Tag Archive | "Ferry"

Sag Harbor-Greenport Ferry Service Takes Off

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On Thursday morning, the inaugural departure of the Peconic Bay Water Jitney ferry service from Greenport to Sag Harbor had just one passenger — Hampton Jitney Vice President Andrew Lynch.

“We were biting our nails a little bit with me being the only passenger on the 7 a.m., but as the weekend progressed we were pleasantly surprised by the number of people using the ferry,” said Lynch on Tuesday.

For East Hampton resident Jane Stuart, an avid fan of the North Fork, finding a new way to travel to Greenport without a car was an experience she could not pass up. On Tuesday morning, Stewart and Patty Robert, a Staten Island resident visiting for the holiday, boarded the noon ferry from Long Wharf, excited at the prospect of meeting friends in Greenport for lunch and coming back to Sag Harbor as a group for dinner.

“Usually I take my car over,” said Stuart, as the ferry glided out of the harbor and into Peconic Bay. “This is much better. We get to be out on the beautiful water for 40 minutes each way. It’s almost like owning your own boat.”

Stuart and Robert made their way to the ferry through the Hampton Jitney’s shuttle service, which picks up people at Pierson High School, where passengers from outside Sag Harbor have been encouraged to park their cars.

“It was easy, smooth,” said Stuart. “I will definitely be doing this again.”

The Peconic Bay Water Jitney, operating on a catamaran coined the “John Keith,” began traversing Peconic Bay between Sag Harbor and Greenport last Thursday. For the next several months, the Hampton Jitney company will assess the financial viability of the passenger ferry service, which has been approved by the villages of Greenport and Sag Harbor on a temporary basis for this summer. Those villages will also be studying the economic, traffic and parking impacts the service has on their communities to discern whether or not this concept holds water for everyone involved in the long term.

According to Jim Ryan, of Response Marine, who is leading operations of the ferry service, this past holiday weekend ran smoothly, and ridership after the inaugural voyage was in line with what he had hoped for during what he called the ferry’s “soft opening.”

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have taken it,” agreed Lynch. “Especially since we have not even really advertised it yet.”

According to Lynch, over the weekend an average of 30 passengers rode on the 53-passenger vessel.

“We even had one trip coming back from Sag Harbor on Sunday that was sold out,” he said.

Late Wednesday night, Lunch noted the Jitney had finally reached a deal with the Suffolk County Transit Authority and East Hampton to allow for a bus route between East Hampton and Sag Harbor for those looking to incorporate the Long Island Railroad or Suffolk County Transit Authority into their mass transit traveling options, and to reduce parking and traffic woes in Sag Harbor Village.

Starting at 9:15 a.m. the shuttle will make six loops – seven on Friday and Saturday – throughout the day, stopping at EAst Hampton’s Lumber Lane parking lot for a pick-up before a stop at the East Hampton Railroad Station. From there is will head to the Pierson High School parking lot to pick up passengers before dropping off at Long Wharf.

“We want people to use as many mass transit options as possible,” said Lynch. “Now that there is more signage, we are hoping to see an increase there.”

The company is directing those who make reservations on the ferry and are driving to Sag Harbor for the service to the Pierson High School parking lot, which they are leasing for the summer from the school district. The shuttle bus is included in the $20 round trip fare for the ferry. Discounted tickets are available for children under 13 and a one-way fare is $11. Bikes ride free.

Service begins in Greenport at 7 a.m., the ferry’s first Long Wharf departure at 8 a.m. except on Sundays when service begins an hour later. The ferry, which takes about 40 minutes, departs on the hour, leaving Greenport at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with service from Sag Harbor at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. There is an additional 10 p.m. departure from Greenport on Fridays and Saturdays with an 11 p.m. boat out of Sag Harbor as well.

For Dr. Tom Halton, a Sag Harbor resident and member of the village’s Harbor Committee, Tuesday marked his first trip on the ferry. He was joined by his wife, Diane and daughter, Corrine, who shopped in Greenport while Dr. Halton explored the nautical history of the village – a hobby of his.

“I think it is just a wonderful way to travel,” he said on his return trip to Sag Harbor. “I am just thanking God the village decided to give this a chance. It’s a really beautiful ride.”

While a number of residents and business owners in Sag Harbor raised concerns with the Sag Harbor Village Board before it approved the ferry service on a trail basis for this summer season, according to village clerk Beth Kamper there have been no complaints logged with the village or the police department since the ferry launched.

Kamper joined Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley on a Friday voyage to Greenport. Mayor Gilbride said he spent most of his time in Greenport looking at local shops and asking business owners what they thought of the service.

“Everyone seemed pretty happy to see us,” he said on Monday.

Mayor Gilbride, Chief Fabiano, Yardley, Kamper and Sag Harbor Planning Board Chairman Neil Slevin will study the service this summer with the help of environmental planning consultant Rich Warren and Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait.

“If it works, it works and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” said Mayor Gilbride. “But we had to give it a chance.”

Ferry Debate Continues

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By Kathryn G. Menu

While no formal plans have been filed with the Village of Sag Harbor, according to Mayor Brian Gilbride, the debate over a passenger ferry service to the village continued at Monday’s Harbor Committee meeting where two members disagreed on whether or not it will benefit the village.

Earlier this year, the Riverhead-based firm Response Marina sent informal proposals to several villages and towns on the East End looking to create the Peconic Bay Passenger Shuttle Service. The ferry service would be year round, and in its first phase would connect Sag Harbor and Greenport via one, 40-person shuttle. A second phase would add seasonal ferry service to places like Riverhead and East Hampton.

According to the proposal, the number of shuttles and destinations, could increase depending on demand.

On Monday, Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait said the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) says ferries should be considered, however, only if upland support to address issues like parking is in place.

“No one has addressed upland support on this thing and it is really, really, really important because it becomes a quality of life issue,” said Tait.

He added he was concerned about the precedent that could be set by allowing a private ferry service in Sag Harbor.

“People have been looking at trying to get a ferry service to the South Fork for a long time,” he noted, later adding he was unsure what benefit the ferry service would offer Sag Harbor residents.

Committee member Dr. Tom Halton said he thought it was a wonderful way to get people to the village without cars, adding he expects there would be plans unveiled to handle parking.

“I have worked on boats my whole life,” said Dr. Halton. “It is wonderful to get people from point A to point B by a boat.”

“I also am in favor of a ferry being an alternative for traffic as long as it works for our community,” said Tait. “We are not a commercial port and we are an extremely congested small village. Anything that increases that congestion is a problem.”

In other Harbor Committee news, Glover Street resident David Epstein expressed concerns about Steven Gambrel’s proposal to construct a dock on his property. The four by 57-foot catwalk-dock would connect to a three by 12-foot ramp leading to a six by 20-foot perpendicular float at Gambrel’s 53 Glover Street home.

The proposal was before the Harbor Committee for a wetlands permit and has already been approved by the NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conversation), Southampton Trustees and the Army Corps. of Engineers.

While Tait said the structure was typical of docks that have been approved for wetlands permits and there were no navigation issues, he encouraged Epstein to share his concerns with the board.

Epstein, who added that other neighbors were concerned with the dock as well, noted that Gambrel has been “a problematic neighbor.” He pointed out that it was Gambrel’s house which was rented for a Lionel Richie concert in 2008 over Fourth of July weekend — a concert village officials scrambled to halt and which eventually inspired the board of trustees to require permits for anyone hosting events with more than 75 people.

Epstein said he wanted to ensure there was no electric or sound system connected to the dock, which Billy Mack of the marine construction firm First Coastal assured was not a part of the plans.

Epstein remained concerned, particularly with the size of the dock.

“It’s going to be a party, but that is not your concern,” he said.

Village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren noted that Southampton Town Trustees limit the number of vessels, including jet skis, to two per dock with Tait adding the water depth would prevent a boat larger than 30-feet from docking.

A wetlands permit is expected next month.

The Harbor Committee also signed off on the John Jermain Memorial Library’s plans to expand its Main Street facility, one of the last approvals the library needs before it can apply for a building permit to start construction.

“I think it is a great project,” said Tait, and the committee agreed it was consistent with the LWRP.

Lastly, Philip Alston was granted a wetlands permit to demolish an existing house and construct a new, two-story home on his 1 Harding Terrace property. Howard Druckman was also granted a wetlands permit to construct a dock into Sag Harbor Cove from his 192 Redwood Road house.

Sag Harbor ARB Approves Sixth Solar Panel Project

After very little discussion, last Thursday the Sag Harbor Village Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board approved the sixth solar panel project in the historic village, agreeing to allow Brian Halweil to mount a solar electric system consisting of 24, 230-watt panels on his 132 Glover Street home.

“It is on a flat roof and is not visible from anywhere on the street,” said Sag Harbor ARB Chairman Cee Scott Brown. “It was pretty much a slam dunk.”

In other ARB news, the board also approved Kristina Johnson for her “Beach Bungalow” sign at 26 Main Street, as well as Linda Pazera’s sign for “Upholstery Fabrics” for her Long Wharf shop. The Bond No. 9 New York company was also approved to place its company logo on its 45 Main Street location.

In residential applications, Lloyd and Elana Nathan were given approval to plant hedges on the street side of their 50 Bayview Avenue home, and the Sullivan One, LLC. was approved to build a 224-square-foot deck and stone walkway at 15 John Street.

Six Acres Preserved in Noyac

According to a press release issued on Monday by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, at last week’s general meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature, the body approved the acquisition of six acres located in the Noyac Greenbelt for preservation.

Schneiderman’s office said Suffolk County officials will work with the Peconic Land Trust, a non-for-profit conservation group, to buy the 6.6. acres of land, which is located between Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor and is part of the 100 acres of preserved land in the Great Swamp and the Noyac Greenbelt. The land includes low-lying wetlands and sloping woodlands and lies on top of the moraine, a ridge created from glaciers. Schneiderman’s office said the area is essential to the collection of fresh drinking water and will remain open space for aquifer protection. Schneiderman co-sponsored the resolution for acquisition under the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program.

State Passes Law Allowing North Haven to Regulate Docks

On Monday, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced that legislation he sponsored related to the oversight of docks in the Village of North Haven has passed both the state senate and assembly. The legislation will enable the Village of North Haven to adopt, amend and enforce local regulations concerning the location and construction of boathouses, docks and moorings.

“I am pleased this legislation has passed the Assembly and that we could fulfill this request of the Village,” said Thiele in a release. “This legislation will allow for the proper local oversight of these shoreline structures.”

“This legislation allows and returns local control to the Village of North Haven with respect to the regulation of construction on and near its waters,” added New York State Senator Ken LaValle, who sponsored the senate version of the bill.