Saturday, December 10, 2016

When You Think About It: To Ferry or Not To Ferry

Words and photo by F LoBuono

As a source of pride, the Nyacks like to be collectively known as the "River Villages". Much of the early history of our area is inexorably linked to the life of the river itself. It's importance as a source of transportation and commerce was worth fighting to preserve - literally. Control of the river during the American Revolution was considered a key to victory. This significance continued through the 18th, 19th, and late into the 20th centuries. But, with the creation of the automobile and the subsequent boom in highway construction, the use of the river faded. Simply put, cars got us from point A to point B faster. And, in a modern world, speed was considered king.

However, there have been consequences associated with that change – not all of them good. Today, we are faced with a glut of cars and the corresponding ills associated with them: air and noise pollution, and the bane of our existence – traffic. These things erode the quality of our lives both physically and emotionally.

Improved public transportation is a key. And, one way, in my opinion, to accomplish that is to use what has always been available to us – The River. We just need the right vehicle to navigate it.
Certainly, there will be challenges with placing and operating a ferry within the Nyacks. There are the issues of parking as well as increased village traffic and the problems associated with that. Infrastructure, including a ferry slip, must be created. Who will pay for that? Who will operate the ferry and can it be done cost effectively? These and other questions/concerns need to be addressed publicly and, hopefully, answered/addressed directly.

There is no doubt that a ferry will contribute to the changing face of our villages. We are already being confronted with the dilemma of how much growth we can take (see TZ Vista). The economic forces of expansion are considerable. So, the question remains: can we do it in a way so that change is seen as positive? I believe that with proper planning, based on resident input, we can work out the details to our benefit.  And, those benefits would include (hopefully) increased foot traffic for local businesses as well as a more civilized commute to NY City for the many residents who do so.

The ferry proposal is not new. I was living here the last time it was suggested. Even though I knew there would be strong opinions on both sides, I was shocked at the level of vitriol it created between opposing camps. I hope that, this time, no matter what you point of view might be on to “Ferry or not to Ferry” we can respect the notion that we all want what’s best for our Villages.

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