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Village expected to approve designs for new North Ferry terminal

Following input from the state Department of Transportation, engineers have released a series of alternative plans to reroute North Ferry traffic in Greenport for consideration by the Village Board.

“They recommended one specific design that we believe the DOT would be in favor of,” village administrator Paul Pallas reported during a work session last Thursday.

That plan, entitled “Alternative 4” and prepared by L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven, envisions the entrance to the ferry line from Wiggins Street west of the intersection at Third Street. Vehicles would then be routed around a loop as they currently are before splitting into six proposed queuing lanes.

The proposal also maintains access to the Railroad Museum, reserves a parking area for ferry workers and the seaport museum and adds some green space.

An earlier plan discussed last month located the entrance to the queue on Fourth Street, which raised a number of concerns.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said last month she would not support the Fourth Street proposal, citing potential traffic issues especially with larger trucks. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she said at the time.

Village officials also published a series of comments made by the engineers in response to the Fourth Street concept proposed by some residents.

Their comments note that requiring a left turn into the queuing area is “not ideal” and could cause conflicts with through-traffic from both directions on Fourth Street. Other safety issues, including the railroad crossing nearby, were also noted.

The engineers also found that the Fourth Street design would accommodate nine fewer cars than their proposed plan.

The board is expected to take a vote on the “Alternative 4” plan, which must be sent to the DOT for review, at next Thursday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, the village administrator has sought an extension for grant funding associated with the project. “A lot of this becomes moot if we don’t get the extension,” Mr. Pallas said last Thursday.

Resident Randy Wade was critical of the board’s decision to pursue a vote on the plan before holding a public discussion.

“We’re talking to a body that’s already made their decision,” Ms. Wade said. “You have not shared [the plans] with the public or had an open discussion about it.”

Village officials said the decision is ultimately made by the Village Board and not subject to a public hearing.

“It may not make everybody happy, but the goal is to make it more livable and have the traffic flow being staged on the North Ferry property and not on Wiggins Street all the time,” Ms. Phillips said.

Stella Lagudis, general manager of the Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation, which owns North Ferry, said Friday that the engineering firm and village have been working with the DOT to address their concerns. “North Ferry has been involved in this process along the way and is very pleased with the manner in which the project is progressing,” she said. “When implemented, this redesign will be a win/win for the stakeholders — a true public-private partnership.”