NEW ORLEANS -- For the first time in years, change is coming to the Canal St. Ferry.
RTA revealed plans for what they're calling a new, state-of-the-art Canal St. Ferry and terminal. Details of the project were shown for the first time to residents at a meeting held Wednesday night.
"I'm extremely excited," said RTA General Manager, Vice President, Justin Augustine. "We haven't had a new footprint at the foot of Canal in a very long time."
On Wednesday, RTA officials gave residents their first look at the project. They say it was important for them to show the public and listen to whatever comments or critiques were said.
"We don't want to build anything the community wouldn't want to have," Augustine said. "Also, it's important the community is involved in the design phase."
Plans shown include a brand new terminal, one RTA says will be safer, cleaner and will have a modern look.
"It'll be more fitting with other facilities along the wharf area at the foot of Canal," Augustine said.
Also, high-speed, 150-passenger Catamaran-style ferryboats will replace ones that have been around for quite some time. They'll also carry bicycles and motorized scooters.
"As you're probably aware, the ferry boats we have are old and antiquated," Augustine said. "They're more of a modern age, more energy efficient, and powerful. They're also safer."
However, residents at the meeting expressed concern because some felt the new structure's design lacked several things. One issue many at the meeting had, was that the terminal didn't have a covered walkway to get to and from the ferry.
"If it's bad weather, like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, the lines are so deep you know they're not going to stand out there," said Algiers resident and business-owner, Warren Munster.
"While it's aesthetically pleasing it's not very practical for the average citizen living here," said Algiers resident and business-owner, Wendy Portier. "While there are new ferry boats that look beautiful, there's no shelter to get from the terminal to the boat. I'm concerned about people getting wet and it's cold and rains a lot sometimes."
Portier says the terminal's design is nice, but worries it's on the wrong side of the railroad tracks.
"The current structure at least crosses over the track but the current proposal gets rid of that all together," she said. "So we'd have to deal with the train crossing and we could easily miss the ferry if a train crosses at the wrong time."
The meeting was the first of several for RTA.
"It's important to get feedback from the public because it's a public facility," Augustine said.
However residents hope what they had to say was heard.
"If they build it wrong, they're going to have an issue," Munster said.
"We love our ferry, we love our city, we love our neighborhood we want to work together," Portier said.
RTA says their goal is to have this project done by Spring of 2018. However, they they also add that depends on different things including river conditions, weather, and finding a contractor that can fit within the budget.
An estimated cost for the project has yet to be released.