Steamship Authority passengers, Woods Hole terminal neighbors and other members of the public got their first chance last week to examine — and weigh in on — the latest land-side design for the terminal reconstruction.

Projected to break ground in 2023, this portion of the $70 million terminal project includes a one-story ticket office and waiting room on a raised plaza, a two-story utility building nearby, a dedicated dog park and an expanded pocket park on the water’s edge, along with new traffic and parking patterns and racks for up to 200 bicycles.

“We’ve doubled the capacity for bicycles,” architect Lian Davis said, during a public Zoom forum with other members of the design team and Steamship Authority officials.

The Steamship Authority board of governors approved the concept designs in late 2019, but schematic work was delayed by Covid-19, SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll told the Zoom audience. Held at the 40 per cent completion mark of the schematic design process, the forum was the first of four intended to gather public input this year, Mr. Driscoll said. The next forum will come when the schematics are 90 per cent finished, followed by two more forums at the 40 and 90 per cent points of the design development process.

“We expect the construction bid documents to be issued in 2022, with the general goal of starting construction on this phase in 2023,” Mr. Driscoll said.

The ticket building, reviled on both sides of the Sound as a bulky eyesore when its original two-story design was proposed in 2018, has been downsized to a single story, with non-customer-facing functions moved to the utility building. While acknowledging the improvement, some Woods Hole neighbors complained that the two-story utility building still would block some of their views. Several also criticized the large round windows in the schematic design for the ticket building.

“It kind of reminds me of the Mystic aquarium,” said Jonathan Goldman of Woods Hole.

The new design has shuttles and municipal and regional buses picking up and discharging passengers directly at the terminal plaza instead of across a travel lane as at present.

“I think this will make a more comfortable and safe passage for people arriving by bus,” Mr. Davis said.

Islander Marie Laursen asked that the shuttle bus for the back parking lot also pick up closer to the terminal. It is presently designed to stop closer to the bridge.

“When you’re carrying bags... that’s a long way to walk,” said Ms. Laursen, who keeps a vehicle in the long term parking back lot.

Mr. Davis said the ticket building is intended to qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Building Council, although the level of certification has yet to be determined. With solar panels on the flat-roofed structure and three solar canopies over the bicycle, employee and short-term parking areas, the complex is intended to generate all the electricity it needs to operate, the architect said.

The interior will also be designed for energy efficiency and socially-distanced traffic circulation, with enhanced ventilation and anti-microbial, easily cleanable surfaces.

Across the plaza next to slip three, Cahoon’s Park will return — about four times larger, the design team said — to its former waterside spot, complete with the granite blocks and bronze fish-relief plaques that have been in storage since waterfront construction began. The project’s landscape architect, Rick Williams of IBI Group in Boston, said he plans to plant native species in the park and ensure their roots are out of danger from flooding.

A separate dog park is planned for the far eastern edge of the Steamship Authority property.

Kathryn Wilson, Steamship Authority governor for Falmouth, said she heard many good suggestions raised in the Zoom forum.

“I think we can implement some of them into the overall schematics,” she told the audience.

The boat line has posted the latest schematics at and continues to take comments by email at