As a tourist, one of the best ways to experience a city is by boat. Our neighbors to the north have well-developed networks of water taxis scurrying about False Creek in Vancouver and the Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia. These privately-owned vessels conduct both tours for groups and operate on a schedule for tourists and commuters alike. As Victoria Harbour Ferry boasts, it's the city's #1 tourist attraction. With a population of 78,000, Victoria is approximately the same size as Kirkland.
In King County, the government collects taxes to operate the King County Water Taxi service from downtown Seattle to Vashon Island and West Seattle. There was talk of expanding water taxi ferry service to Lake Washington as well.
While these two examples are quite different from each other, they do provide food for thought. Some would like to see commuter water taxis from Kirkland to Seattle. Others suggest a waterfront ferry system linking Kirkland's parks along Lake Washington.
Water taxies linking Kirkland's parks would be a cool way to explore Kirkland without the hassles of parking. Such a service would be unique on Lake Washington and might draw tourists to town. One could imagine water taxies stopping at many of our beautiful waterfront parks such as Carillon Point, Houghton Beach, Marsh Park, Marina Park and Juanita Beach Park.
Such a service would benefit local businesses by adding a fun reason for people to spend time exploring Kirkland. Kirkland's position along Lake Washington is such an asset, we should think of ways to better leverage it into improving our local economy. A Kirkland waterfront ferry is just one such idea.
In 1950, the last ferry ran to Kirkland, once called the Hub of the Eastside.