Long Island Communities At Odds Over Proposed LIRR Summer Ferry Service

GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s plan to offer Long Island Rail Road commuters an alternative during the upcoming “summer of hell” commute at Penn Station is a planned ferry service from Glen Cove, Nassau County.

MORE: MTA Announces LIRR Contingency Plan For ‘Summer Of Hell’ Commute

But surrounding communities say they’ll sue to block it, claiming the channel is too narrow for safe service and there will be parking chaos.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, village officials in Sea Cliff look across the harbor they share with neighboring Glen Clove, planning how to block the agreement to provide emergency ferry service from is new but still empty terminal.

“I think they just came up with a quick fix that looks good on TV to placate the commuters of Long Island,” Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman said.

Village administrator Bruce Kennedy says the new plan to operate two ferries with hundreds of people on board is dangerous for many boaters who traverse the very same waters.

“We are dealing with a recreational harbor that borders two yacht clubs, a public beach, and two sailing camps,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy adds that legally, the ferry route would have to cross Sea Cliff’s channel boundary.

One private attorney is already planning to sue on behalf of harbor-side homeowners concerned the channel is too narrow.

“You can’t get a ferry in there until you at least widen the channel and dredge it,” lawyer Amy Marion tells CBS2.

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello disagrees.

“It’s a navigable highway, no one owns it. It’s like a highway,” he said.

Spinello agreed to take on the LIRR commuters. He says the channel’s been declared safe by the Army Corps of Engineers.

While the mayor says it’s all about helping out commuters at the moment, he admits it’s a chance to prove to skeptical ferry operators that they can operate a viable ferry service.

“It will be, it will give us a good sample of what’s to expect,” Spinello said.

The biggest problem posed by the influx of commuters may be parking — the current lot has just over 100 spaces for what’s expected to be hundreds, even thousands of commuters. The mayor says 400 additional spots can be created by opening an adjacent grassy lot, but Marion says it’s not enough.

She says she’ll seek a court injunction to block the ferry from every sailing.

The ferry service out of Glen Cove is scheduled to begin July 10 with three morning rush trips into the city and then three return rush hour trips.

For more information on the MTA’s contingency plans for the summer, CLICK HERE.

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