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North Ferry line re-route not high priority

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Ferry traffic correctly accessing the line to board North Ferry from Wiggins Street (at left) last August had to contend with drivers trying to cut into the line illegally from Third Street.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Ferry traffic correctly accessing the line to board North Ferry from Wiggins Street (at left) last August had to contend with drivers trying to cut into the line illegally from Third Street.

If waiting in line in Greenport for a ferry can occasionally try your patience, waiting for a change in plan to improve it is going to take a lot more patience.

That’s the word from Greenport Village Administrator Paul Pallas.

Back in May it seemed there would be a ferry line plan that could be set in place sometime this summer. But that’s not going to happen because of multiple steps that have to occur, Mr. Pallas said. What’s more, the plan suggested in May has not only taken its lumps from Greenport and Suffolk County, but the Metropolitan Transit Authority has balked at the proposal, Mr. Pallas said.

The plan called for ending the existing route that results in vehicles correctly accessing the ferry line from Wiggins Street and incorrectly trying to cut into that line by coming south along Third Street. Instead, the proposed route was to bring traffic along Wiggins Street to Fourth Street and then direct that line south to cross MTA property in front of the Long Island Rail Road Museum and into the line that now feeds the ferries.

The problem, critics said, was that it also called for restoring two-way traffic on Wiggins Street between Third and Fourth Street and that could result in vehicles trying to access the ferry line from three directions — Fourth Street, illegally or Wiggins Street at the Fourth Street intersection, coming either from the east or west.

The MTA had a couple of its own ideas for changes, Mr. Pallas said. But it’s too soon to elaborate on any plans since before any change might take place, there’s work to be done by lawyers for the county and the village, he said.

The County Legislature just passed a resolution agreeing to end its involvement in a lease that has existed between Suffolk County and the village on property surrounding the rail road dock. But now that the county wants out, lawyers have to create an agreement that turns control of the area over to the village for a new ferry line route. Once that happens, the village can proceed with its talks with the MTA about re-routing ferry traffic, Mr. Pallas said.

Given the number of projects Mr. Pallas took over when he became village administrator and utilities director this year, he said there’s not a “big emphasis” on rerouting at this moment.

North Ferry General Manager Bridg Hunt has made a concerted effort to have staff routing traffic boarding from Greenport at most busy times, but any changes to the route on the Greenport side rests with the village and MTA, he said.

“We’re ready to try it out,” he said about a change to the ferry line. “We’re waiting for the village.”