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Greenport may ban parking on Wiggins year round

JULIE LANE PHOTO Traffic on Wiggns Street last summer.
JULIE LANE PHOTO Traffic on Wiggins Street last summer.

The Greenport Village Board is unlikely to move forward with a proposal to restore two-way traffic to Wiggins Street, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said at June 23 Village Board meeting.

The board has, however, scheduled a public hearing on a new short-term proposal to address North Ferry traffic congestion.

The board has scheduled a July 28 public hearing on a proposal to make the summertime ban on parking along the south side of Wiggins Street a year-round ban. The ban, enacted in 2003, currently runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wiggins Street features a dedicated lane for traffic entering the ferry plaza.

Wiggins Street has been a one-way street, heading east toward the ferry, since 2001.

The idea of reinstating two-way traffic there was to give drivers the option of heading north on Third Street, which has a traffic signal at the intersection with Front Street or, if that road is congested, turning left onto Wiggins.

But residents of Wiggins Street opposed that proposal at several public hearings.

The village subsequently formed a “stakeholders” committee designed to come up with a long-term solution. That committee comprises representatives from Wiggins Street, the Railroad Museum of Long Island, the East End Seaport Museum & Marine Foundation and the North Ferry Company.

“It’s going to take a while before we get something going to get this situation straightened out on a long-term basis,” Mr. Hubbard said.

He recommended the year-round ban on parking on the south side of Wiggins Street as a short-term solution.

“When the cars are parked there, it makes it hard for people to get around them,” he said.

The Village Board can hold the July hearing and potentially adopt the change at its August meeting so that it could take effect before Labor Day, Mr. Hubbard said.

“We don’t want to get to Labor Day and have cars parked there again and just create another traffic nightmare,” he said.

Ron Nelson, a Wiggins Street resident and committee member, said the first meeting was held last Thursday. Mr. Nelson recently proposed removing the ferry line from Wiggins Street altogether and relocating it to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority parking lot between the Railroad Museum and the East End Seaport Museum, but he said that could take a while because it requires MTA approval. He suggested that in the short-term, the committee can work on things like better signage for ferry traffic.