everyone agrees there are lessons to be learnt. One of them is likely to be that if you give the motoring public what it says it wants, you end up not with the Big Society but a big mess.

With Few Funds Available, What are Transit Agencies to Do? [The TransportPolitic]

The timing of these discussions – premised on GOP skepticism of government spending and Democratic fears of advocating raising taxes – comes not coincidentally just a week after House Republicans revealed their proposal for a six-year transportation budget. If it was not clear last week, it is now: The cuts being proposed would be devastating to the nation’s transit agencies, depriving them of much-needed funds for the purchase of new rolling stock and the maintenance and construction of necessary facilities. Even if this plan, which would diminish already too-limited transportation funds by a third, does not get implemented, the context of the debt negotiations suggests that something much better is unlikely to be had.

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Barring some other crazy unforeseen circumstance, RIPTA’s Newport-Providence “water taxi” service is a go for tomorrow.

The service will feature 5 roundtrips per day between Providence Piers (180 Allens Avenue) and Perrotti Park in Newport. The 50 passenger water taxi is smaller than the ferry used for last year’s service. The water taxi does not have a snack bar or rest room facilities (so make sure you go before you go). Due to the loss of the federal subsidy, the fares will also increase to $28 roundtrip for adults.

Service will operate through October. Fare and schedule information at: RIPTA.


You can haz RIPTA Ferry!


ProJo reports that we will have ferry service between Newport and Providence this summer after-all.

Dubbed the Providence-Newport Water Taxi on RIPTA’s website the service will use a smaller vessel than we’ve become used to. The 46-passenger catamaran will be operated by Ocean State Shipbuilding Inc. of Brooklyn, Connecticut (why Ocean State Shipbuilding is based in the Nutmeg State… I do not know). The company has no experience running a ferry service, but won the bid due to not requiring a state subsidy.

The smaller ferry (the prior ferry carried 149 passengers) will make the trip in the same amount of time, however it will only run 5 round trips per day from June to September (and drops to 3 trips per day through the end of the season in October).

Though the service is smaller, I am happy we’ve not lost it all together, and even more happy that a way has been found to run the ferry and not take money from RIPTA’s bus service (which would be a non-starter for me). Still, I can’t help to again point out how short sighted it was for us to be in this position. The ~$500,000 federal subsidy that made the ferry possible to begin with was always slated to end, it is disappointing that RIPTA had no plan on what to do when that eventuality finally came to pass.


You can get there from here?


Could the Providence-Newport Ferry rise from the dead and return to service this summer? RIPTA is hoping to make it work. As the Journal reports, RIPTA has issued two RFPs. One asks ferry companies to bid for a no-subsidy service. Likely this would be fewer trips and a shorter season than we are used to. The other RFP asks ferry companies to quote what subsidy they would need to provide the previous level of service.

RIPTA announced last year that the ferry would not return this summer due to the end of a half million dollar federal subsidy. At the time I said it was rather short sited of RIPTA not to plan for the end of a subsidy that clearly had an end date. I also questioned how there could be absolutely no way to find a half million dollars to make up for the lost subsidy (of course this was before the economy ‘sploded).

I don’t know where RIPTA is hoping to find the funds for the subsidized RFP, but I hope they can make it work. The ferry was a vital piece of our tourist economy and it is madness for the Ocean State to not have a public ferry service utilizing Narragansett Bay.