Getting to Port Townsend with your bike could get a whole lot easier when plans for a new passenger ferry come to fruition as early as spring 2013. The PTLeader has the story:
According to the draft plan, the terminals would be located at the Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend and the Bell Harbor Marina, the heart of Seattle cruise ship operations. In order to compete with traditional ferry routes and other passenger-only ferries, the 42-mile crossing is planned to take 70-80 minutes.
Eric Toews, planning analyst for the port, said the high interest in both Port Townsend and Seattle as recreation and business destinations should ensure customer interest.
“This is distinguished because it really is two very popular destination towns,” Toews said.
As Seattle Transit Blog points out, the seemingly weird location in the cruise ship terminal makes sense because the state’s plans for Colman Dock do not include passenger ferries, which is very unfortunate (Is there a movement to get this changed? Should bike advocates be pushing for this?).
Current transit and biking routes between the two cities are very long—not necessarily a bad thing if you’re just out to ride your bike, but not good for transportation purposes. Another bonus for people on bike: Work on the Olympic Discovery Trail keeps getting more complete, providing a fantastic non-highway route for recreation cycling and for getting to Port Angeles. From STB:
[R]egarding bikes on board: any boat would include room for bikes, although as no boat has yet been leased or purchased, the precise capacity is unknown. As a bike-friendly town, and the gateway to the growing Olympic Discovery Trail, Port Townsend is a great place to take a bike, so this is a smart decision. Once the ODT is complete enough to ride between Port Townsend and Port Angeles without riding on the 101, this could be a component of some amazing bike plus ferry (plus train) loops.
The Port Townsend/Seattle bike cultures often try to be more connected, and this ferry could be a boon for bike tourism on the Peninsula. With the planned improvements to the Hood Canal Bridge also coming soon, the Seattle-to-Port Townsend ride might just become even more popular.
The ferry will not be subsidized, so tickets will probably be a little pricey (at least compared to state-run ferries). But just thinking about the new possibilities it will open up is cause for excitement.
Would you use this ferry?