The Canal Street / Algiers Ferry serves as a critical transportation and economic link between the East and West Bank of New Orleans.
Increasingly, residents of and visitors to New Orleans are opting to travel car-free, instead traveling on foot, by bike, and aboard public transportation. The Algiers Ferry is the only option to cross the Mississippi River by foot or by bicycle. According to the US Census, New Orleans has the 5th highest rate of commuting to work by bike of any city in the country, and in 2014, the League of American Bicyclists announced that New Orleans has been promoted to a Silver-level bicycle friendly community. Sculpture Walk will contribute to these sorts of conveyances by creating a smartphone app that locates and discusses each piece. This app will also be linked to real time ferry hours so as to connect all people to the art. Currently there is no app that links riders to real time ferry hours.
Since February 2014, the ferry is now operated by the Transdev / New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA), bringing in an agency that is better positioned to upgrade, enhance and grow the service. The RTA has committed to significant infrastructure investments including procuring a modern fleet of efficient ferry vessels and redevelopment of ferry terminals into world-class destinations that serve as a source of civic pride. Including public art through the Sculpture Walk project as a component of these upgrades will attract new riders to the ferry, supporting the RTA to expand ferry service that would benefit tourists and ferry commuters alike.
With Sculpture Walk, New Orleans is building off the successful precedents of uniting art and multi-modal transportation networks in cities like Los Angeles, CA. LA’s Metro transit agency launched their widely successful ‘Metro Art’ and ‘Art Moves’ programs in 1989 to improve the experience of riding transit through innovative, original visual and performing arts programs that encourage ridership and connect people, sites and neighborhoods throughout LA County. Sculpture Walk will be the first art and transit project that will link ferries and regions in a way that has never been done before.