Following a period of discontent on the part of Greenport officials with North Ferry’s traffic routing and wear and tear on roads, the Southold Transportation Commission is waiting for a report from the village before it schedules a meeting with representatives of both sides.
Commission Chairman Neboysha Brashich said Monday that Greenport officials have promised to submit a “white paper” — a detailed report on a single issue — by the end of the month describing steps taken by the village to deal with problems.
The commission is looking for an “equitable” means of dealing with problems, Mr. Brashich said.
Some Greenport Village Board members and residents have called for a surcharge on vehicles using North Ferry to offset the cost of maintaining roads on the Greenport side. They’ve also complained about traffic tie-ups occurring when vehicles try to enter the ferry line from Third Street instead of Wiggins Street.
“We’re ready and willing” to work with the village and Southold Transportation Commission, said Stella Lagudis, general manager of the Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC), which owns the ferry company.
Some in Greenport are in favor of a $1 surcharge on vehicles using North Ferry. That money would be earmarked for road maintenance, according to Greenport Mayor George Hubbard. Mr. Hubbard told the Suffolk Times that a surcharge has been talked about in the village since he was elected in March.
“It’s just seeing if we can generate any revenue to help pay for the road repairs that need to be done,” he said. At the same time, the mayor acknowledged there was a question about the legality of a surcharge.
The Southold Transportation Commission has no authority to impose a surcharge, which must be approved by the Suffolk County Legislature.
Last summer, North Ferry used its own workers to control the traffic flow at peak times, often turning around those drivers who mistakenly tried to join the Shelter Island-bound ferry line from Third Street instead of Wiggins Street.
Ms. Lagudis said she thought the system worked well. But Greenport officials complained whenever there was a backup, insisting North Ferry’s efforts weren’t working.
Southold Town Police respond when they learn traffic is tangled, according to Chief Martin Flatley, but they can’t routinely schedule officers to direct ferry traffic.
Two major problems are a lack of signage informing drivers they can’t access the ferry line from Third Street, and GPS devices incorrectly directing drivers to head south on Third Street for the ferry line.
Photo Caption: A common sight, especially in the summer months, of traffic backed up in Greenport leading to North Ferry boats. (Credit: Julie Lane)