Passenger Ferry Service May Find Home on Bay Street in Sag Harbor

Posted on 21 March 2012

The Hampton Jitney’s proposed passenger ferry service connecting Sag Harbor and Greenport villages was originally envisioned as docking on Long Wharf. However, this week it was revealed that a second location, further from Main Street, is being considered in an attempt to ease concerns about traffic and parking.

Last Wednesday, Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch met with Sag Harbor Village Harbor Master Bob Bori at a village owned dock nestled between the Breakwater Yacht Club and the Sag Harbor Village Wastewater Treatment Plant on Bay Street

According to Bori, the two discussed the possibility of having the passenger ferry service use this dock as opposed to Long Wharf. In addition to keeping traffic generated by the passenger ferry service away from Main Street, Bori noted that the parking lot next to the Breakwater Yacht Club is engineered for small shuttles like the one Lynch has proposed to bring people from East Hampton and Bridgehampton to Sag Harbor for the ferry service.

It would also settle one of the village Harbor Committee’s concerns that Long Wharf itself is not a safe location for passengers to traverse to board a water taxi. While technically a county road, Long Wharf serves as a village parking lot and has no pedestrian walkway meaning people are either walking in traffic or on the outside of the wharf’s railing with nothing between them and the water.

“I think this would be a halfway decent spot,” said Bori on Tuesday of the Bay Street location. “It moves everything away from Main Street but is still within walking distance.”

Bori said he has yet to hear back from Lynch on whether or not moving the ferry to Bay Street was a concept he would move forward with.

On Monday, Jim Ryan with Response Marine — the firm that will operate the water taxi for the Hampton Jitney — said the option was being explored.

“We are hoping to bring the vessel out in mid-April and take practical measurements of each dock,” said Ryan.

He added that there are different docks in Greenport that could also be used for the ferry service. The marina at Mitchell Park may be the most visible location and is under consideration, Ryan said. He added that a second site near Greenport’s Long Island Railroad Station, the North Ferry from Shelter Island and where Suffolk County Transit has a stop is another option.

“They have a transportation hub already,” said Ryan. “The goal right now is to make sure every option is explored. This way if we do start we will be meeting the needs of both villages to the best of our ability. We want to take into account every variable so we can put the vessel in the most safe, and visible location, but visibility can also be accomplished through advertising.”

Ryan said the team was also working with Suffolk County Transit in an attempt to sync the ferry service to the public bus in both Sag Harbor and Greenport.

Ryan added that by the end of the week he expects that both school districts in Greenport and Sag Harbor will also join the conversation. It has been suggested, in the wake of parking and traffic concerns in both villages, that the service could use school parking lots as one of the stops in the bus service the Hampton Jitney has proposed to reduce traffic coming to the ferry.

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