Shelter Island Reporter
March 14, 2002

Go and be heard
     Hope springs eternal. From our perspective that should be the motto of the members of the Shelter Island-based Citizens for a South Fork Ferry. The group is pushing for a New England-to-South Fork feny to alleviate some of the traffic on our Island caused by people who are using it as bridge between forks.
     The concept is simple: A ferry from New London, Connecticut would provide direct service to East Hampton for New Englanders who are trying to reach the South Fork and vice versa. Cross Sound Ferry, which provides service between Connecticut and Orient Point on the North Fork, already has a terminus at New London. And thereís a defunct fish factory in Amagansett, off Gardiners Bay, that has the depth to accommodate large vessels and the access to main roads that already are clogged in part from the vehicles that had just used Shelter Island as a bridge. Cross Sound Ferry is all for the idea.
     But some South Forkers arenít buying that logic and their county legislator, George 0. Guldi, who could become our legislator after the new district lines are drawn, has said publicly, in so many words, that a South Fork ferry will never happen. East Hampton Town Supervisor Jay Schniederman feels the same way.
     This doesnít have to be an us vs. them issue if we work together to solve what is a much bigger problem than bridge traffic on Shelter Island -- the East Endís infrastructure cannot handle its burgeoning population and the influx of daytrippers, house guests and vacationers.
     Read Mr. Hampleís Prose and Comments piece and Mrs. Shillingburgís letter to the editor this week. They present logical arguments such as: a New England-South Fork ferry would reduce eastbound traffic from the East Hampton/Southampton border. Travelers whose destination is west of Amagansett would be traveling in the opposite direction of the main flow.
     We acknowledge that life would change for folks who live near the terminus in Amagansett. But life has changed for every East Ender during the last 2t) years as our towns have turned from sleepy, relatively unknown and undeveloped communities into vacation home and tourist meccas. It is unfortunate but fair that some of the still quiet nooks and crannies should shoulder some of the burden.
     The question is, how do we get the South Forkersí attention and make them understand that this ferry would benefit everybody? A good place to start is tonightís SEEDS meeting at the school at 6:30 p.m. Weíre counting on the Citizens for a South Fork Ferry to fight our battle on the front lines but it is up to all of us to make our voices heard. There will be similar meetings in all of the East End towns, including East Hampton and Southampton. Our participation cannot stop at the ferry gates. The squeakiest wheel gets the oil. And to all of you naysayers who live in this community, we have one thing to say: if you put your energy into supporting this cause rather than poo-pooing it, weíll have a better chance for success.