Page 46 June 22, 2012
Take the Ferry Between Sag Harbor & Greenport By caroline kaleda
he Peconic Water Jitney is the new water taxi taking passengers between Greenport and Sag Harbor. After much debate, it’s now “Anchors Away!” as the ferry has gained the requisite approvals from the Greenport Village Board, Sag Harbor Village Board and, most recently, Suffolk County. It could begin running as early as June 28. A 53-foot long, 18-foot wide catamaran that travels between 5 and 19 knots, the Peconic Water Jitney will have a capacity for 53 passengers. It will make seven trips every day during the week, beginning at 7 a.m. in Greenport and leaving from there every two hours until the last trip at 8 p.m., except for
Fridays and Saturdays when there is an eighth boat leaving at 10 p.m. Sag Harbor trips will begin
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at 8 a.m. Travel time will be about 40 minutes to an hour. Shuttle buses will be available to take passengers between stops in the Hamptons to the Sag Harbor Long Wharf, as well as between Greenport High School and Greenport’s Mitchell Park Pier. The passage will cost $11 for a one-way ticket, and $20 for round trip, with reduced fare for children. Reservations can be made online at peconicjitney.com. The Water Jitney will travel through the Peconic Bay on the west side of Shelter Island and the east side of North Haven. Not only will it connect Sag Harbor and Greenport, but it will also be another connection between the North and South forks that will increase travel between the two, and no doubt be beneficial for businesses on both. Greenport residents are especially looking forward to the increased commerce that the ferry will bring, which is why it didn’t take their village board very long to give its approval.
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The Greenport Village Board approved the water ferry on Thursday, May 10, with the condition that the Hampton Jitney pay the appropriate docking rates. The Sag Harbor Village Board took much longer to approve the ferry, giving it the go-ahead on Tuesday, June 12, a little over a month after Greenport did. The residents of Sag Harbor were unsure if they wanted to support the ferry, not knowing if it would actually be beneficial to the community. Those who did not want the ferry complained that it would increase traffic and pollution, as well as disrupt those using the bay for recreation. Residents of Sag Harbor were unsure if the benefits to the community would outweigh the detriments, it took time for them to offer their support. If the ferry does have detrimental effects on either the Sag Harbor or Greenport communities, either side has the chance to change their mind. The approval of the ferry is really only for a test run, this summer, from the end of June until Labor Day weekend, and if it doesn’t work out, it may not return next summer. If there are too many complaints about the ferry or if it does not have enough passengers per day to be considered worthwhile, the Hampton Jitney will discontinue the service. The mayor of Sag Harbor, Brian Gilbride, discussed the development of a committee of village employees to examine the ferry’s impact on the various issues of concern, especially traffic, parking and commerce. However, as the ferry will really bring the North and South Forks together, many hope that it will be here to stay.
Dan's Papers June 22, 2012 Issue