Water taxi in the Twin Ports?

Katie Wilkerson -- The Stinger

Whether you love to bike the beautiful outdoors of the Twin Ports areas or just want a quick route to Park Point in the summers a newly proposed Water Taxi program could help you get there.

Eight University of Wisconsin Superior students have been researching the possibility of implementing a Water Taxi system that connects bike trails in Superior and Duluth as part of their Urban Planning and Transportation Systems course. They are doing a feasibility study to look at if it would be possible, realistic, and a good idea for this area.

“Currently, the only route that connects Duluth and Superior is the Bong Bridge and Oliver Bridge which can be dangerous and undesirable for cyclists,” Explained Ryan Hill, one of the students researching the proposed idea. “They are also not well linked to the more scenic bike paths.”

The students have looked into four different sites for possible docking locations which include: Barkers Island, Wisconsin Point, Canal Park and Park Point. At this point there are no concrete plans as the students continue their research and reach out to many public officials, members of the biking community, and anyone who may have interest in their project.

On March 18, the students flew out two members of Local Motion to give a presentation here at UWS. Local Motion is a successful water ferry company in Vermont that transports cyclists across Lake Champlain. Chapin Spencer, the executive director, and Brian Costello, the ferry Captain, gave much information on their business, how it works, and why it was a good idea for them.

“They started off small, but now they are a fully operating company with modified pontoon boats with bike racks that move cyclists along different routes. It would be great to see this happen around here.” Said Hill.

Local Motion also discussed how they not only help to provide the means of transportation for bikers and such but also promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage children to get out and exercise within the community.

Spencer and Costello agreed that a water taxi operation appeared to be feasible in Duluth and Superior, but the main issue that stands in the way is funding, which also happens to be their biggest issue as well.

The students will be presenting their research findings from this feasibility study on Monday, April 29 at 4:30 in the YU Great Room. Anyone interested in learning more about this possibility is welcome to watch the presentation.

Katie Wilkerson -- The Stinger
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