Shelter Island Reporter
March 14, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Keep New England -
South Fork ferry
on the table
 

To the Editor:
     Islanders who are concerned about development and transportation issues on the East End need to come to the SEEDS (Sustainable East End Development Strategies) meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight at the Shelter Island School.
     The major issue for Shelter Island is, of course, the use of the Island as a bridge between New England and the Hamptons. At least 25 percent of the people in vehicles using the Cross Sound Ferry use the Shelter Island ferries to complete their trip. As a result, ferry lines on Fridays in Greenport and in the Heights on Sundays during the summer are unmanageable. Long lines now are.continuing throughout the week in the summer, and people who live here year-round have noticed long ferry lines throughout the year.
     Many Islanders recognize that a workable solution is for a ferry to run from New London to the South Fork. The Cross Sound Ferry Company has explored the economic viability of this answer and is prepared to implement it with a terminus at Napeague State Park in Amagansett.
     The advantages are that New England visitors to the Hamptons would have their trips reduced by several hours, they would not have to wait in any lines and they would not be adding traffic to the South Fork because that is already their destination. Other advantages are that the traffic passing through Orient, Greenport, Shelter Island and North Haven during heavy travel times would be reduced by one quarter.
     Unfortunately, the people of East Hampton are dead set against a ferry coming into their town. They claim we are just trying to shift our traffic problems to their roads and the people who would find convenience in a ferry from New England to the South Fork are all gamblers.
     From the beginning of the SEEDS process, they have demanded that a ferry to the South Fork must be off the table. They become quite rabid when the subject is raised.
     It is very important, therefore, that Islanders who feel that we have a stake in this transportation issue be at the meeting tonight to make sure that a ferry to the South Fork from New England is very much on the table and is presented in a reasonable and rational manner.
 

 Patricia Shillingburg
 West Neck Road