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What’s up with those long North Ferry lines?

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | North Ferry boat
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | North Ferry boat

Wondering about those long lines to board North Ferry from Greenport? And sometimes even the trip back from Shelter Island has seen vehicles backed up almost to Bridge Street. Yet we haven’t even reached Memorial Day, considered the start of the summer tourist season.

Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC) General Manager Stella Lagudis calls it a “confluence of circumstances,” most of which are not directly related to North Ferry’s operations.

HPOC owns North Ferry.

True, one of the North Ferry’s three large boats is being serviced, Ms. Lagudis said. The two small boats carry only about 11 vehicles each and the smaller boats are older, she said.

But the other factors are:

• South Fork traffic tie ups that prompt many to approach the Hamptons by cutting across Shelter Island

• A lot of rain this spring that resulted in those workers headed to project sites on the Island or the Hamptons having fewer days to travel

• Early morning fog that can slow down the typical 10-minute crossing

• Major paving that has large Corazzini trucks coming over from the North Fork

On the positive side, for the past several weeks and presumably throughout the heavy summer season, North Ferry has stationed a worker at the intersection of Wiggins and Third streets in Greenport to stop drivers from cutting into the ferry line from Third Street. Traffic is supposed to be routed along Wiggins Street from Sixth Street.

But on Wednesday morning, the backup along Wiggins Street shortly after 7 a.m.  went as far west as Seventh and Wiggins streets.

What’s the outlook for the summer?

No one knows for sure, but any hope for a new large boat being added to the fleet isn’t going to happen soon.

“It’s in the embryonic stage,” Ms. Lagudis said about that planning.

 HPOChas to determine what boat is best for its needs, how to finance it, what design it will have and ultimately who will build it.

Whether North Ferry will look for a rate hike to help finance a new boat, no one is saying. But any rate hike would have to be approved by the Suffolk County Legislature.

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