If you’re bound for Shelter Island via the North Ferry in Greenport, sometime this summer, you’ll find a different route — one that’s experimental — but if it works, it’s likely to be solidified for future use. The aim is to end illegal access to the ferry line that frays the nerves of those who correctly use the Wiggins Street entrance to the line.
Just when the change will occur depends on the MTA that must approve the route since it involves accessing the ferry through property it leases to Suffolk County that, in turn, leases it to the Village, according to new Greenport Village Administrator Paul Pallas. It won’t be in time for the Memorial Day weekend, he said, But he hopes to see it in use through much of the summer so Greenport and North Ferry officials can assess its viability before taking steps to make it a permanent change.
That means the changes will initially take place with signs and street cones, not concrete barriers, Mr. Pallas said. Cones will block access to the ferry from Third and Wiggins streets with signs at that corner informing drivers that there is no access to the line. Plans also call for signs at Front and Third streets directing drivers who want to join the ferry line to proceed to Sixth Street.
The plan calls for restoring two-way traffic on Wiggins Street between Third and Fourth streets that currently serves as the legal staging area for North Ferry.
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The new route will direct drivers to go south on Sixth Street to Wiggins, then turn left onto Wiggins, heading east to Fourth Street. At Fourth, drivers will turn right and proceed half a block, turning left just before the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Vehicles will then run in front of the Rail Road Museum and access the ferry line through an opening currently blocked by posts that will be removed.
As Mr. Pallas walked the route Monday morning, he praised North Ferry general manager Bridg Hunt for cooperation in establishing the test route.
If it weren’t for the need to await MTA approval, the route could be operational within the week, Mr. Pallas said. But he said he has no idea how long it’s going to take the MTA to act.
“I honestly don’t know when,” Mr. Pallas said.
In late April, Mitch Pally, the Suffolk Country representative to the MTA board, sent an email to the Reporter after reading about plans for a re-route. He said a meeting had been convened in April with Village, ferry service and MTA/LIRR officials to move the plans forward. The MTA was awaiting a written request from the Village so it could take action.
“I have been assured that MTA will provide a very speedy response as soon as the written request is received,” he said.
That letter has been sent, Mr. Pallas said.