When we make the move to get a public ferry service going from the Channel District in Tampa to the Pier in St. Pete, the form of the Pier in St. Pete will take hold. Integrating public transit will result in a vitality rarely seen in the Tampa Bay area today.
Pike Place Market in Seattle comes to mind, and this is totally achievable within the St. Pete Pier, whether we restore the inverted pyramid or resurrect the Million Dollar Pier of yore.
We have more than 3 million residents in the Bay area, along with millions of visitors annually. That is more than enough people to support a reasonably priced ferry service.
Since the Tampa Bay Rays have indicated a willingness to consider Tampa as a site for a new stadium, a legitimate public ferry line will help them in their quest, too. Ferry service in San Francisco now includes an additional route due to the new Giants stadium there. Time to make it happen here.
There already is a great streetcar line in Tampa to get people to and from games and events. St. Pete/Pinellas could create a similar line from the Pier, which is in the heart of the commercial district, and along the waterfront and Central Avenue, to the beaches eventually.
The Tampa Bay area would be impossible to beat as a place to do business, take a vacation or to simply “slow down and smell the roses,” something sorely needed in this fast-paced society.