Home Letters Hoboken Letters The stranding of commuters

The stranding of commuters

Dear Editor:

It has now become more of a reality that some of the 30,000 commuters that rely on NY Waterway to ferry them to and from New York may have to find an alternate route to work come June 1, when NY Waterway has to be out of Weehawken and relocated to the property they bought November 3, 2017 at the old Union Dry Dock site. The mayor and council do not want NY Waterway to come to Hoboken and are making sure that they will be delayed and possibly prevented from using their property. They have done everything in their power to disrupt the ferry company’s ability to function out of their Hoboken property.
What NY Waterway will do on June 1, I have no clue, since they literally have nowhere else to dock, maintain, and refuel their fleet to serve the commuters. In a May 9, Hoboken, NJ Patch article, NY Waterway founder Arthur Imperatore said:
“The Union Dry Dock site has been used as a marine repair facility for more than a century. It is the only available site with the zoning required for NY Waterway to operate. There is no other available and suitable facility than Union Dry Dock with deep water, piers, and heavy electrical power.
“It is right in the middle of NY Waterway’s core operating area, with commuter ferry routes operating from eight ferry terminals in Weehawken, Hoboken and Jersey City. This central location helps us control our operating costs. More important, it means our ferries are in the right place in an emergency, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the 2003 blackout, the 2005 transit strike, Superstorm Sandy and countless disruptions to other transit systems. When these systems go down, NY Waterway must deploy extra ferries to carry more people on an emergency basis. We are part of the public mass transit system.”
Hoboken’s mayor is trying to get the Army Corp of Engineers, a federal agency, to delay and deny issuing NY Waterway their permit to allow them to operate out of their land because he wants to spend tens of millions of dollars to take over the land and make it a park. That could possibly result in putting large buildings on some of the land to pay for the development just as was done on the Southern Waterfront where three blocks of large structures were built on city property leaving only a sliver of public space.
I have no idea if the governor or NJ Transit can or will intervene in this delay. No matter what, NY Waterway has to vacate on June 1 from their current site in Weehawken. They have nowhere to go other than the property they rightfully own in Hoboken. Hopefully they can store their ferries there, but they will not be able to operate from that site until they get their permit which is being delayed because a federal agency has changed the permitting rules for the ferry company. Why should our mayor and council care if a New Jersey commuter can get to work? It is not their problem.

Mary Ondrejka

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