Parking Woes Could Sink Greenport-Sag Harbor Ferry Plan

Before the first passenger ferry leaves Greenport for Sag Harbor, concerns over parking threaten the project.

While the idea of a passenger ferry connecting Sag Harbor and Greenport is a Friday evening public hearing in Greenport brought up whether both villages could support additional parking for ferry passengers.

Jim Ryan, from Response Marine, and Geoff Lynch Hampton Jitney president, gave a brief presentation on the pilot program, which would start after Memorial Day if approved. Lynch admitted there are a “lot of unknowns” about the ferry proposal at this point and said that is why they are only sourcing the ferry through 2012 at this point. He said they need to see the viability of this plan in helping to create an East End transit system.

“If negatives outweigh the positives, we’ll drop it,” Lynch said.

Greenport Mayor David Nyce read a letter from former President Mike Acebo, in which Acebo said he supported the ferry but had concerns as well. Acebo said when Mitchell Park and Marina was designed, the committee wanted to maintain the slips at the marina for transient boats forever and that putting a commercial ferry boat would be counter to that philosophy. He also expressed concerns over adding additional cars to municipal parking lots.

Dave Berson, owner of the Glory Electric Launch, said he thought it was a great idea but as an advocate for the Peconic Bay, he was concerned about the environmental impact of the New York Waterway Taxi that would be used in the project.

“We need to be careful before we commit to any other polluting boat on the Bay,” Berson said.

Ryan said the New York Waterway boat comes from a safe, reliable company with a good reputation. As a resident of the East End, Ryan said he would not want to bring harm to the bay.

Trustee Christine Kempner said it was a nice idea to bring business to the village, but added passengers would have to park in the village and was concerned it would add to village parking woes. Kempner suggested adding an incentive to park at a satellite location would help ease parking concerns.

Lynch acknowledged that both Sag Harbor and Greenport have a lack of parking and Hampton Jitney is considering asking school districts on both forks to serve as satellite parking during July and August. The passengers would then be shuttled to the docks. At this point, Lynch said, the school districts have not been approached. The Hampton Jitney also plans to run a shuttle through Sag Harbor, East Hampton, and Bridgehampton to pick up passengers.

“Parking could kill this thing on both ends,” Lynch said.

The plan is currently before the Suffolk County Legislature to approve $11 one-way and $20 round trip fares.

Before the plan can go forward, Nyce said Sag Harbor still needs to hold a public hearing and amend the village code to allow the passenger ferry to dock in the village temporarily.

Richard Bonforte March 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Yet, more concerns about "parking." Opportunities to bring more people to town and potentially expand business always seem to immediately trigger negative reaction because of added vehicular traffic. Isn't it about time for the town fathers to finally focus on that proverbial 300-pound elephant in the room and addresses ways to solve the issue of parking? Perhaps, it's just easier to always say, "No."
Caroline Waloski March 18, 2012 at 05:43 PM
In order to bring economic health to Greenport we must be positive about supporting ventures such as this ferry. We don't need more empty stores due to lack of business. I am sure the parking issue can be solved. As a small business owner I would welcome more visitors to the area.
Brendan Byrne - The East End Broker March 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Is it being assumed that these passengers would not have public transportation origins? If the public transportation options increase, a ferry being one of them, the need for parking can be less. Additionally, a solution could be created to bring people from Orient and ultimately from New England. I believe that the ferry would bring more pros than cons.
mhorine1 March 18, 2012 at 10:06 PM
It seems like the good businessfolk of Greenport are just bound and determined to shoot themselves in the foot over parking (ferry, Greenmarket, etc.). Not enough parking is a problem you should be glad to have.
Alicia Walker March 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Still trying to figure out when this village is going to wake up and build a parking garage perfect location is over by the railroad.has anyone ever been dropped off over there from the jittney and noticed how dark it is. It would give tourists peace of mind to pay to park there car there and it would generate money long term for the village as well. I know that when I take the train from Ronkonkoma I love to park my car and know that it's safe and I don't have to worry about a ticket when I get back definately worth the money.


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