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Much like summer, long lines persist to board North Ferry in Greenport

10/26/2015 2:00 PM |

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If you’re a regular North Ferry rider still bothered by long lines from Greenport, don’t expect relief anytime soon. 

Problems typical of summer traffic have persisted into the fall and are now complicated by school bus regulations, according to Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr.

New York State requires school buses to pick up young students at their houses. There are houses on the west side of Third Street where buses picking up the children are then blocked because of the ferry line traffic when bus drives try to make a turn to head back north on Third Street, Mr. Hubbard said.

A school bus was blocked just last week from being able to make the turnaround, he said.

Adding to the problem, there are persistent long lines on weekday mornings to transport those heading from Greenport to Shelter Island via ferry. This late in the fall, lines have in past years been reasonable, but throughout September and October, there have been major backups for about an hour from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. for drivers who generally have a three-boat wait averaging at least half an hour before they’re able to board a ferry to Shelter Island.

Such waits are typical during summer weekends, but unusual for this late in the fall.

North Ferry General Manager Bridg Hunt acknowledged the backups and speculated they result from more vehicles using the ferry to cut across Shelter Island to the Hamptons. There’s no solution other than for drivers to leave earlier or later to avoid that heavy traffic period, he said.

Drivers should start out earlier and stop for breakfast on Shelter Island, he suggested.

With persistent problems in Greenport, both Mr. Hunt and Mr. Hubbard have promised to seek solutions working with the Southold Transportation Commission.

Mr. Hunt reached out to Mr. Hubbard this fall to ask that such a meeting be set, but the mayor said by the time he could approach the Transportation Commission, it was too late to get on this month’s agenda. It will be at least November before a meeting is held, he said.

“If it’s going to continue like that, they’re going to have to take steps,” Mr. Hubbard said about North Ferry’s long backups.

Photo Caption: The North Ferry line down Wiggins Street in Greenport in 2013. (Credit: Ambrose Clancy, file)

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