Last weekend, as GM was taking in the newly completed waterfront park, his eyes (as well as many of the eyes of his fellow layabouts) were drawn to Roosevelt Island. It sits so tantalizingly close to Georgetown, yet it’s a true pain in the ass to visit. From the waterfront park, it’s over a mile walk across the Key Bridge and along a highway. This situation inspired GM to dust off his “Why Not” feature to ponder: why not build a ferry between the Georgetown Waterfront Park and Roosevelt Island?
The distance between the park and the island is just over 100 yards. It would be possible to build a small pedestrian ferry to shuttle small groups of people back and forth from the waterfront park amphitheater to the island. All that would be needed would be a small dock at either end. The ferry could be wire guided or simply be a small independent boat.
Connected this way, the two parks would truly complement each other. The waterfront park is beautifully landscaped and sunny, but it doesn’t provide that much in the way of footpaths. To walk a mile, you’d probably have to walk in a circle a couple times. Roosevelt Island, on the other hand, is almost nothing but paths and wild nature. With an easy connection, visitors could come to the waterfront park, have a picnic, and then make their way over to the island for a hike.
An even better (albeit much more expensive) option would be a bridge:
This would allow a steady flow of visitors to move between the island and the park. Just imagine the beautiful vista that would be created by a sweeping bridge like London’s Millenium bridge going from the base of Wisconsin Ave. over to the island.
In the end, consider this: Roosevelt Island is in the District of Columbia, yet DC residents have to travel through Virginia via or along a highway to get to this fantastic and wild resource. The new waterfront park is a perfect new gateway to the island. Now it’s time to build the threshold.
As with just about all of GM’s “Why Not” series, this is 99% pipe dream. But the waterfront park started out the same way.